T-shaped Credit Management and the future

Discussing T-Shaped Credit Management with the organizing partners of the Credit Summer Event

Augmented decision making is coming up

There will always be need for a 'human touch' in Credit Management

Surround yourself with people who think differently

The author of this articleJulie Roelants - Project Consultant - CFO Services
Thursday, June 17, the 2021 edition of the Credit Summer Event will be streamed live from the Dun & Bradstreet offices at the Montevideo tower in Rotterdam. As this year’s edition is an online event, keynotes by Peter De Keyzer, Anneke van der Kuyp, Hans Donckers, Vijay Gangadin, Janpieter Koning and many more will be captured and streamed to your device and your location. You can still register through the event website, where you can also find the full program.

The Partner Panel

In the run-up to the event, Dutch trade magazine De Credit Manager had a round-table discussion with representatives of all organizing partners:  Laurens van der Lof (Bierens Incasso Advocaten), Luc Godfroid (Visma / Onguard), Niels van Nieuwenhuijzen (Altares Dun & Bradstreet), Michiel De Weerdt and Cees Jansen of the Vereniging voor Credit Management’s Cees Jansen.

The panel discussed several subjects such as important trends within credit management; the impact of these trends on the organization; the future of a credit manage and how to develop yourself as a T-shaped professional

Credit Summer Event 2021: Morning program timetable

1) Trends in Credit Management

All five parties agree on this one: technology is key. Data, AI predictive modelling & data capturing will be playing an increasingly important role. ‘The good news for credit managers,’ says Laurens van der Lof, ‘is that technology made underlying data readily available, with and the costs of data enrichment falling sharply.’ Companies often seek support from AI solutions or automation. ‘Predictive analytics makes it possible to prioritize within large client portfolio management,’ says Niels van Nieuwenhuijzen. For Michiel De Weerdt, the practice of augmented decision making, where credit decisions are made using external and internal data, is on the verge of a breakthrough.

2) How do these trends impact the organization?

Next discussed is the impact of emerging trends on the organization. Because all participants work in different types of organizations, they all have a different focus. To tackle the technology evolution, Bierens has launched an innovation lab to improve its services. At TriFinance, people are trained to guide clients through the transitions initiated by technology. Dun & Bradstreet supports their customers in creating value from data because every goal requires its own data and insights and data treatment. Visma/Onguard makes their platforms available to help clients achieve their credit management goals, while they see a shift from traditional targets such as DSO reduction to higher collection efficiency or a shortening of the payment cycle.

3) What does the future have in store?

Laurens van der Lof expects a dominant role for technology, but Credit managers will create more impact by combining technological advancement with social skills and creativity. A position not unlike Michiel De Weerdt’s. He claims that a digital mindset is essential for anyone in the Credit manager position but also emphasizes that people skills and commercial flair are necessary. There will always be a need for the ‘human’ approach in credit management, Niels van Nieuwenhuijzen adds. For him, the Credit manager should be able to determine an organization’s risk appetite, translating it into policy and processes, something too few organizations are doing. OnGuard’s Luc Godfroid thinks that the credit manager will no longer exist within 20 years, or their tasks will be completely different. 

Credit Summer Event 2021: Afternoon program timetable

4) How to become a T-shaped professional?

For all five interviewees, the scope is different. Laurens puts his focus on directing a team of professionals in the field of marketing and technology support. He essentially works with programmers, content writers, UX/UI designers, data specialists, and customer service, a variety of people that lays bare his need for strong T-shaped development. A minimal requirement to be taken seriously as a T-shaped professional is being able to act as a sparring partner and a cooperative foreman for his team. 

Niels, who has a background as a credit manager, consultant and  board member, focuses on staying informed about his professional domains by self-study, coaching, and interacting with colleagues, experts, customers, and providers. ‘They are an important source of information and inspiration for me,’ he says. ‘They incite me to get familiar with topics that are relevant to them, and therefore to me.’ Luc takes a deeper dive into automatization through workflows, chatbots, data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Cees thinks that it’s a mindset you need to have. It is not something to decide to become one day. He thinks you need the interest to follow up on the developments.

Six tips from five credit professionals

  • Tip 1: Force yourself to form a vision of the future but avoid becoming dogmatic. 
  • Tip 2: Surround yourself with people who think differently.
  • Tip 3: Embrace digitization and automation.
  • Tip 4: Focus your interests on the long term. 
  • Tip 5: Keep developing yourself and experiment with new technologies.
  • Tip 6: Make sure your ICT knowledge is up to standard.


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The author of this articleJulie Roelants - Project Consultant - CFO Services

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