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Employees stories

Guillaume, FRANCE CREANCES Collection Officer

Guillaume P. joined the GESTION CREDIT EXPERT group in 2015. He joined FRANCE CREANCES’ teams as a Collection Officer to support the company’s strong external growth.

 

What is your career path?

After studying accounting, I began my career with a bailiff, handling accounts and part of their amicable and litigious recovery. So, on the job, I learned the legal procedures related to the trade. After 10 years, I joined the Delzongle Aquitaine group to take action with clients in arrears, to reassess their situation, and, in the best cases, resolve the problem amicably. There, I developed a particular talent: combining diplomacy and firmness with debtor clients. This is how I secured payments from reluctant clients or those in severe financial difficulties, taking care to preserve the quality of the commercial relationship.

Then I moved with my partner when she was transferred to Toulouse. I answered a job advert posted by FRANCE CREANCES, and here I am: I’ve been in charge of collection in a dynamic and really nice team for 2 years now.

 

What does a working day look like for you?

I get to work, take the time to make myself a coffee to give me a quick “boost", then I read and answer the many mails in my inbox, I check and manage my to do list, and then set about my pre-litigation recovery cases.

This job might seem repetitive at first, but each situation is different, and must be managed differently. Not all debtors are alike! You have to adapt to the situation of each one and to find customised solutions to the problems encountered in each case.

 

How would you describe your job in three words?

Important and essential! I help our clients recover their unpaid debts, and reduce their risk of default. When they entrust their debts to me, they can refocus on their core business and free themselves from all the tasks of litigation, which they may not necessarily be familiar with.

 

What are your main professional challenges?

I manage a very varied portfolio of civil and commercial debt, for multi-sector clients, who sometimes have major problems. My daily challenge is to stay agile and find solutions to resolve all my cases regardless of the client's profile, or the amount or nature of the debt.

 

If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?

Some debtors can be very unpleasant. You have to have steady nerves not to get discouraged and stay professional, to keep calm and bring things back to the purpose of the call... I would like to be able to detach more quickly from some people’s rudeness. Fortunately, once I get home I don’t think about it anymore.

 

On the other hand, what is the one thing you wouldn’t change?

My colleagues. Honestly, I’m lucky to work in an amazing team.

 

What advice would you give new recruits?

Be motivated, smile and stay in a good mood – that’s the key to success and to quick collection.

 

Can you share an infallible trick that you’ve learned from your job?

Smiling on the phone, being able to show diplomacy and empathy, without lacking firmness. Basically: "if I’m nice to you, you’ll be nice to me and keep your promises". It doesn’t work all the time, but it helps a lot.

 

Can you share an anecdote (funny situation) from your professional life?

Funny situations… there are a few every week! Just yesterday, I was in touch with a debtor who had registered on a dating site and did not pay her subscription. She sent me a letter of objection along with several photos of herself to prove that it was not normal, given her physique, that she did not find "love"…

What is your motto or philosophy?

Don’t let anything go, be persistent!


jeanina, FRANCE CREANCES Head of International Collection

Jeanina joined the group in 1991. She joined the teams as a client accountant. Several years later, she was the first employee to collect international debt for GESTION CREDIT EXPERT. Today, she is Head of International Collection.

 

What is your career path?

Bolivian by birth, I was educated in the city of La Paz in a French school. At the age of 12, I made my first trip to France. I fell so in love with the country that I decided to come and settle here when I grew up and raise my family here.

It was sort of by chance that I came to GESTION CREDIT EXPERT (Cabinet Gorrias Dousset as it was then). A friend had told me about an opportunity that might arise in the company. Since I had already had the opportunity to work in the world of debt collection in Bolivia, and I liked the idea of coming back, I tried my luck and they hired me for the position of Client Accounting Manager.

A few years later, it was becoming more and more evident that GCE needed to set up an international scale service to meet market needs. I am trilingual: Spanish is my mother tongue and I speak fluent English and French. The opportunity was too good to miss. So, naturally, I asked to join this team and I’ve been here for over 20 years.

