So You Want to Work in Credit and Collections?

By Robert Half January 5, 2018 at 5:00pm

If you're looking at jobs in credit and collections, you might want to know that opportunities range from entry level to senior management at all kinds of companies and industries.

Duties vary, but most credit and collections roles include collecting payments, settling accounts and keeping records. Depending on the company, credit and collections specialists may also be responsible for monitoring account portfolios, collaborating with the sales department, working with clients and providing customer service.

Here's a look at the projected starting salaries, duties, expectations and qualifications associated with credit and collections positions:

How much can you make in credit and collections?

According to the 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide, the midpoint salary is $38,250 for a credit/collections clerk, $51,000 for a credit/collections analyst, $58,000 for an assistant credit manager, and $69,500 for a credit manager/supervisor. So you can see there's impetus to move up from clerk to manager.

The salaries listed in the Salary Guide reflect starting pay and are based on actual placements throughout the United States, as well as an analysis of the demand for the role, the supply of talent and other market conditions. At the midpoint, candidates have average experience with the necessary skills to meet the job requirements, and the role may be in an industry where competition for talent is moderate.

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Expectations for the different positions

A collections clerk maintains documentation of financial communications, payments and accounts. The clerk also collects payments and settles accounts and is often responsible for initiating collections calls to customers.

An assistant credit/collections manager is similar to a clerk and is often responsible for maintaining customer accounts. Additionally, this position may require the ability to prepare customer credit profiles and requests, provide and follow up with references, and coordinate with customer service colleagues as needed.

A credit manager has developed collaboration skills to build relationships externally with clients and internally with other departments. Core responsibilities often include evaluating clients, analyzing reports and leading meetings. A credit manager’s responsibilities and duties also might include:

  • Determining the credit worthiness of potential and current customers
  • Setting credit limits
  • Establishing risks associated with credit
  • Working with sales and accounting departments to resolve credit issues
  • Developing and analyzing account reports
  • Partnering with collection agencies as needed
  • Providing quality customer service

Depending on the size of the company, a credit manager may also supervise other credit staff or lead a team.

Professional experience and skills requirements

Credit and collections jobs require solid verbal and written communication abilities. Soft skills (and soft skills training) frequently make the difference between two otherwise equal candidates. Other valuable assets for people in these positions include computer skills (Microsoft Excel skills are often crucial), stellar time management and organizational abilities, as well as a keen attention to detail.

A credit and collections clerk typically is hired at the entry level and works under immediate supervision. Positions usually require a high school diploma and collection training courses.

A credit/collections assistant manager position generally requires one to five years of experience and a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or a related field. Due to the nature of the work, it’s important that an assistant manager possesses strong organizational skills, sharp attention to detail and the people skills needed to cultivate strong relationships with clients.

Credit managers require more than five years of experience, with at least two in management, as well as a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or a related field. Credit managers must possess a higher degree of analytical thinking, communication and leadership skills.

Editor's note: This post was updated recently to reflect information from the 2018 Salary Guide.

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