Careers in Factoring
Careers in Factoring a look at the types of roles and employment forecast for them
Many people think of a career in the financial industry as something only for graduates from the London School of Economics or Harvard, and involves great rewards for simply moving a few numbers around.
The truth, however, is quite different. Factoring is a career that has many different layers, each catering to a different part of the process. There is a wide range of roles, suitable for people approaching from any number of different backgrounds and educational histories.
Because factoring combines delivering finance to clients with actively recruiting them, there is a healthy mix of marketing and finance involved in factoring. Someone working in the marketing arm of a company, for example, will have knowledge of what the company sells, but will also know how to ‘sell’ those products. At the same time, a worker dedicated solely to finance will know all of the ins and outs of every financial product the company sells.
A career in factoring can mean substantially different things, depending on where in a company you work.
Whilst every factoring company will have their own structure with roles perhaps arranged slightly differently, most factoring companies follow a prescribed structure.
Looking at a top down structure – from senior management on down, we will look at the actual organisation of labour within a factoring company, i.e. what each arm of the business delivers and the roles therein.
This makes it easier to see the different skills involved with the different roles within a factoring company.
As with most businesses, senior management is responsible for the overall effectiveness of how a factoring company runs.
They will liase closely with other departments to ensure that operations – internally and externally, are running as effectively and efficiently as is possible. This does not mean that they think up and execute every idea or action in the business, but rather they cast a guiding eye over everything. In factoring, senior management does not just mean the management of people, although this is obviously a large part of it. It could also mean formulating and approving operational transactions.
In addition, senior management in a factoring firm will need in-depth knowledge of their financial field. They will likely spend a lot of time interacting – face-to-face or through technological mediums, with clients. This means discussing the financial needs and situations of clients.
As such, a senior manager at a factoring company needs the usual raft of top-notch interpersonal and management skills, but also combines this with keen and rich financial insight.
Working as the organisational and, as the name might suggest, operational arm of the factoring company, operations is all about maintaining the structure of the business and always working to make the business run as smoothly as possible. When senior management says they want this to change or that to happen, operations is the department that gets it done.
Operations might examine how different departments interact with each other and identify ways to make processes smoother, cheaper and quicker. They are also usually responsible for formulating and enacting plans to accomplish the above, usually with the go-ahead from senior management.
Operations in a factoring company might also identify present or looming trouble spots – either within the business or wider market, and advise senior management of this.
‘Operations’ itself is a somewhat vague designation and, indeed, other departments exist below operations to help it function. Because operations revolve around improving and maintaining productivity, this often devolves in certain forms to other sub-departments such as customer service and facilities management.
Facilities management does many of the things that often fall under the purview of operations, but at a closer, more involved level. Because operations staff have such a wide range of tasks, it often falls to facilities management to deal with certain issues.
In a factoring company, facilities management are mostly responsible for maintaining communications infrastructure, managing processes that support the core of the factoring business, as well as contract management and, often, general premises management.
The best way to view facilities management is as the arm of operations that ensures the business has everything it needs to succeed.
Whilst it is easy to guess the basic duties of most customer service agents, at a factoring company things are likely to work a little differently. A customer service representative at a factoring company, for example, will likely have to work with customers that talk in large, or sometimes very, very large, amounts of money. Alongside this are often complex financial arrangements or plans, which customers might wish to talk about in detail.
Customer service will often encounter these clients via the efforts of sales and marketing, which might mean that customers already have an idea of what they want. Customer service representatives need great, professional interpersonal skills, alongside a good understanding of what their company offers.
As well as these skills, the ability to know when and who to pass a client to is vitally important. A calling client, who may soon provide a great deal of money to the factoring company, represents a valuable asset. Factoring customer service representatives need to know how to handle these assets properly.
At a factoring company, working as administrative staff means processing and dealing with important financial documents every day.
The sums involved will often reach the tens of thousands, if not much, much more. This means that working in administration for a factoring company requires a keen eye, great attention to detail and, above all, commitment to data protection.
Any company dealing with personal or business financial records has robust policies in place to protect private data.
Because of the structure of factoring companies, a few different branches of the business come under administrative staff, which provide some of the most important parts of the company.
It goes without saying that, in a factoring company, the accounting staff are vitally important.
It is they who will probe and investigate potential deals – weighing up the benefits of becoming involved with a business against what they offer. At the same time, many accounting departments in factoring companies must investigate the business against which they are providing finance.
This requires a good nose, in addition to usual skills of accountancy. In a factoring company, working in accounting means working as both a monitor – always looking out for the company and deals that are good and those that are not, in addition to processing deals for clients.
Sales and Marketing
Working in sales and marketing for a factoring firm is quite similar, in some regards, to many other businesses.
The primary aim is to appeal to businesses that need the firm’s services – the marketing part of the equation, and then offering them terms that they find agreeable – the sales part.
Marketing and selling a financial product is somewhat different from selling a car, in that the service a factor offers can have a great impact on a whole business. The scale and worth of the product in factoring means that marketing and sales has to present a trustworthy, reliable image. If a business feels uncomfortable with the way a product is sold to them – especially one worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, they will likely balk.
Similarly, some business using factoring might have financial problems. They job of marketing and sales is then to offer reassurance and explain how factoring can help. In short, sales and marketing in factoring is not just about the quick sell, but cultivating mutually lucrative, long-term relationships.