 

What does a working day look like for you?

Every morning is a new experience for me and my work is far from monotonous. I have often had the opportunity to travel abroad to meet our partners and our clients. Nowadays, even if my work is more sedentary than it used to be, I still get the feeling of travelling, because of the very varied quality of the civil or commercial debt that I’m managing, and because of the very diverse nature of my contacts (clients, debtors, bailiffs, lawyers, etc.), and their geographical origins (Europe, North America, Latin America, Near & Middle East, Africa and Asia).

 

How would you describe your job in three words?

We are mediators between the creditor and their debtor. Our role is often essential in triggering the settlement of a case, especially when it comes to international commercial relationships. We certainly live in a globalised economic context. However, there are as many methods and patterns of payment in the world as there are countries. The law also differs depending on whether you are in Italy, the United States, Brazil or Senegal... The strength of GESTION CREDIT EXPERT’S international collection service rests on two pillars:

  • First, our team of multi-lingual and multinational collaborators who master the language, rules, practices and customs of many countries.
  • Second, our network of over 300 competent foreign partners (lawyers, bailiffs, correspondents, etc.) that can be quickly activated for delicate cases.

 

What are your main professional challenges?

I’m very often faced with complex and really varied problems. The secret to making sure my clients get paid quickly is to stay simple in my approach, and adapt to every situation like a chameleon.

 

If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?

Sometimes I have to deal with debtors who can be rude or aggressive. Even if we know how to handle difficult calls to carry out our mission, it’s never very pleasant to be in this situation.

To keep smiling in these moments, I think of a Bolivian proverb that says: "Lo que es gratis no sirve (If comes for free, it’s pointless)".

 

On the other hand, what is the one thing you wouldn’t change?

The international side of my post is what gets me out of bed in the morning and inspires me to come to my desk.

 

What advice would you give new recruits?

Do not be apprehensive about our job. Don’t think that collection is something really hard to do or difficult to handle: collection is mainly about enforcing the commitments that have been made to our clients.

 

Can you share an infallible trick that you’ve learned from your job?

Be in a good mood and always smile, even when you’re on the phone. It really does help!

 

Can you share an anecdote (funny situation) from your professional life?

As part of a commercial debt collection action, I had to issue several pre-litigation recovery requests to a senior company executive who finally settled his debts with my client through me. And you know what? I am now part of his network on LinkedIn, at his request.

 

What is your motto or philosophy?

Not to waste a single day of my life, after all it is so short!


Fabrice, GESTION CREDIT EXPERT General Accountant

As part of the development of our DAF division, Fabrice joined GESTION CREDIT EXPERT in 2014 as a General Accountant.

What is your career path?

I came into the world of finance because I’ve always loved numbers. I obtained a BTS in Accounting in 2006 and went on to work at D'medica, a specialist in Home Maintenance (Welcoop group). I worked there for 8 years. For the first 2 years I was a client accountant at the Toulouse office. For the next 5 years, I worked as a general accountant for the group’s 29 national sites. In the last year I was in charge of a team of 3 people responsible for keeping general and cash accounts.

 

What does a working day look like for you?

I spend my day crunching numbers, recording cash flow and checking the consistency of payments to clients as well as the payment of our suppliers. To put it simply, I translate the life of the company into figures.

 

How would you describe your job in three words?

Control, discretion and responsiveness.

Since I am in the department that handles the group’s finances, I can’t afford to make mistakes. I have to be methodical and rigorous. I also have access to sensitive data, I have a duty of discretion. Finally, I have to be responsive and tuned in to the market to keep myself up-to-date on accounting rules that change as new laws come into force.

 

What are your main professional challenges?

Minimising the time taken to collect our invoices while preserving the commercial relationship with our clients.

 

If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?

The image of the accountant. Our profession rightly demands rigour and pinpoint accuracy. The other side of that is that we are often taken for humourless, rather dull people who never leave the office.

