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Women in Credit – Terri Barron

What is your educational background?
I earned a BA in Business with a concentration in Finance from Southern Wesleyan University. I also have Credit Manager Certification from the National Association of Credit Management (NACM).

How did you first enter the field of credit and collections?
I was previously the Business Analyst at Michelin when this opportunity became available and took it.

What is your current job title and what are your job duties?
Manager of Credit, Original Equipment, US and CA. My primary responsibility is to manage the risk associated with existing and new customers. This includes financial analysis, credit establishment on terms, process improvements to streamline digital credit applications, and being involved in collections resolution when a customer does not have the ability to meet financial obligations. My role reports to the Treasurer and Director of Credit.

Can you describe your typical work day?
I review the forecasted purchases, payment habits and past due invoices of our customers, I have to determine whether or not the risk of non-payment exists.  Through daily monitoring and extending of customer credit limits and payment terms, I develop relationships with our customers. I analyze both public and private financial statements, working closely with our sales, accounts receivable, customer service, tax, legal, and leadership team. We make educated decisions on our investment in accounts receivable (our asset) and determine whether a credit limit needs to be secured or unsecured.  In summary, as a credit manager, I must take into consideration the 5 C’s of credit on a daily basis:  Condition, Capital, Capacity, Collateral and Character.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in this industry?
It’s a good day when I can help privately held entities improve their business results through analyzing the customer’s trends of cash flow, working capital requirements, solvency and liquidity. When our customers are strong, we benefit from that partnership. I also believe that being a big part of the ABCD Motor Credit Association and working with other credit managers has helped provide our industry with training opportunities and excellent service.

Where do you see yourself in the profession in five years?
I’m 58 and have been with this great company for 33 years.  Out of many positions I’ve held with Michelin, I’ve enjoyed Credit Management because there is never a dull moment, and there isn’t any repetitive number crunching.  It’s a dynamic position that provides the opportunity to protect one of the largest assets of the company while working with many teams both inside the company and externally with our customers. In the next 5-8 years I will hope to retire (smile).

What advice would you give someone thinking of entering the field?
FIVE pieces of advice:

You must focus on both your internal and external customers.

Take a long term-view of the financial situation rather than focusing on the short term outlook.

Know the revenue and profitability basics – knowledge of polcies and practices for validating customer ability to pay and procedures for receiving payments.

Be a fair and competent negotiator who knows what’s worth fighting for (and what isn’t).

Make informed decisions using guidelines and policies and seek guidance when it’s unclear.

About Michelin

Michelin, the leading tire company, is dedicated to sustainably improving the mobility of goods and people by manufacturing and marketing tires and services for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles/motorcycles, earthmovers, farm equipment and trucks. It also offers digital mobility support services and publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases.