Credit control is the system used by businesses and central banks to make sure that credit is given only to borrowers who are likely to be able to repay it. As such matters are rarely certain, credit controllers control lending by calculating and managing risk.
Credit control is part of the financial controls that are employed by businesses particularly in manufacturing to ensure that once sales are made they are realised as cash or liquid resources.
Credit control is a critical system of control that prevents the business from becoming illiquid due to improper and un-coordinated issuance of credit to customers. Credit control has a number of sections that include - credit approval, credit limit approval, dispatch approvals as well as collection process.
In a large business a credit process will be run by a senior manager and will include processes as such as Know Your Customer (KYC), account opening, approval of credit and credit limits (both in terms of the amounts and the terms e.g. 30 Days, 30 Days net), extension of credit and effecting collection action.
Credit control will normally report to the Finance Director or Risk Management Committee.
Procedures for issuing credit
During the selling process a potential customer or even a current customer who pays cash may request for credit lines to be extended. At this point the following process may be followed:-
1. Formal letter of application for credit to be extended to a customer entity
2. Head of Finance evaluates the credit requested
3. Risk managers evaluate if the credit fits in with the current risk portfolio
4. Credit Collection period (usually in Days) is considered both as a stand-alone and as a component of the working capital cycle in particular ensuring that it does not exceed the Payables Period (usually in Days too).
5. External rating agencies may be invoked to assess the risk attached to extending credit to the customer. Usually credit worthiness of a firm may be assessed independently by firms such as Dun & Bradstreet, Bloomberg, AC Nielsen or other reputable firms.
6. Fillers are also made into the market to assess the credit worthiness of a firm
7. An internal evaluation is made considering the risk of Bad or Doubtful Debts against the profit or returns.
8. After Risk Manager and Finance Director is satisfied that the extension of credit will not result in loss of principal. Credit is extended.
9. An account is opened with the credit setting set for the agreed terms: Cap of credit the customer will enjoy and the terms or duration which they will enjoy that credit. In other words, the time-limit as well as the value of the credit are sides of the same coin.
Non-collectibility of extended credit
Extended credit could, despite all efforts made, become noncollectable. In this case a professional Debt collection agency may be hired along with attendant legal, court and other fees. This event is normally dreaded and most Chartered Accountants are reluctant to consider that credit extended has now become noncollectable necessitating a debt write off if the receivable has gone bust or a provision if only a lower amount can ultimately be collected.
Risk of credit
Unwarranted debt may be a serious strain on the company and could lead to company failure. Many SMEs have failed due to unsatisfactory Debt Collection processes or procedures. During the credit crunch many businesses experienced a serious credit risk and severely curtailed extension of credit to partner firms and businesses. Even though the current situation is much less severe credit extension remains a key, pivotal role in business management.
Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River Thames; it faces the French department of Pas-de-Calais across the Strait of Dover. The county town is Maidstone. It is the fifth most populous county in England, the most populous non-Metropolitan county and the most populous of the home counties.
Kent was one of the first British territories to be settled by Germanic tribes, most notably the Jutes, following the withdrawal of the Romans. Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, the oldest cathedral in England, has been the seat of the Archbishops of Canterbury since the conversion of England to Christianity that began in the 6th century with Saint Augustine. Rochester Cathedral in Medway is England's second-oldest cathedral. Located between London and the Strait of Dover, which separates England from mainland Europe, Kent has been the setting for both conflict and diplomacy, including the Battle of Britain in World War II and the Leeds Castle peace talks of 1978 and 2004.
England relied on the county's ports to provide warships through much of its history; the Cinque Ports in the 10th–14th centuries and Chatham Dockyard in the 16th–20th centuries were of particular importance. France can be seen clearly in fine weather from Folkestone and the White Cliffs of Dover. Hills in the form of the North Downs and the Greensand Ridge span the length of the county and in the Vale of Holmesdale in between and to the south are most of the county's 26 castles.
Kent's economy is greatly diversified: agriculture, haulage, logistics and tourism are major industries. Because of its relative abundance of fruit-growing and hop gardens, Kent is known as "The Garden of England". In northwest Kent, industries include extraction of aggregate building materials, printing and scientific research. Coal mining has also played its part in Kent's industrial heritage. Large parts of Kent are within the London commuter belt and its strong transport connections to the capital and the nearby continent make Kent a high-income county. Twenty-eight per cent of the county forms part of two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the North Downs and The High Weald.