what does a collections specialist do?

  • job profiles
  • September 02, 2020

Collections specialists go by a bunch of different names these days: You’ll see titles like “senior billing specialist (legal),” “accounts payable specialist/collections,” “collections metadata specialist” and more proliferating on job boards. And when you get right down to it, in fact, many seemingly niche roles such as “medical billing specialist” rely on many of the same core skills that are in any collections specialist’s wheelhouse. So accounting and finance pros should be aware that this is an especially versatile area of expertise in today’s job market.

Setting that aside for the moment, what are the primary on-the-job priorities for collections specialists?

  • overseeing accounts and managing payments
  • ensuring comprehensive compliance with financial policies and relevant regulatory requirements
  • managing daily financial transactions — for example, by verifying, classifying, computing, posting and recording transactions from the accounts receivable (AR) team
  • preparing bills, invoices, bank deposits and more, as instructed
  • reconciling AR ledgers
  • confirming that payments are accounted for, properly documented and posted
  • identifying and investigating any discrepancies in billing
  • sending bill reminders and contacting clients as needed to ensure timely payment of invoices
  • generating key financial statements and reports around AR operations and status
  • responding to work-related email

how do you become a collections specialist?

There isn’t any one path to becoming a collections specialist, but having a background in similar accounting and finance roles is definitely a plus — and a potential differentiator. Surveying the job boards, the core requirements for landing your next opportunity as a collections specialist seem to be the following:

  • high school diploma or equivalent (not always required)
  • anywhere from one to two years of previous experience in a related professional field
  • some experience with billing and (financial) coding
  • familiarity with consumer loan collections (not always required)
  • baseline understanding of relevant laws and regulations, such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations (not always required)

what are the key skills of a collections specialist?

Collections specialists are pretty busy professionals within the office and administration ecosystem, as we have seen. To be effective in the role, certainly, they not only have to be expert money managers, they have to deal with people, too. And that’s why soft skills can give candidates a distinct competitive advantage in this crowded job marketplace.

Here are some of the skills and aptitudes you should try to showcase on your resume when applying for collections specialist roles:

  • strong written and verbal communication and negotiating skills
  • customer service
  • adaptability
  • analytical and strategic thinking
  • persistence
  • teamwork and collaboration
  • resilience
  • lifelong learning

Think you can convince a prospective employer that you've got all of these traits? The job should be all yours, if so. And if you think you need to brush up on your training or certification, simply check out the latest collections and credit courses from our learning partner — and the world's largest online learning platform — Udemy.

what is the salary of a collections specialist?

Based on the latest compensation data, it looks like average salaries for collections specialists can be bucketed into three tiers — low, middle and high — depending on factors such as your location and level of expertise.

  • low $16.25
  • mid $21.50
  • high $26.54

Broken out annually, average salaries for collections specialists show a broadly similar distribution:

  • low $26,858
  • mid $32,715
  • high $45,917

However, if you want to dive deeper into this kind of compensation information, head on over to our salary comparison tool. It’s free, easy to use and should arm you with more actionable data.

key takeaways

At this stage in the game, the next move to make is 100 percent up to you. After all, we've covered a lot of ground, including:

  • what collections specialists do
  • the right background, training and experience associated with the role
  • a few important skills to highlight on your resume
  • expectations when it comes to compensation
  • plus, a whole lot more!

Think you’re ready to get busy in a new collections specialist role? Start searching for collections specialist openings near you with Randstad today.