Tina Hoffman, ABC-Amega’s Assistant Director of Member Group Services has maintained a career in the credit industry for over 20 years. She’s held positions with Microsoft, Bureau Veritas, and Praxair. Hoffman is a new addition to ABC-Amega’s Credit Service Department, she joined company in late 2019. We recently sat down with Tina to discuss her career.
Q: How did you get into the credit field?
A: After obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree in sociology from the University of Buffalo, I took an account reconciler specialist position at a local company. In this position, I learned that I enjoyed collections. After six months in that role, a regional credit manager at the company asked if I’d be interested in posting for a credit analyst position, and I got that position, and this was the beginning of my career. I later went on to earn my Master’s Degree in Business Leadership.
Q: What challenges, if any, have you faced in this industry?
A: One of the challenges I have experienced where I’ve worked previously, is trying to get departments outside of credit to respect and understand the importance of a credit department. What I mean by that is, people look at credit positions as entry level (everyone can do it type of job), but that is not the case. In the credit industry, especially for soft call credit, it is all about providing great customer service. Asking the right questions, so you can help the customer, and making the customer feel like they are being heard, so they understand the importance of making a payment. Also a Credit Analyst has to understand the big picture. Understanding credit risk, looking for signs of financial stress, instability, and possible growth from the customer is crucial.
Q: In what ways do you feel the industry could or should improve?
A: I am a huge believer in attending educational conferences and other industry events. These events bring credit professionals from different companies together all under one roof, and are exciting because the attendees are all looking to increase their knowledge of the industry. I believe more of these experience and idea sharing events would help the industry improve.
Q: What has been the biggest success during your career?
A: In a previous position, I visited a client with whom we were having an A/R issue with. There was a situation where the client was receiving invoices at a swift rate and they weren’t being paid until well after 120 days. During the visit, I was able to see the issues with the way our system and the client’s process worked. After spending some time and having conversations, we were able to work with them to develop of a program where instead of sending so many invoices, we’d send monthly spreadsheets with the services and charges. After this change, both parties were satisfied, and our invoices, for the most part, were being paid on time.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting into this industry?
A: A few ideas come to mind. First, I’d recommend spending a day shadowing a credit professional. This will give you a quick overview of the day in the life of a credit manager. It will also show people who are interested in the field, how much multitasking and organization in needed in this career. Also, if you can, find a mentor. I absolutely enjoy mentoring, and feel that it’s an approach that achieves great results. If someone on my team shows interest in learning more about the industry, I like to give them the pros and cons of the job and what different positions are out there, and what each entails.