The Levelset Payment Professionals Community has the honor to award a credit manager of the month who is nominated by their peers. For November 2021, this award goes to Mary Moore, Director of Credit at SouthernCarlson.
I spoke to Mary about her long and fruitful career at SouthernCarlson, her advice to credit professionals and contractors alike, and more.
On a credit career and mentorship
Lori: Tell us a bit about yourself, how you got to where you are.
Mary: I started my career in a small company that sold golf course and lawn care equipment and supplies. I posted cash and did some other light accounting functions. The owner then asked me to help with collection calls.
After a few years, I received a call from a man that I had met at an NACM [National Association of Credit Managers] meeting, asking if I would like to come work for Carlson Systems. That was almost 27 years ago, and I am still here! Our name is now SouthernCarlson. I have had several CFOs over the years, and went through many mergers and acquisitions. I went from being a credit specialist to a credit manager, and I’m now the director of credit — with two credit managers and 10 credit specialists on my team.
Did you have a mentor to help you along the way?
I have had so many mentors along the way, I cannot begin to name names. Belonging to NACM and CFDD [Credit and Financial Development Division of NACM] has been the biggest support group that anyone could ask for. Help is always just a phone call away.
Tell me about a time you were a hero in the workplace.
I recently was able to assist our AP team with one of our vendors. The vendor owed several thousand dollars in credits, and we could not get them to issue the credits. I know their director of credit, so I was able to email him and explain the situation — knowing he had nothing to do with credit memos being issued, but asked if he could “push” someone. Within a couple of weeks, everything was handled.
On the evolution of the credit industry
Do you have any predictions about where things are headed within your company, industry, and how you think your company will respond to these changes?
SouthernCarlson has had a record year with new job starts, and while we know a slow down will eventually be coming, we have not seen it yet.
Do you recall any “industry evolution” changes? Like how credit processes have changed in the past 10 years?
The credit application process has moved from stacks of paper to everything being electronic — from receiving them to scoring.
We have streamlined our processes greatly over the last few years. Payments entry is not under my umbrella but I do know that more and more customers are choosing electronic payments, either by ACH or check by phone. With the increased price of postage and the decrease in service, it is clearly the best option.
On credit processes — and advice for other professionals
If you were to train someone new in your department, what tools, processes etc. would you make sure they knew/had to make their job easier?
We are implementing a new ERP system next year at this time. Presently, we rely heavily on our current system — Microsoft products — as well as Levelset to make life easier. I would also offer any educational opportunities that were available.
What KPIs do you use, and what do you do to reach them?
My team is currently measured on percentage over 60 days, and has had a small bonus program associated with improvement month-over-month. If I had to walk away tomorrow, SouthernCarlson would be in great hands. What I do and the way our overall department goals are met is all because of my team. I have the best team, and could not do it without them.
What would you tell someone who is considering a job in credit?
If someone new was thinking about getting in the credit profession, I would recommend getting involved as much as you could and take advantage of any educational offering available. Getting to know others in your industry is critical.
Do you have any advice for contractors?
We are often told that we cannot be paid because they have not been paid. Our contract is with the contractor, not the job.
I think this is a common misunderstanding. Also, understand that we are filing a preliminary notice in states that require it because that is the law, and we need to be protected. We are not doing it to say that you are a high-risk customer and we don’t trust you.
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Just for fun
If you could have any job outside of credit, what would you do?
I’d just love to work anywhere that I could work with people, and that has a positive atmosphere.
How do you relax after a long day at work?
When I am not working, I love spending time with family. We have six grandchildren ages 3–16 that keep us busy with sports and other activities. We love to travel anywhere with a beach and an umbrella drink. I also love to scrapbook!
What would be the title of your autobiography?
The Power of Positive Thinking (Which I think is already a book!)
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
To heal. There are so many that suffer, many are too young.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.