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Moving with the Times – a blog by Philip King

12 June 2014

I was pleased to be asked by Carol Lewis of The Times to write ten tips on how to manage cashflow, and to appear as one of the panellists on a live Q&A session on The Times SME Hub website this week. If it’s of any interest the tips are here and the web debate can be found here.

The web debate, coupled with a recent discussion on the ICM Credit Community LinkedIn group about the success of the ICM virtual classrooms programme, has reminded me that I fall firmly into the category of people who think our policemen are getting younger and younger. It really isn’t that long ago (OK, it’s about twenty years!) that I was studying for an MBA by distance learning when research meant going to the local library, getting tutorial support meant making a phone call, and using technology meant saving my thesis to a series of floppy discs, each of which could hold 1.44 megabytes of data.

A web debate where participants could post questions, and a panel could answer them instantly, would have been considered pure science function. Even more futuristic then would have been the idea that I could be sitting in a hotel room in London using wi-fi while the other panellists could have been anywhere between Kirkcaldy and Kuala Lumpur for all I know.

With the amazing advances in technology have come the increased access to information and expertise that was previously much harder to find. So, are people better informed than they were? They are if they take advantage of what’s available and they’re not if they don’t. Just as trudging to the library could be a chore, so can surfing the web for appropriate and relevant information, and sifting out the useful from the useless. It requires effort and discipline and, without them, we’re in danger of remaining ignorant – and ignorance really isn’t bliss. As Benjamin Frankilin apparently said: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”

In the LinkedIn discussion referred to above, I mentioned the influence of my boss back in the 80s on my decision to gain qualifications and on my subsequent career. I was half-way through writing this blog when I received a sad call advising me that John Brown had passed away. John was a real credit professional, he was a great ambassador for the ICM over many years, and he was my first – and most significant – mentor. I salute his memory.

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