John Donne wrote a book which appeared under the title “No Man Is An Island”, and even though this prose was first published in 1624, it is just as relevant here and now in 2021. The book makes the valid point that we are not “entire of ourselves” and that as human beings we are part of a complete community on all levels – locally, nationally and globally. The Covid-19 pandemic forced many changes upon society, both socially and commercially and our habits had to adjust through the lockdown months of 2020 and 2021.
No pubs or restaurants, no offices or university campuses and we learned to live in what were designated as bubbles. Those of us able to work from home set up office space in our dining rooms or bedrooms, and spent hours on video calls and telephones, trying to keep the wheels of commerce turning, collecting the cash and making credit decisions. For many, this scenario was ideal, though for others something felt missing. One thing was clear from the outset, however, and that was that we all needed each other and some have argued that the isolation of home working emphasised the point more than ever before. It may be that when working in an office environment, we all took this need for granted, but the detached environs of the dining room or bedroom brought it all to the fore.
The credit management profession is at its very heart a people profession and even with all the modern technological innovations at our disposal, we cannot function to our maximum potential without being part of a larger professional family. That family exists in the teams we manage in our companies and in the wider context of the world of credit management. Credit managers have been making every effort through these pandemic months to keep close to their teams, encourage, support and motivate, with their mental well-being as important as their individual roles. It has been argued that mental well-being should now be the prime focus of any management team and it is perhaps something of an irony that it took a dreadful pandemic to bring staff welfare to the forefront of management thinking. As the industrialised economies begin to slowly recover from the financial calamity of 2020/21 – even with support from governments, failures have been inevitable – the challenge facing credit managers is to protect and invest in profitable receivables and at the same time look after all their people. A broken computer is easily replaced or repaired, but a broken mind and spirit needs genuine support and care.
The credit management profession is at its very heart a people profession and even with all the modern technological innovations at our disposal, we cannot function to our maximum potential without being part of a larger professional family.
The credit family extends beyond the confines of the company office. In the United Kingdom we are fortunate to be able to benefit from the wider professional community which is the Chartered Institute of Credit Management. Originally founded in 1939 as the Institute of CreditMen, progress was delayed by an outbreak of unpleasantness in Europe and by the time operations were able to resume in full in 1946, common sense had prevailed, and the name changed to Institute of Credit Management. Going from strength to strength, the Institute received a Royal Charter in late 2014, taking effect from 1 January 2015 as the Chartered Institute of Credit Management. A Royal Charter is a formal document issued by the monarch as “Letters Patent”, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. The granting of such charters is rare, reserved for eminent professional bodies or charities which have a solid record of achievement and are financially sound. In the case of professional bodies, they represent a field of activity which is unique and not covered by other professional bodies. CICM is now recognised as the world’s largest professional credit management organisation and is a founder member of FECMA (Federation of European Credit Management Associations), established in 1986. CICM offers a wide range of services and support to its members not least of which is learning and development leading to a UK government recognised qualification in credit management and letters after your name!
Interested in this article?
The full text is available in the September ’21 issue of Credit Manager Magazine.
Author of the article:
A credit management consultant involved with credit for over 40 years, he has worked in various industries, including export. Glen has been a member of the CICM for more than 30 years and, in addition to being a past Chairman, also chairs its Technical Advisory Committee, serves on its Education Committee.