Budapest hosts Credit Management Congress

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The Federation of European Credit Management Associations is to hold its first Pan-European Credit Management Congress in Budapest on May 16-17. The organization expects some 250 international experts from across Europe to discuss and share credit management best practices and trends. The two-day event will take place at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

“While credit management has a longer history in some Western countries (e.g. Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom) it has only recently been identified as a key function of the finance department in most Eastern European countries,” says Dr. Michael Sauter, credit management expert and managing director of Guardean GmbH. “This also ties into the typical key issues companies in credit management are working on: while in Western European countries they work on more complex issues like credit management process automation via software, in Eastern European countries it might be more basic questions like defining the right information mix between internal and external data, basic scoring methods for client evaluation or standard credit management process design.”

Advanced processes

On the other hand, he points out that there are companies in Eastern Europe with very advanced credit management processes. “In the end it depends on the individual company what priority good credit management has within their organization. In addition, some Eastern European countries (e.g. Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland) recently have become the home of shared service centers for global companies and are operating key finance processes, including key credit management processes, for the entire organization,” he points out.

Most companies, by now, have some form of credit management, be it standard dunning procedures (the process of methodically communicating with customers to ensure the collection of accounts receivable), or some form of client scoring and rating. It does, however, make a big difference if credit management is implemented as a corporate philosophy within the company with clear guidelines and a shared belief between credit management, sales and top management. This typically does not only depend on the country of origin, but even more on the overall quality of the company and their governance structure.

Gathering experts

FECMA is now gathering renowned experts from across the industry, from public organizations and it also invited researchers, as speakers for its upcoming conference. The content is designed to be relevant to all credit managers, whatever the size of their organization or their business sector.

“In light of the increasing competition in most markets and high financial risk due to ongoing market instabilities, credit management still needs to better align with sales and integrate processes effectively to manage the right mix between risk and opportunity,” Sauter says, speaking of the industry’s recent main focus areas. “In addition, with business overall getting more international in most industries, credit management needs to adapt to this and effectively needs to provide the right mix between central and local responsibilities,” he adds. This, among other topics, will be discussed during the conference, as well as the “rapidly developing areas” of credit management.

Important innovations can be found in the area of production and provisioning of external data: information that in the past would have been manually collected by researchers, who called companies to ask about their financial performance, can today be retrieved by automatic search robots that scan the Internet for publicly available data and consolidate this continuously in broad corporate profiles. Software technology can also help to optimize data collection, data consolidation and other credit management processes and as such increase transparency about clients and improve effectiveness and speed of credit management processes

The agenda includes international speakers from ABB, Agfa Graphics, Donna Karan, Ingram Micro, Scania Financial Services, and Wolters Kluwer, as well as local speakers from the Hungarian National Bank, Sapa Group and Waberer’s. For more details, visit: www.cm-congress.eu.

The congress is accompanied by an exhibition of leading international service providers such as AON, Atradius, Bisnode, Bureau van Dyk, Euler Hermes, Guardean, and Sungard, which provide professional support in various areas of credit management from data provisioning and credit insurance to software process support.

Tough period

FECMA has brought together experienced credit managers from across the Continent to share their expertise and experiences. The conference is designed to be practical, not academic, and therefore of meaning and value to all who attend. There will also be ample opportunity set aside for networking in its truest sense.

“The Pan-European FECMA Credit Management event is an important congress, coming as it does at a time when Europe’s various national economies are going through a very tough period, and the value and worth of the credit management profession has never been more needed and sought after,” says Glen Bullivant, President of FECMA.

“The basic theme of the congress is to ‘share credit management best practices and to learn from others’. The congress is an opportunity for both the starter who wants to get an overview on potential, structure and trends of credit management, as well as the expert who wants to get hands-on experience from leading global players about how they manage the challenges to implement good credit management within their organizations,” Sauter adds.

FECMA

Sir Roger Cork, who served as Lord Mayor of London from 1996-97, founded the Federation of European Credit Management Associations in 1986. It is a not-for-profit organization, consisting of 15 national credit management associations across Europe, representing more than 20,000 European Credit Managers. FECMA’s vision is to promote best practice in credit management by enabling the members of its associations to share their knowledge and experience. For more information visit: www.fecma.eu

Hungarian Credit Management Association

The Hungarian Credit Management Association was founded in 2010 with the aim of enhancing awareness and industry recognition of the credit management profession, and for credit management to be accepted as an integral part of the Hungarian business community and culture.

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