The Levelset Payment Professionals Community has the honor to award a credit manager of the month who is nominated by their peers. For August 2021, the award went to Pakita Bolt, a Credit Manager with Cameron Ashley Building Products.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Pakita to learn more about her career path, her tricks of the trade, and how she deals with some of the complex situations she has to deal with every day. But it’s not strictly business: I also asked her some more lighthearted questions to get a sense of her personality. Even credit pros can have some fun!
And Pakita is a professional, according to Rich Adams, CEO of Southwest Business Credit Service. Says Rich, “Pakita just gets it!”
On credit as a career
Lori: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are.
Pakita: My background has always been in customer service. For a while, the credit department was trying to persuade me to join their team, but I was petrified. I had no credit experience.
After being asked a third time to join credit, I took the offer. I have been in credit for 11 years now. It was the best decision I made for my career!
What would you tell someone who is considering a job in credit?
Credit is fun! It’s not all about collections. Credit is a field of variety. I love that my day to day in the credit world is never the same. Some aspects remain the same but, for the most part, every day is different. The growth and knowledge that the credit world has to offer is amazing.
Don’t be afraid to enter the position without prior credit experience — it can be taught. However, being able to add your own flavor to the day-to-day makes the credit position one that continues to evolve with unlimited opportunities.
Keep reading: The Ultimate Guide to Success as a Credit Manager
Did you have a mentor to help you along the way?
I have had a supportive team of individuals in various positions throughout the industry that have helped me, and who continue to give me guidance throughout my career.
On being compassionate
Tell me about a time you were a hero in the workplace.
Recently, we had a customer who was upset that their account was placed on hold with us. I was not the Credit Manager assigned to this customer, but I was the backup since their CM was on vacation.
The customer was furious they were placed on hold because they were past due (go figure, right?!). Miscommunication between the sales rep and the customer didn’t help the matter at hand.
I was able to calm the customer down. I explained that they did, in fact, owe the balance. I also walked her through making the payment online. I offered to write off all the service fees due to the miscommunication.
I also discovered the same day that one of the customer’s employees had passed away. I asked the Branch Manager who handled the customer’s order to deliver flowers to her. I also sent the customer some trinkets from our company store as a token of our appreciation for their business.
The customer emailed me that night, thanking me for not only helping her but also brightening her day after a tough one. That’s what credit is all about — helping others and taking care of the customer!
On measuring success in credit
What KPIs do you use and what do you do to reach them?
We have used several KPI metrics, and our company continues to come in at 93% or above current each month. We use metrics such as DSO, Total Sales, Total AR, Total Past due are common metrics companies use.
Now that we have new management, those metrics we used previously are being reviewed to determine if there are additional metrics we can implement to continue to improve our KPIs overall.
Learn more: 12 KPIs for credit departments
What impact have you had on your company’s DSO?
Our DSO (days sales outstanding) has improved as we continue to remain in a “no risk” environment. We have also tightened up on collection calls. We work with customers who are having payment issues to catch those early on before they become extremely past due.
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On reducing credit risk
How do you qualify a customer before issuing credit?
We use a variety of tools to determine if a customer qualifies for a line of credit. D&B reports, NACM, bank and trade references (if additional support is needed to justify a credit line). Also, if a company offers a personal guarantee, we take that into consideration with the overall credit decision.
How does your company manage lien rights?
Having an outside company that handles the lien process is a huge help, because they are able to keep track of deadlines. They ensure we do not lose lien rights in any state we work in. This means I don’t have to remember or set reminders to check back on an open job.
The hardest part of managing the process for me is updating each project online for our third party lien rights company to manage efficiently.
Just for fun
If you could have any job outside of credit, what would you do?
Growing up, I always dreamed of becoming an interior designer. I love mixing and matching colors, decorating, and just bringing life to any space creatively. Who doesn’t love to spend money and decorate?!
How do you relax after a long day at work?
Wine, wine, and more wine!
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I would be a butterfly. Butterflies are symbolic representing rebirth, transformation, change, and life.
What would be the title of your autobiography?
Metamorphosis (go figure)!
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
With everything we have going on in the world today, I would love to have the superpower of Captain Planet! To defend Earth from all the pollution of COVID and diseases, political schemes, racism — you name it.
This interview has been condensed for clarity.