what does a collections manager do?

  • job profiles
  • August 25, 2020

Collections managers are busy drivers of the revenue function. These pros are busy analyzing on a daily basis, scrutinizing financial statements, reviewing terms of service with clients and partners, reporting on payments — plus, a whole lot more. Diving a bit deeper into the role, high-level responsibilities of collections managers include the following:

  • monitoring and managing delinquent accounts and notifying all relevant parties
  • coordinating payments closely with the accounts receivable (AR) department
  • working to ensure that payments are sent, received and processed on time
  • supporting reporting requirements of the billing or credit department
  • ensuring compliance with relevant financial regulations
  • managing, mentoring and supervising other members of the collection team, if applicable

Not surprisingly, then, the daily tasks assigned to collections managers often include:

  • preparing and mailing letters to customers and vendors whose accounts are delinquent, reminding them of their obligation and encouraging them to make payment
  • using software (Microsoft Excel, Oracle and more) as well as other tools, applications and systems to monitor and manage payments
  • reviewing service level agreements (SLAs)
  • reporting on payment status to the AR team
  • keeping track of all payments received using software and other record-keeping applications
  • generating various reports and analyses on an ongoing basis

how do you become a collections manager?

There are any number of different paths to becoming a successful collections manager today, but probably the most reliable begins with education and training. After all, you’re going to be well-versed in some of the finer points of finance, contracts and more.

Worried about all of the qualifications and requirements needed to become a successful collections manager? Don’t be — “knowledge is power,” as the saying goes. With that in mind, the following requirements are fairly typical:

  • high school diploma, GED or the equivalent
  • five years of previous experience in the collection department or a related finance function
  • previous experience overseeing and managing direct reports, where applicable
  • strong knowledge of state and federal collection laws, credit authorization practices and general financial billing procedures
  • a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business management or a related field (not always required)

Scan the job description closely to be sure you understand all of the “must-have” versus “nice-to-have” qualifications for the role. Note that a master’s degree is seldom required to become a collections manager.

what are the key skills of a collections manager?

Collections managers — who, it should be noted, are also sometimes called “credit and collection clerks” on job search sites — tend to have fairly diverse skill sets. Beyond math and finance know-how, they also work with people day in and day out, so relationship management skills are clutch, too.

Of course, that’s not the only soft skill that’s prized among collections managers today. Additional aptitudes that frequently set candidates apart include:

  • analytical and critical thinking
  • verbal and written communication skills
  • people management and interpersonal skills
  • trust- and team-building abilities
  • negotiation skills

what search terms will help me find roles as a collections manager?

If you’re struggling to find the right roles on job search sites, we’ve got a few tips to help. For example, using a combination of the following search terms, along with “collections manager” (or simply “manager”), should surface relevant results:

  • debt collection
  • collection accounts
  • collection staff
  • call center
  • collections function
  • collections specialist
  • credit card

what's the pay rate for a collections manager?

Compensation levels for collections managers tend to vary considerably, but six-figure salaries for some of the most seasoned pros aren’t unheard of. Looking at the latest data, in any case, average salaries for collections managers can be effectively grouped into three tiers — low range, mid range and high range — depending on a lot of factors, including your location, market, responsibilities and relative level of expertise. That said, those tiers are as follows:

  • low range $80,667-$96,734
  • mid range $92,365-$110,762
  • high range $106,408-$127,602

One final key differentiator in the salaries listed above to make note of: The amount of revenue a collections manager is responsible for bringing in can determine salary, as well. If that number is high, for example, that’ll likely translate to a hike in salary.

Like a lot of things, of course, salaries for these finance savants are very much in flux right now. Your best bet for getting insights, given that context? Head on over to our free salary comparison tool, which should help you discover at-a-glance and up-to-date data about pay rates across locations and markets.

key takeaways

At this point, you should be pretty well versed in what collections managers do on a daily basis, as we've taken you step-by-step through:

  • what collections managers do
  • background, training, experience and other requirements for this position
  • key skills
  • salary
  • and more!

Got it all? Good! Now, it's time for you to take action — start searching for highly in-demand credit and collections manager positions near you. Alternately, in the event that you need to secure a bit more relevant training in order to improve your overall readiness for the role, you should check out online courses like this one from Udemy, our learning partner. It’s got everything you need to make the cut (at least in a B2B setting).