The credit manager of the future will let a Billy do the work

What does the future of credit management look like? This was a central question during the third edition of our Credit Summer Event. Over 150 credit managers and financial professionals came to the head office of Bierens Incasso Advocaten in Veghel, Netherlands to hear and discuss the latest developments in the area of credit management. We organized this inspiring day together with our partners Altares, Dun & Bradstreet, and Onguard.

Risky to be safe

The kickoff of the Credit Summer Event was done by philosopher and futurist Martijn Aslander, who woke up the crowd. With compelling examples, he showed the public how hard technology develops around us. And how these developments are going faster and faster, and are being picked up by the public more quickly. His advice to credit managers was to make sure you go along with this technological progress, even if that means you have to take risks. Because it is risky to be safe.

Tech: From blockchain to data driven risk management

A presentation by Edwin Hazelaar of ING trade finance followed after the keynote speaker. He told the public about Blockchain applications within the bank and the joint project of banks called ‘’Marco Polo”. This initiative helps participants to automate real-time financing, before and after-sale, making trade finance safer and simpler. Erik then made the link to Credit Management. He expects Credit Management in Blockchain applications to fall behind in comparison with other sectors, such as finance. According to ING’s philosophy, the challenges are technological, regulatory and organizational. Within the technology domain, privacy and scalability are a challenge. By joining forces with various banks, people hope to be able to take steps quickly.

Risk Manager Erik Neef has very different technological challenges within his organization. During his presentation, he explained how they deal with data within BMW Financial Services and how they can predict certain risks, such as credit, interest rate, and liquidity risk. On this basis, employees and dealers of BMW are trained to limit these risks as much as possible. Erik also paid specific attention to the fraud event indicator that they developed together with Dun& Bradstreet. With the help of data, they can better detect fraudulent activities. Erik explained that a classic pattern often precedes, which can be recognized with the so-called “fraud event indicator”. This session led to many questions from the public. Many credit managers want to know more about the predictive value of various data.

Unique debt collection in the Netherlands

It was time for a test session in the garden, provided by the attorneys of Bierens. The test case was an international court hearing. Sunny Belgium, a Belgian sunglasses manufacturer, had filed for bankruptcy from the Dutch company Optician Beautifulweather because the outstanding invoices were not being paid. During the session, the owner of Optician Beautifulweather said she had no intention of paying the invoice. In her view, the sunglasses were of  poor quality and were unsellable. However, there appeared to be no juridical reason for not paying. Fortunately, in this case it was not necessary for the court to pronounce the bankruptcy, and both parties could reach a settlement.

Let a Billy do the work

Various developments were discussed during the day. How do a number of prominent figures in the industry look at this? Credit manager of the year in the Netherlands, Laurette Fettig (credit manager at Innogy- Essent), Tatjana Milic (credit manager at Tesla) and Romeo Pracht (credit manager at Bavaria / Swinckels Brewery) indicated the most important development for them in their daily work. According to Tatjana it was simple: automate everything, or as she says herself: “Let a Billy do the work”.

Retraining

Romeo agreed that these developments are coming and the increasing technological steps are inevitable. In credit management, many administrative tasks are automated. This raised the following question in the audience: “Will there be any work for credit managers in the future?” Tatjana jokingly answered: “No, I am already retraining.” Then she mentioned there will always be someone to direct the robot.

Data the most important development

Moderator Bart van Onna said that a study by Dun & Bradstreet showed that at many credit managers, data  is top of mind. Does this apply to our panel members? All three agreed that data is the most important development at this moment. According to Laurette, data is extremely important: “As a credit manager, you can name the various factors that your organization can use for optimization. It is important to share this information with departments such as Sales” says Laurette. “You can ensure that you continue to play an important role in an organization with this, as a credit manager”.

Romeo also indicates that in his work, the predictive value of data is very important in order to be able to test the creditworthiness of customers. This also applies to Tatjana: “Data is number 1. So make sure your data is complete”, according to Tesla’s credit manager. And where the two other credit managers are still wondering when developments like robotics are actually being used, it is not exactly future music, declares Tatjana. “Now. It is now time to talk about it”.

Robotisation during the barbecue

The credit managers had a chance to talk about robotisation and other developments after the panel discussion. The formal part of the Credit Summer Event was concluded by Onguard, and all participants could enjoy a delicious barbecue afterwards and there was plenty of time to network and talk about the latest developments in the field of credit management.