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Credit Policy

April 15, 2021
Bill Kimball

credit policies and procedures

To keep sales and senior management informed about emerging problems including non-collectable accounts and order holds. While there is no single definitive credit policy, this article outlines some of the items you should include. We have also provided sample text you can edit and customize for use in creating a credit policy that meets the needs of your particular organization.

Naturally, it makes sense that there are a series of rules and requirements to govern the entire analysis and credit approval process, which is why the credit policy gets created in the first place. Though most consumers expect to pay cash or use a credit card when making a purchase, commercial customers typically want to be billed for any products and services they buy. You need to decide how much credit you’re willing to extend them and under what circumstances. There’s no one-size-fits-all credit policy–your policy will be based on your particular business and cash-flow circumstances, industry standards, current economic conditions, and the degree of risk involved. Your credit policy will ensure that every situation is handled the way you want it handled in a timely manner to avoid future risk, while protecting your valuable customer relationships. Specify the corporation’s procedures to collect on its outstanding customer invoices.

Terms should also be included on sales contracts, orders and invoices, even emails related to the sale. In addition, you may want to require large customers to sign an annual sales or credit contract, which would include your terms of sale and their credit limit. To provide flexible mechanisms to sell to a broad range of customers while ensuring that only prudent credit risks are taken and cash flow is maintained. The credit manager is authorized to extend credit to customers, and to communicate with them regarding their credit status. The credit staff is tasked with instructing customers regarding their payment responsibilities. Nate is Chief Legal Officer at Levelset in New Orleans, LA, along with being a husband, father, Eagle Scout, and prior Jeopardy Teen Tournament participant.

How To Make Money In A Credit Business

If you normally require payment within 30 days, offer a small percentage off (5% to 10%) if they make the payment in 15 days. Your credit procedure will define how you implement offering credit to your customers. Credit procedures should include who will get credit, how much credit you will extend and when it’s necessary to get a credit report for the customer. Richardson has worked for several banks and financial institutions and gained invaluable experience and knowledge. Richardson holds a Master of Business Administration in Executive Management from Ashland University in Ashland Ohio. is the process of assigning values to various elements of a customer’s credit history and payment performance to quantify its creditworthiness. It is popular because it creates a common, unbiased approach to evaluating credit requests.

credit policies and procedures

The company will extend credit to customers if they meet its threshold criteria for the granting of credit. The basic form of credit is a maximum credit of $10,000, with no security interest. The maximum credit can be expanded with the approval of the credit manager. In situations where a customer’s ability to repay is in question, a personal, corporate, or bank guarantee may be required. All terms are net 30 days, with no exceptions if a longer payment term is requested. Requirements for purchase orders, contracts, credit applications, sales agreements and invoices should all be documented and made clear to the client.

Missing or erroneous information may result in delays or rejection of the application. Do not allow your subordinates to stray from your credit policies and procedures without providing an explanation. Do not make the policy so vague or flexible that it is subject to interpretation by each member of the credit department. Do not make your policy so rigid that that you do not have a certain amount of ‘wiggle room’ in your credit decision-making process. The manual can be presented to senior management to ensure consistency between credit department operations and management’s expectations. A written policy is one way to ensure continuity in the department in the event that key personnel leave the credit department. Perhaps the most prevalent is the belief that a written policy is more trouble than it is worth, or that the policy once completed will quickly be forgotten or ignored.

Business Manuals

On occasion, a loan will be declined for reasons that don’t have a lot to do with the defined policy requirements. It may be that the bank or lender just doesn’t have any “appetite” for the loan type at the time of application.

credit policies and procedures

There isn’t any exposure from extending credit when the business is not in the practice of extending credit to begin with. When it’s broken down into its component parts, it establishes how risk averse a company is vis-a-vis extensions of credit and other monetary policies with respect to accounts receivable. Bank credit departments tend to define credit policies and guidelines based on long-term growth objectives. Recourse to project loans is therefore almost always a possibility. In contrast, bond markets are much more sensitive to short-term macroeconomic and company trends (so-called capital market short-termism). In such cases, a currency crisis or bond default by a private or sovereign state issuer can cause a generalized loss of confidence and, as a result, the impossibility to finance projects with bond issues.

