Krista Gerard is a dispute resolution specialist at Wave Financial in Toronto, Ontario. She graduated with a degree in Law and Justice from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. After graduating, Krista worked at a nonprofit women’s homeless shelter for 3 years, as well as, working at a residential home for teenage boys in conflict with the law. After working within the nonprofit field for some time, Krista made the move from a small town to the big city! She started at Wave as a customer support specialist and showed an interest in chargebacks and collections. She then took on a new role and has been in this position for some time. Krista loves a challenge and always wants to learn and expand her knowledge of the industry.
ABC-Amega’s Director of International Service, Jennifer Tirre-Daniels, recently spoke with Krista about her experience in the credit and collections field.
JTD: How did you get into the credit field?
KG: I gained exposure to the credit field by working at Wave Financial. Wave Financial is a technology company that provides financial software to over four million small business owners and entrepreneurs. Wave offers a plethora of credit products and due to that, Wave has a dedicated chargeback team whose goal is to help support our business owners through the chargeback process when using digital payments. Sometimes our business owners need help and assistance managing their liabilities and expenses, and I partner with them to help them fulfill their obligations and manage their cash flow. At times, I have to collect money from these entrepreneurs, which can prove to be difficult when the cash flow is tight. Furthermore, the chargeback process can be discouraging, frustrating, and scary, given the financial impact on their business. I do my best to try and make recovery as painless, customer friendly, and empathetic as possible.
JTD: I understand you work with an all-female team.
KG: Yes, our Chargebacks and Collections team is composed entirely of women. I think this speaks to Wave, having a diverse and inclusive environment, and I am proud to work for a company that encourages and supports women, not only in the technology industry, but also in the field of credit.
JTD: Are you involved in any programs or initiatives to bring more females into the field, such as active outreach or recruitment?
KG: Wave Financial has been recognized, but I am currently not engaged in any programs or initiatives. However, having an all-female collections and chargeback department is quite empowering. We all support each other when we deal with difficult situations or challenging conversations with our customers. We work together as a support system for one another.
JTD: In what ways do you feel the industry could or should improve?
KG: I feel like the industry could improve by providing more educational opportunities to business owners on how to avoid chargebacks and protect their business against such potential loss. If small business owners were made aware of the financial impact a chargeback can have on their business, they might make adjustments within their processes to further protect themselves and avoid being in debt and out of the money. I think preventive measures such as education and transparency is key to making the lives of our business owners easier and ensuring they do not face the frustration and impact of a chargeback and the potential financial loss.
JTD: What are the biggest challenges you face as a credit professional in your industry?
KG: At Wave, we empower our entrepreneurs and want to support their dreams. With that being said, the biggest challenge I face is that not everyone is willing to work with us and give us a detailed explanation of how they ended up in this situation or take ownership of the debt incurred. When attempting recoveries, we are often looked at as “the bad guy”. It is important to change that perception and educate them about their responsibilities, liabilities and rights, so they have a deeper understanding to be able to manage their own financial health. Having to pursue individuals to pay their debt off when they don’t take ownership or acknowledge their fault in the situation can be a challenge in itself. The recovery industry is a tough one and remembering to focus on the end goal always ensures that I stay motivated.
JTD: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting into this industry?
KG: I think the best advice I could give someone is to have thick skin, be ready to handle escalations, believe in what you’re doing and be passionate in your role. You need to be a self-driven and motivated individual when dealing with recoveries.
About Wave Financial:
Wave is an award-winning financial management software company that is changing how entrepreneurs make money, move money and track money. Wave provides solutions that empower small business owners to simplify their finances while giving them more confidence to run their businesses.
The company has more than 4 million registered customers around the world and tracks more than $330 billion through its accounting, invoicing, payroll, and payments products.