Debt Collector

The Role of a Debt Collector and Credit Manager working for a Debt Collection Agency


Nobody wakes up one day thinking: “I really want to be a debt collector”. Everyone I know came into credit management by chance. Like them, I was not specifically looking for a job in Credit & Risk, but my first job was in the Credit Management team of Burberrys of London and I never looked back…

You simply do not get many “Admin” jobs like this. It requires a very broad skills’ set and a great deal of passion.

Credit (and Risk) Management is at the crossroads of many key company functions and a good Credit Manager will have regular interactions with Finance, Sales & Marketing, Customer Service, Shipping, Legal and IT, and will be involved at every stage of the client relationship.

During my career in Credit Management, I have been:

  1. Validating clients – Increasingly, this does not only mean making sure they are able to pay on time and how much credit we should give them in one go, but also checking their reputation in line with Anti-Money Laundering Regulations KYC (Know Your Client) for example. Training the Sales & Marketing team to gather the right information and to get the client relationship sealed by obtaining a signed contract is also a good starting point
  2. Reviewing and amending Terms & Conditions to make sure the Law governing the contract, the jurisdiction and late payment sanctions are relevant, applicable and enforceable, and helpful to the company as well as all its subsidiaries. This is often neglected to the point that an EU subsidiary of a US corporation may be forced to sue a debtor based in their own country in a Californian Court!
  3. Making sure that all the shipping documents are correct to meet the requirements of a Documentary Letter of Credit, so the goods can move smoothly and payment follows without last minute amendments to the L/C which could jeopardise the payment protection it offers
  4. Accommodating clients with temporary cashflow problems with adapted payment plans which enable continuity of supply
  5. Changing the remuneration criteria for the Sales Team so they do no longer get their commission when the order is processed, but when the invoice gets paid = sales commissions related to DSO (Days Sales Outstanding) instead of “sales”. For me a sale is only a sale when the invoice gets paid
  6. Involved in Order to Cash IT systems implementation: the sales process always requires a major input from the Credit Manager at all levels: risk, credit, compliance, customer communications, third party relationships, etc
  7. Assessing the potential success and financial viability of legal action when non-payment cannot be resolved amicably.


I do not know of many other roles within a company that require greater communication skills than that of Credit Manager, and this is why I have been in Credit Management for over 30 years.

This article is written by Mr Pierre Haincourt, Managing Director and member of the Debt Collection team at CLI


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