As well as responding to new challenges and economic issues, the role of general accountant at GESTION CREDIT EXPERT requires us to have a lot of contact with our clients and suppliers and regular collaboration with other departments. In addition to our business knowledge, we try to be accessible and to have easy contact with our external partners as well as with all the employees of the group. The proof is: our office door is always open to the open-plan area.

 

On the other hand, what is the one thing you wouldn’t change?

I appreciate the autonomy and freedom that our CFO grants me. I know what I need to do and I work confidently with him.

 

What advice would you give new recruits?

Look out for market innovations and dare to communicate your ideas for improvements. Teamwork and team spirit are an undeniable asset for people with the ambition to grow with their society.

 

Can you share an infallible trick that you’ve learned from your job?

At key times of the month, I may be forced to work under pressure. To stay zen, I'll joke around for 5 minutes with the people who are really under pressure with numbers: the sales staff. That relaxes me and it allows me to regain a certain serenity.

 

Can you share an anecdote (funny situation) from your professional life?

I’ve got one in mind, but it’s too funny to tell… I’m bound by a duty of confidentiality J.

 

What is your motto or philosophy?

 “Hakuna Matata”.


Lucie, FRANCE CREANCES Collection Officer

Lucie joined the GESTION CREDIT EXPERT group in 2015. She joined FRANCE CREANCES’ teams as a Collection Officer to support the company’s strong external growth.

What is your career path?

After obtaining my Master 1 in notarial law, property and asset management, I decided to move on to a Master 2 in Business Law. That taught me about all the legal aspects in the life of a company, whatever its size.

With my Master 2 under my belt, I sent off a spontaneous application to join the teams at FRANCE CREANCES. I wanted to find a company on a human scale, recognised and well established in its market, where my skills would be highlighted. The advantage here is that I am entrusted with real responsibilities and I can see the direct effects of my work on the company’s project.

 

What does a working day look like for you?

80% of our operations concern amicable debt collection proceedings. This means that my day is punctuated by telephone calls seeking pre-litigation recovery from debtors. And if, despite all the efforts I have made to resolve the cases amicably, there is still no payment, I initiate and diligently carry out all necessary legal proceedings so that my clients can recover their money. Therefore I am in regular contact with the company’s partners: bailiffs and lawyers.

 

How would you describe your job in three words?

Payment collection is an essential part of client relations. The social, relationship-building dimension is very strong in this business. On the one hand, we have our clients, creditors who want to recover their due (for some this is even vital), on the other hand, we sometimes have debtors in a really delicate situation. My role is to try to find a solution that works for both parties.

 

What are your main professional challenges?

At FRANCE CREANCES, we make it possible for our clients to monitor their files and collections in real time. Given the large number of cases we manage, it is sometimes difficult to be exhaustive in describing all the tasks performed while working at an effective pace for pre-litigation recovery. Fortunately I can rely on high value-added tools that allow me to plan and monitor my actions over time.

 

If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?

The very reductive and often caricatured image of debt collection officers. Many see us as "debt hunters". We are not simply "collectors". We are mainly mediators and even facilitators of business competitiveness.

Every day I strive to be available and effective for my clients who want to be paid for a service or product they have sold. But every day I also remember to listen and be respectful and understanding towards debtors. And when I manage to reconcile the interests of my clients and the constraints of their debtors, then I think that I’m making a positive contribution to the smooth running of the economy.

 

On the other hand, what is the one thing you wouldn’t change?

My teammates. We are supportive and we complement one another. I know I can count on them and vice versa.

 

What advice would you give new recruits?

Dare to ask advice from your new colleagues and know how to listen and share with them. For me, helping each other is the basis of any balanced and fulfilling professional relationship.

 

Can you share an infallible trick that you’ve learned from your job?

Listen to people – creditors or debtors. When you contact them, show them you care about the sometimes difficult and delicate situation they are in. This very often makes it easier to reach an arrangement.

And the cherry on the cake, sometimes I get a thank you from debtors who understood that I wasn’t there to judge them, but to advise them and help them honour their debt without stress, and often avoiding the cost of legal proceedings

 

What is your motto or philosophy?

Stay calm and measured with each debtor = the more you force it, the less it works!