When considering expanding into the international market, it is essential for credit professionals to have a clear understanding of the values and cultures of a country's business environment. That was a key takeaway during Monday afternoon's breakout session, “Going Global,” at NACM's 119th annual Credit Congress in St. Louis.
“It's culture, communication, regulation and currency. It's very important that you understand how they do business within that country. They all do things differently,” said Gent Culver, ICCE, credit manager for International Game Technology. “You have to be aware of the culture you're dealing with and how they do business—it's the key to being successful and expanding globally.”
Culver was joined on the expert panel along with Joe McNamara, CCE, CICP, vice president of credit and political risk for Equinox Global Inc, and Lisa Spano, vice president of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Common phrases in the United States may be taken negatively in other countries, and credit professionals need to be aware of these differences. “It's important to have someone on the inside—simple things can mean something totally different,” said McNamara, adding it is necessary to stay cognoscente of the varying time zones as well.
Credit professionals doing global interactions also need to stay on top of current events facing the country—whether the issues be social, economic or political. “I always stress to read as many articles as you can,” said Culver. “You really want to keep up with what's going on in the world.”
When it comes to getting paid, the panel agreed that developing a relationship with a bank, specifically, within the country is a huge asset for the credit manager. “Banks are there to help support clients as they grow,” said Spano. “How you collect your receipts or how you use your letter of credit … it's very important that you have a partner when you go into these financial markets.”
- Jennifer Lehman, NACM marketing and communications associate