Credit controllers manage their employers’ outstanding debts from customers who buy goods or services on credit from them (buying in advance of payment – and agreeing to pay later)
They decide whether to accept or reject credit purchases, arrange payment terms for customers, and collect payment of unpaid invoices.
Ultimately, they are responsible for reducing the risk of bad debt, ensuring that payments are made on time by clients, and improving the cash flow of a business.
This detailed guide includes a complete credit controller job description and everything else you need to know about credit controllers, such as typical salaries, requirements, career progression and more.
- Credit controller job description
- How much do credit controllers earn?
- What does a credit controller do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs credit controllers?
- Which junior jobs progress to credit controller roles?
Credit controller job description
Credit controller | Jones & Jones Group
About Jones & Jones Group
We’re a world-leading, award-winning global e-commerce business specialising in the design, manufacture and import of own brand and customer branded goods for retailers, e-commerce and independently owned stores.
About the role
Reporting to the Credit Supervisor, you will work as part of a wider team who are responsible for collecting outstanding debt from the company’s key UK credit accounts.
- Agreeing payment terms and conditions with clients on credit arrangements
- Carrying out thorough credit checks for new customers to ensure eligibility for credit
- Managing internal and external debt payment questions and enquiries
- Ensuring payments are on track to be paid within the agreed terms
- Chasing overdue invoices and payments via telephone and email
- Negotiating fair repayment plans with customers who are struggling to pay their debts
- Creating weekly debtor reports and accounts information for internal departments
- Keeping detailed records of collection activities and conversations
- Building and maintain string relationships with debtors
Location & commitments
- Full-time role on a temporary, 12-month contract with opportunity to extend based on performance.
- 8am-4pm Monday-Friday — 35 hours per week with 1 hour for lunch.
- Based at our modern Manchester city centre office.
- GCSE grade B or above in Maths, English and IT
- Excellent numeracy skills
- Good written and verbal communication skills
- Able to keep calm under pressure and a diplomatic but firm manner
- Proficient data entry and processing skills
- Basic knowledge of MS Excel (this will be tested at interview stage)
- Prior experience in a credit controller or accounts role
- A-Level or above in Mathematics or a related subject
Contact us to apply
If you’d like to join the team, apply today! Send your CV to the HR department at email@example.com and write a short cover letter explaining why you want to become a credit controller at Jones & Jones.
How much do credit controllers earn?
Credit controllers typically earn less than the national average, but salaries can increase with experience. Currently, the average credit controller salary sits at £25,000.
Credit controller salaries in the UK
- Low: £23,000
- Average: £25,000
- High: £32,500
Credit controller salaries will vary hugely depending on:
- The type of employer – For example, in-house credit controllers may earn more in the banking sector in comparison to a job within not-for-profit. Salaries in debt collection agencies also vary significantly
- The size of the employer – Generally speaking, bigger companies and agencies often have bigger budgets and can therefore pay higher salaries
- General salary factors – Such as level of candidate experience and location
For example, an experienced credit controller working in the financial services industry, will normally earn more than an entry-level credit controller working for a charity, where budgets are limited.
The figures shown above are taken from job advert samples, so do not include extra benefits like bonuses, overtime and non-financial benefits such as healthcare.
What does a credit controller do?
When businesses provide their products or services, before being paid by the customer – this is known as a credit purchase. They then set up an agreement for the fee to be paid at a later date, in one or several payments.
Credit controllers are responsible for managing this credit payment process, ensuring that only reliable customers are given credit, and that all debts are paid on time.
The job description of a credit controller will vary between companies — but typically, they carry out the following duties, tasks and responsibilities:
- Dealing with enquiries – Responding to internal and external enquiries from customers, regarding payments and outstanding invoices
- Chasing debts – Contacting those who do not make payments on time, explaining their terms of credit and ensuring they pay promptly
- Setting up credit terms and conditions – Agreeing credit terms with customers before purchases are made and sending out paperwork which details when debts must be paid
- Processing payments – Collecting and processing debts and payments on time
- Visiting debtors – Visiting the premises of debtors to collect payments in special circumstances
- Creating payment plans – Negotiating fair and customer-friendly repayment plans with customers who are in financial difficulty
- Checking credit ratings – Checking the credit rating of potential clients and customers before deciding whether or not to provide products/services on credit
- Reviewing credit applications – Deciding whether to accept or reject credit applications
- Maintaining databases – Keeping accurate payment records and maintaining databases
- Initiating legal action – Managing the legal proceeding for unpaid debts and arranging for the repossession of goods, where an agreement cannot be reached
What do credit controllers need?
There are no defined entry requirements in the credit controller industry, with many employers offering full on-the-job training.
With that said, exact requirements do vary from role to role and some companies will expect certain qualifications, skills and experience.
Generally speaking, here’s what’s needed to gain a job in credit control:
Junior credit controller jobs can normally be gained without prior experience. Although, employers will still be looking for candidates with a good head for numbers, so any work experience — even on an informal basis — within finance, accounts, credit control or bookkeeping will be a clear advantage.
Senior credit controller roles, such as credit supervisor or manager, will normally require candidates to have several years of full-time experience in a credit control role.