How To Obtain A Company Credit Reference

Outline the company’s credit application and approval procedure. Clearly state how customers are to apply for credit and the documents and references they should provide with the application. Indicate the employees responsible for reviewing customer applications and the process used for evaluating a customer’s creditworthiness and specific credit limits.

A company extending credit to a consumer will first look at the prospective client’s ability to pay. The company will look at the amount of total income in relation to debts owed. The salesperson should review the application for completeness and accuracy.

  • In any event, and no matter how restrictive or lenient you wish your credit policy to be, there are certain sections that should be evaluated and included in the policy.
  • If your invoices offer terms that include interest penalties for late payment, they must conform to legal regulations.
  • It reconciles interests by setting limits to each of them and providing for arbitration in specific cases.
  • Let’s call these the “formal” criteria and they don’t change very often.
  • For international customers, consider using Documents Against Payment (D/P), Documents Against Acceptance (D/A) or Letters of Credit (L/C) to provide a greater level of security than an open account.

It is not a static document for financial controller which gathering dust in a corner office. This is an operational document which sets operating modes in accordance with the interests of the company whose ultimate goal is to be paid by its customers. The cost of invoicing may include financing any cash shortfall that can arise from a delay in payments from customers. It’s hard to keep your cash flow on an even keel when people won’t pay you for the work you’ve done. To have good cash flow in your business, it’s important to have good credit and collection policies.

A lender’s credit policy is a document that outlines the requirements and procedures for approving a loan. It’s the guiding force behind the credit officer’s approval or denial decision and the criteria may vary significantly from one lender to another, which explains the inconsistency. It’s rare for anyone outside of a bank or lender’s office to see the credit policy and it can be complicated and sometimes frustrating for those within a bank that use it.


It allows to structure the business, improve performance and relationships between the different services that compose it. It also specifies how are used late payment penalties to get customers to pay in a timely manner. The policy of credit management clarifies the objectives of the company and set best practices that must be followed by the entire organization.

As a best practice, it’s usually a good idea to ask a bank or lender up front if they have “appetite” for your deal type. However, a bank may also have informal criteria which may be referred to as their “risk appetite” or “in the box” criteria. This is what is likely to change in response to market fluctuations and portfolio concentrations. They’re also at the root of why one bank may want to do a deal and another may want nothing to do with it. From the table it can be seen, that there are relatively few defined policy criteria, 80% Loan to Value, 1.25X Debt Service Coverage, and years term. Let’s call these the “formal” criteria and they don’t change very often.

credit policies and procedures

The credit department will periodically review the repayment history of existing customers to determine whether their existing credit levels are reasonable, or need to be revised. This review shall also be conducted whenever business conditions warrant a general retraction or expansion of credit levels. The mechanics lien laws, bond claim rules, and corresponding notice requirements give construction businesses protection out-of-the-gate when writing a policy. However, as we have seen more than enough of recently, making credit too easy to obtain can result in more failures to pay as more of the customers default on the obligations. Clearly, some balance must be reached between very restrictive and very lenient credit terms. A good credit policy will help you start to get a handle on your cash flow.

The credit department will adjust standard terms of sale to maximize sales outcomes, though such changes require the approval of the credit manager. The basic underlying sales terms offered to customers is net 30 days. This policy outlines the requirements for establishing payment terms with the company’s customers, as well as the monitoring of those terms.

Part of your research should include finding out what your competitors’ terms are and taking them into consideration when determining your own requirements. To download the tools it is necessary to subscribe by filling the registration form and paying the amount of 29 euros by Paypal or bank transfer. This is a very instructive site for risk takers and risk managers. Well established and applied it will help to improve cash flow and working capital needs of the company and to preserve its future and fostering its development. If you provide a service where you can place the deliverable in a transition state before final delivery to the client, do it.

Why Construction Businesses Need A Credit Policy

Yet it is important to appreciate their implications for effective bank marketing. Marketing officers will sometimes have to defend aspects of these policy documents in the course of their assignments. Of course, they need some of the information in the documents to sell or mitigate risks of particular banking services.

It must incorporate the needs and help to accomplish the goals of management, finance and sales. It must be applicable to all of your customers, with limited exceptions. List both when and who authorizes the forwarding of an account to a 3rd-party collection agency.