Collections Agent – Job Description
Collections agents are as far removed from the stereotypical debt collector as can be imagined. Diplomacy, persuasion and a good knowledge of business and credit law are in; a gruff, threatening voice, scars and a sledgehammer are out.
Many, many businesses are owed money by many other businesses and individuals. Chasing that money down is time-consuming. That’s where collections agents come in.
A calm, professional manner and great telephone technique are vital attributes, as are assertiveness, patience and great organisational, maths and computer skills.
It’s a people job, even if plenty of the people would rather not be talking to you. But it’s also an admin job and you’ll be organising payment plans, recording payments made and filing as much as chasing and tracing debtors.
No formal qualifications are needed, although a GCSE in maths is not going to hurt, nor will previous experience in accountancy or book-keeping. And both the Credit Services Association (CSA) and the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) run courses in debt collection and credit management.
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Other recommended resources:
Credit Services Association
Dedicated to supporting and promoting the work of collection agents amongst others association with credit services, the CSA also offer great training opportunities to help you improve your prospects and develop professionally, including a Collector Accreditation scheme.
Institute of Credit Management
Based across Europe, the ICM link debt recovery and credit management companies on an international scale to promote best practice and high standards. They provide opportunities for training and networking to help you get ahead in the industry as well a continuing professional development scheme.
Office of Fair Trading: Debt Collection Guidance
A set of documents and links offering guidance regarding the rules and regulations surrounding debt recovery. A great resource for acquainting yourself with how the job operates and how to keep within legal requirements.
Financial Skills Partnership
A skills council for those involved in the world of finance including training that can help in matters of credit management. If you are thinking of getting into debt recovery, developing skills through the FSP can help you prove your knowledge where it matters.