Credit controller skills
While credit controller roles are often open to entry-level candidates without experience, employers will still be on the lookout for the following soft skills:
- Communication: Written and verbal communication with customers, colleagues, clients and external parties
- Negotiation: Negotiating repayment plans with customers, balancing both of the needs of the customer and the business
- Customer service: Building relationships and dealing with stressed customers and clients in a professional manner
- Diplomacy: Being able to remain calm and sympathetic with customers, whilst still acting in the interests of the business when recovering debts
- Finance: A basic understanding of credit and debt, payment terms and surrounding terminology
- Numeracy: Dealing with numbers and processing payments confidently
- Organisation: Working through the sales ledger methodically and prioritising a demanding workload
- Working under pressure: Remaining calm and professional during high-pressured, stressful situations
- IT: Using software and IT systems to process payments and record customer information
Credit controller qualifications
Qualifications are not essential to work as a credit controller, as the majority of advertised roles are entry-level and include full training.
With that said, employers generally expect a good standard of general education — for example, GCSEs in Maths and English at grade B/C or above. Some employers may also prefer an A-Level in Maths, or Accounting and Finance.
Additionally, there are a number of vocational qualifications that are recognised across the profession that could help candidates to gain additional skills, progress within the credit control field and perform more confidently in their role.
Maths, accounting, finance & business qualifications
Whether it’s a BTEC, HND or degree, further education qualifications in the following subjects can give candidates a good head start in the credit control process:
However, while they may be able to increase the rate of progression within the industry, qualifications at this level certainly are by no means essential to gain a junior role.
Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) qualifications
CICM qualifications are recognised across the credit and collections industry. Again, while not essential to gaining an entry-level credit control role, they can be a distinct advantage for those wishing to progress into senior positions.
The Credit & Collections qualifications are available at three levels, as follows:
- Entry Level: For those working in operational roles, with little or no experience in the profession.
- Intermediate: For collectors working in senior operational roles.
- Advanced: For strategic/managerial level.
The Association of Accounting Technicians offer a range of skills-based accounting and finance qualifications. Their foundation-level options deliver a broad foundation in finance administration, including double entry bookkeeping and using accounting software. While primarily aimed at accountants, the skills are highly transferable and can be put to good use in a credit control role.
What is expected of credit controllers?
Credit controllers are normally expected to commit to the following:
- Full or part-time hours – Credit control roles are available on both full and part-time contracts, normally between 20 and 40 hours per week.
- Occasional overtime – During busy periods, such as in the tax season and towards the end of the year, overtime may need to be carried out outside of the employer’s core business hours
- Location – Normally based primarily at the employer’s office
- Regular travel – Credit controllers are required to travel to meetings with customers and clients, as well as occasional court hearings
Credit controller benefits
Benefits packages will vary between companies, but usually include things like:
- Bonuses – depending on performance
- Pension scheme
- Car allowance
- Flexible working options
Who employs credit controllers?
Credit controller employers will fall into 2 main categories in terms of the types of credit they offer.
1) Consumer credit: A business which sell products or services to the public on credit. For example, an online clothing store who offer “buy now, pay later” deals
2) Commercial credit: A business which sells products or services to other businesses, and allow their clients to pay after the service has been provided. For example, an office cleaning company who send an invoice to their client after the cleaning service has been completed.
Essentially any company who offer credit terms to their customers — from banking to not-for-profit — need a finance team and strong credit control in order to run effectively. This means that employment opportunities for credit controllers are vast and varied.
Jobs are available across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, though roles are more common in the private sector.
Typical credit controller employers include companies within:
- Debt collection agencies – Companies who act as an external credit control function for other companies
- Financial services
- Legal services
- Public utilities
- Local authority
Which junior jobs progress to credit controller roles?
Credit controller roles are entry-level roles in themselves and do not require prior experience, meaning juniors can enter the profession directly.
It’s worth noting that the government is currently working in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) to develop apprenticeship opportunities within the credit field.
These apprenticeships offer a fast track to professional accreditation and guarantee a credit controller or manager role upon completion.
Which senior jobs do credit controllers progress to?
A job as a credit controller can act as a great springboard into senior and higher paid jobs, including:
With a few years of experience, credit controllers qualify for promotion into a supervisory or team leader role. The duties within these jobs are largely the same as the credit controller role but with the added responsibility of managing a team, acting as the main escalation point of contact and ensuring that the whole team resolve disputes in a timely and efficient manner.
After gaining managerial experience in a supervisory role, the next logical move is to become a credit manager. Credit managers are responsible for maintaining an entire credit department and, while the role can be stressful, it commands a significantly higher salary.
The finance and numeracy skills gained as a credit controller make for an ideal foundation for other jobs in the field of finance, such as trainee positions as an accountant. While extra study will be required, progressing into an accountancy role can offer a great boost in salary and a wealth of further career progression opportunities.
Credit controller job description – conclusion
A job as a credit controller is a great option for those looking to enter the finance profession.
There are no strict entry requirements, but the role offers a fair wage and allows for the development of a range of finance, numeracy and customer service skills.
Additionally, with experience, there are plenty of opportunities available for progression across the finance industry.