Credit controllers help to make sure that customers pay their bills on time. They identify overdue accounts and contact customers to ask for payment. Credit controllers build up good relationships with customers in order to persuade them to pay.
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All organisations need to make sure that they have enough money coming in each month to cover their costs. This includes companies that sell goods or services, and public sector organisations that provide services to the public.
Selling things on credit means that the buyer does not have to pay for the goods/services immediately. They will be given a date by which they have to pay, either in full or in instalments.
Credit Controllers sometimes play a part in deciding which customers to grant credit to, and what the terms and conditions of the credit agreement should be. If the customer is another business, you might need to research that business's history and financial reports to make sure that it is making enough money to pay its bills. You might also pay for a credit rating report from a specialist credit agency.
As a Credit Controller, you help to make sure that customers pay their bills on time. You run reports that show which bills are due to be paid and send out reminders. You might have targets to obtain payment for a certain percentage of bills by your due date.
You identify overdue accounts and contact customers to ask for payment. You might make contact by letter or email, or you might telephone or even visit the customer. The method you use will vary according to the organisation, the type of customer, the amount outstanding and the length of time that the money has been owed.
You try to identify and contact the right person in a business customer's organisation. You need to contact the person who can authorise the payment.
Some Credit Controllers work in the area of consumer credit. You contact individuals for payment, for example, for phone, gas and electricity bills and personal loans.
You need to build up good relationships with customers in order to persuade them to pay. You must deal tactfully but firmly with excuses for non-payment and negotiate appropriate ways for customers to pay. You must keep the goodwill of your customers during this process.
If a customer still refuses to pay, or can't pay, you might prepare details so that debt collection agencies or Solicitors can take legal steps to recover the debt.
You work closely with other finance and administration staff in your own organisation to make sure that payments are processed correctly and that records are updated. In this way, you aim not to contact customers who have already paid. You might also work with sales departments to review customer payment records when large orders are placed, for example.
In small companies, one Credit Controller might deal with all the customers. In a large organisation, you will deal with a list of customers as part of a credit control team. Some work for agencies that deal with the customers of more than one client.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Credit Controller, you'll need to be able to:
- understand people and business methods
- work under pressure to meet tight deadlines
- negotiate with people who could be in financial difficulty
- deal professionally, politely and tactfully with people
- handle and defuse conflict
- pay close attention to detail
- work well in a team and on your own initiative
- prioritise and plan tasks
The ability to speak a foreign language could be useful in companies that sell their goods or services abroad.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £20,000 - £21,000
- With experience: £21,500 - £23,500
- Senior Credit Controllers earn £25,000 - £26,500
Hours of work
Credit Controllers usually work 35 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday. In some organisations, you might need to work shifts.
Where could I work?
Employers are almost every type of business in industry and commerce.
Opportunities for Credit Controllers occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on job boards such as jobsincredit, on employers' websites, through the Institute of Credit Management website, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
Some people enter credit control after gaining experience in accounts, finance, customer service or debt collecting.
A good place to start is studying for an Institute of Financial Services (IFS) level 3 diploma in financial studies. You will need to find a college that offers this subject.
An Intermediate Level Apprenticeship is also great place to start; or, after studying A levels, you could get onto a Degree Apprenticeship. Take a look at our information article
Large companies might offer training schemes for people with GCSEs or A levels; some people enter with a degree, HND or foundation degree in a business or finance subject.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
On-the-job training is combined with study for the Institute of Credit Management's (ICM) qualifications. There are currently three main qualifications:
- level 2 certificate
- level 3 diploma in credit management
- level 5 diploma in credit management (the ICM's Graduate Programme)
You might be able to get exemptions from some of the exams if you already have certain relevant qualifications.
The level 2 certificate includes units in negotiating and credit risk assessment. Units at level 2 are assessed by work-based assignment.
In addition to credit management principles, the level 3 diploma includes units on accounting, economics and business law. Assessment of these units is by exam.
The level 5 diploma includes units on risk management, business strategy, leadership, and legal proceedings and insolvency.
The qualifications can be studied in a number of ways, including part-time at a learning centre (details are available on the ICM website), in a virtual classroom through the web, or by supported distance learning.
Some new entrants have developed skills by working in banking, insurance, building society or accounting work, for example, as a Book-Keeper or Accounting Technician.
After further experience, Credit Controllers can progress to become Senior Credit Controllers, Credit Supervisors, Assistant Credit Controllers and Credit Managers.
The Institute of Credit Management does not have a minimum entry requirement for the level 2 certificate/level 3 diploma.
To get onto an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need at least 2 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.
Employers are likely to require new entrants to have at least GCSEs in English and maths. Many entrants have further qualifications, such as A levels or equivalent.
Some people enter as graduates. For entry to a degree course in any subject, the usual minimum requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
Alternatives to A levels include:
- BTEC level 3 qualifications
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
However, course requirements vary, so check prospectuses carefully.
To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.
UCAS tariff points from the ifs certificate or diploma in financial studies might be accepted by some institutions in combination with other qualifications.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Some new entrants have developed skills by working in banking, insurance, building society or accounting work, for example, as a book-keeper or accounting technician.
No qualifications are required to register as a student with the Institute of Credit Management (ICM).
The ICM Diplomas offer qualifications in Credit Management at Levels 2, 3 and 5 that can be studied by distance learning or at evening classes. Further details are on the ICM website.
- 21% of people who work in occupations such as credit controller work part-time.
- 8% have flexible hours.
Professional institutesProfessional institutes have the following roles:
- To support their members.
- To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.
The Institute of Credit Management is the main professional institute for this career.
Publisher: Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)
Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ
Tel: 0845 2573772
Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)
Skills for the financial, finance and accountancy sectors
Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ
Tel: 0845 2573772
London Institute of Banking and Finance
Address: 8th Floor, Peninsular House, 36 Monument Street, London EC3R 8LJ
Tel: 020 7444 7111
Jobs in Credit
Publisher: Incisive Media
Institute of Credit Management (ICM)
Address: The Water Mill, Station Road, South Luffenham, Leics LE15 8NB
Tel: 01780 722900
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844
People Exchange Cymru (PEC)
Public sector recruitment portal for Wales