Credit Controller

Credit controllers are employed by firms to handle all the liaison and administrative duties arising from hire-purchase transactions. In this way the hire-purchase system can be managed on an organized basis and the interests of both buyer and seller can be protected.

Over the years, buying on credit has become a customary way of doing business. Customers use credit extensively to buy houses, cars, large domestic appliances and many other goods and services. The vast majority of business purchases, such as raw materials used in manufacturing and merchandise to be sold in retail stores, are also bought on credit so that businesses do not have to tie up their cash in inventories.

Credit controllers are responsible for opening accounts for prospective customers in accordance with the company’s credit-policy by investigating the credit-worthiness of prospective buyers, drawing up the hire-purchase contracts, and collecting the deposits and payments. They sometimes have the financial authority to accept or reject credit applications. In extending credit to a business the credit controller reviews financial reports submitted by the applicant, interviews representatives of the business, and reviews credit reports to determine the records of the firm in repaying debts.

When extending credit to individuals, the credit controller relies on personal interviews, credit bureaus and banks. Although it is not necessarily the duty of the credit controller to formulate the hire-purchase contract (it is usually the task of executive level credit managers in cooperation with other top managers to formulate company credit policy), he/she must be able to interpret the legal terms and requirements to clients. In some large organisations, the credit controller may be responsible for establishing a credit policy. He/she must also ensure that both parties sign the contract correctly.

Credit controllers have to check all accounts monthly and contact customers who are unable or refuse to pay their debts. They do this through writing, telephoning or personal contact. If these attempts fail, they may refer the account to a collection agency or assign an attorney to take legal action.

Key skills in this job are to be a good communicator, with a tactful manner, able to keep calm under pressure, be assertive, have good number skills and the ability to explain financial matters clearly.

Personal Requirements

  • have to be able to work with sensitivity when dealing with people and their money
  • have a pleasant personality and appearance
  • have the ability to speak and write effectively
  • need to be able to demand payment on overdue accounts, which may cause extra strain
  • be discreet yet firm
  • need personal knowledge of human nature
  • must be able to use their powers of observation when dealing with customers
  • be prepared to learn from their mistakes if their judgement is wrong
  • be able to analyse detailed information and draw valid conclusions based on this analysis
  • must be prepared to spend most of his/her working day doing calculations

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Compulsory Subjects: No compulsory subjects
Recommended subjects: Computer Applications Technology (CAT),  Accounting, Business Studies
Pass in Matric with a Diploma pass
Check the admission requirements at the institution you intend applying to.

What to Study

In-service training under the guidance of more senior and experienced personnel in the department, to gain a thorough understanding of the company’s credit procedure and policies. If computer and other mechanical devices are being used, they are trained in the necessary skills.

Degree: BCom Accounting / BAccounting - most universities.
Courses in Credit Management are offered by UJ and UNISA.
A BTech in Credit Management is also offered by UNISA.

Diploma: N.Dip: Credit Management - UNISA


  • various businesses
  • banks and building societies
  • finance houses
  • departmental stores
  • retail companies
No self-employment possibilities exist, except perhaps as a debt collector

Further Information

Institute of Bankers
Maitland Building, Ground Floor
18 Fricker Road
Tel: (011) 268-0669

Getting Started

  • become as figure orientated as possible
  • try to obtain vacation work as an assistant to a credit controller, for example in a retail company
  • make an appointment to speak to a credit controller about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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