May 2017

32 APAC / May 2017 , 1404AP07 In Control Luke Carroll of EC Credit Control tells us more about the industry within the APAC region as well as the firm’s growth plans for the future. EC Credit Control was initially established purely as a mercantile agency in 1989 and has grown to be the leading provider of credit management solutions to the SME market throughout Australia and New Zealand. The firm’s clients cover a diverse range of industries from construction, manufacturing/ wholesale through to transport and professional services. Any business that extends credit (i.e. has account customers) is classified as a ‘credit provider’. Any credit provider stands to benefit by having their cash flow protected and made more secure with the services of EC Credit Control. The services EC Credit Control offers are designed to protect and improve the cash flow of a business and include: • Customised terms and conditions of trade documentation • Debt collection services • Credit reporting through Veda • Sub-contractor agreements • PPS Registration service Luke of EC Credit Control tells us more about the firm’s overall mission and the steps taken to ensure this is achieved. “We aim to continue to be the market leader in credit management solutions throughout Australasia,” states Luke. “To do so we will continually focus on protecting and improving the cash flow of the business community through consultation and education of our clients and R&D to keep abreast of changes to legislation and economic trends and a continual focus on successful results in debt collection for our clients.” All new projects taken on by EC Credit Control are initially a consultative process followed by education of the client to increase their understanding of an effective credit management system. “Wherever possible we like to sit down with a business face- to-face. This allows the initial meeting to be a fact-finding mission providing an oversight of the current issues and challenges they face. The end result is a tailor-made solution to suit our clients’ business and individual needs.” The majority of the firm’s competitors are either mercantile agents or lawyers. Mercantile agents are solely focused on debt collection. This means they see the credit management solution (i.e. prevention is better than a cure) as reducing the amount of business they will get (i.e. as a business will have less debts to collect). “Our point of differentiation is an approach that is holistic and proactive,” says Luke. “Yes, by helping our clients protect their cash flow from the start, it means they are likely to have fewer issues with bad debts meaning less for EC to collect. But we make up for this with debts being easier to recover equating to more success for our client as well as EC. It also means our clients are less likely to go out of business moving forward which equates to more work for EC in the future. In relation to lawyers, they are rewarded for taking legal action, therefore a lot of Terms of Trade documentation drafted by lawyers for example is written geared towards taking legal action, instead of resolving a bad debt prior to going to court, which can save the client considerable time and expense.” As the years have gone by since EC was established and it continued to set record upon record with the amount of money collected for clients, the firm found itself working in an increasingly crowded marketplace in an industry where results can be more unpredictable than the outcome of the US Election last year. “We asked ourselves - how do we continue to stand out from the competition? How do we add value to the business community in order to stand out and ensure we don’t get swallowed up in an over-crowded marketplace? We knew the solution was to innovate, but how!? The answer we came up with was in the obstacle presented in our path most regularly - Lack of Contracts. “Around 15 years ago over 80% of the business community were still doing business on a handshake. For decades this had been, and continues to be, the great Australian way. However, with the demographics of the country slowly but surely changing and the Government increasingly keen to keep their