Magazine article Business Credit

Staying Ahead of the Credit Curve in a Shifting Business Environment

Magazine article Business Credit

Staying Ahead of the Credit Curve in a Shifting Business Environment

Article excerpt

Last summer, Jay Snyder, CCE, ICCE, moved from his job as director, Global Credit Services at audio equipment firm Shure Incorporated to his new role as vice president, Credit, The Americas at Clearwater, FL-based Tech Data Corporation.

Above all, the career move into a fast-paced, dynamic industry has given Snyder the opportunity to grow and further what has been a successful career in credit. "I'm not a guy who's happy being comfortable," he acknowledged. "I like being challenged." This month, Snyder will also take up the role as chairman of the NACM-National Board of Directors.

A big part of being able to face new challenges has involved fortifying his knowledge and experience in the industry with ongoing education, training and networking. NACM, with its various educational and networking offerings, has played a key role in these efforts.

"If you're not developing yourself," he said, "you're doing yourself a disservice." Credit professionals who find themselves in the same role for years or even decades should not postpone their own development and advancement, as they could risk falling behind in their current roles or missing out on a choice new opportunity, he suggested. It is advice he carries into his daily duties.

One of the first tasks that Snyder has undertaken in his new job has been to identify the development wants and needs of his staff members, along with the most appropriate ways to help them advance to the next phase of their careers. These include learning new skills or earning promotions, for instance. About half of his current credit staff is interested in pursuing NACM designations. He also actively encourages them to attend local meet-and-greets, credit conferences, Credit Congress and NACM's Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management "so that when something comes up, you have someone to reach out to," he said. "I've been successful because I surround myself with great people."

He also stresses the importance of having an awareness of the latest management systems. Credit professionals never know when the next merger or acquisition will arise; they must be as prepared as possible and learn what they can about different systems. For instance, if a credit professional is using SAP currently and an acquiring company uses Oracle, it is a good practice to reach out to Oracle user groups to become acquainted with some of the terminology of that system. Learning more about supply chain financing, the vendors side of the equation in commercial transactions and financial analysis are also skill sets that add concrete value to any company, he noted.

In a rapidly evolving marketplace, he says that credit professionals need to understand how to take advantage of a variety of solutions, from credit insurance, escrow programs and assignment of proceeds to the best use of credit cards and deduction management, in order to get paid.

"To me, the most important tool you have is education, which allows you to become a well-rounded credit professional."

Meeting New Challenges

The new position allows Snyder to address different credit and collections challenges. At the top of his list is developing better systems and methods to collect on the billions in revenue Tech Data Corp generates each year.

Another big change is how he views the customer relationship. …

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