Technology and software are an essential part of business today. This is especially true in the accounts and credit management worlds where organising and sharing data, tracking orders, scheduling tasks and managing workloads are key to long-term success and growth.

The type of software used to manage these processes, and store the data they generate, can help define the efficiency of a business’s credit management function. Often, businesses fall into the trap of sticking with the standard software they have always used even if it is not perfectly suited to the work they are doing.

Excel spreadsheets, for example, are often used for a host of working processes they were not specifically intended for. While Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet program that allows users to do a lot with raw data, it is often the wrong tool for credit management.

After all, spreadsheets are designed for number crunching, not storing masses of details about customers; their contact details; sales records and payment histories. It’s a problem that tends to get worse as the organisation grows.

Using Excel for tracking credit management when the business is small is convenient and it may even work adequately for a while. Typically, however, spreadsheets will become weighed down by complexity and this can lead to errors creeping into data and functions.

When businesses are growing, spreadsheets can become a source of aggravation, often resulting in slow processes and mistakes as their capabilities are stretched to breaking point. Specialist software can help, allowing credit managers to maintain control and ensure even tedious tasks are completed to a high standard.    

Credit managers will be no strangers either to other frustrations that impact spreadsheet-fixated businesses. Users feeling that they are having to do the same monotonous tasks repeatedly is usually a sign the business needs dedicated software. From inputting data to carrying out credit reviews to managing late payments, specialist software can make workers faster at their job and bring broader business benefits too.

Another key area is ease of access to information. Business systems are often overflowing with data. However, if users cannot access that data and process it into useful information, then it is unlikely to be doing the business much good.

Even with custom-designed Microsoft Excel sheets, it is typically a manual, time-consuming task to collect relevant data; keep it up-to-date and make sure it is accessible, and the risk of inaccurate financials and cash flow mismanagement is always high.

With the right dedicated credit management software, however, organisations and their users can access that data and turn it into intelligence that can help the company prosper. Chief financial officers can, for example, use the data to spot trends, examine growth and monitor progress while credit managers can use it to create a credit scoring model and identify the largest customer credit applications, for example.

The benefit of the best quality specialist credit management software is that it has been designed with credit professionals in mind. That means that it will typically integrate with relevant business systems that the customer has and provide a variety of tools for streamlining workflow.

Moreover, it will automate everyday tasks like data entry and processing payments. Added to this, its specialist nature allows it to provide users with the information they need when they need it and makes it easy to share data across business functions.

In short, this type of software allows credit management users to save time on repetitive tasks, enabling them to focus more on customer service and building long-term-relationships. And that’s important. After all, to do a job well, you need the right tools for the job. 

Martin de Heus, VP of Direct Sales at Onguard