The first of this year’s OnGuard New Zealand roundtable events kicked off at the Auckland Hilton Hotel. Leading the discussion was Owen Goodwin, Executive Director at the New Zealand Credit and Finance Institute (NZCFI). Other attendees included leading credit managers from Bridgestone, Mercury, St John, Fairfax Media, Courier Express, Air New Zealand, OfficeMax and Avis Budget Group.
Most discussions focused on the Earth Quake in Christchurch. Lots of companies had to change their credit management policy. They went from managing their customers proactive to reactive. Some even stopped invoicing and sending reminders to that area. Special teams were set up to handle the queries from the Christchurch area. Although the long-term economic impact of the earthquake will be felt for some time to come, fortunately companies are beginning to return to some normality.
The next discussed topic was the source being used by providers for credit review/business information. It emerged that more than half of the companies in attendance shared payment information with more than one credit reporting software provider; mainly D&B, Veda and CreditWorks. Veda is more personal and good in consumer credit information. D&B is better in information regarding mid and large companies and is very strong internationally. CreditWork depend on the industry. More than halve of the companies share payment information with one or more providers.
Storing the information is done in very different ways, from not stored to online to including it in the financial system. The information providers are not perceived to do very well in establishing customer relationships.
Another discussion topic was the common barrier facing credit management professionals of differing payment cultures across both national and international geographies. The outcome of this topic was mixed.
Coming to a close, it was clear that the roundtable had surfaced the human element to credit management and the importance of implementing a decent way of doing business and ensuring customer intimacy: taking a customer-centric approach to chasing payment throughout the invoicing process. OnGuard will be hosting its next roundtable event in July.