I have enjoyed many interesting transitions in my life within the collections industry. Those of us who have weathered decades of involvement in the accounts receivable management realm have witnessed dramatic change within our organizations, regulatory challenges, litigious cultures and creditor dynamics that have created profitability woes. I shared with our readers that I made a major decision in May 2017 to sell my collection firm. I have continued my speaking and consulting actively but in June of 2018 I made a decision that makes me feel like I have finally come home.
Positioned to Educate
In my career, the people I have met, the relationships that I have built, the students that I have educated and the personal business challenges I have overcome have had one dynamic in common: the genesis of all of these experiences originated in my active involvement with ACA International, Inc., fondly known as the American Collectors Association in the early days. I owe much of the success in my tenure in this industry to the support and guidance this organization has provided to me, and countless others, as they have forged their careers within this industry. After 29 years as a senior Certified Instructor with ACA, hundreds of presentations under my belt and decades of leadership including the position of President of the association, I made the leap to become part of the dedicated staff within the organization.
In June of this year I contracted to become ACA’s Director of Education and Membership Development. I have been a major proponent of education in our industry and believe that it forms a firm foundation for success within our respective enterprises. Collection Advisor has been a valued and respected publication with which I have enjoyed almost 15 years as a columnist. I plan to continue my work with the magazine with a slightly different approach as the “Training Advisor.”
As was the case with my past activities, I am once again in a position where I am granted a large amount of face time with industry professionals. I plan to continue sharing ideas, strategies, success stories and unfortunate laments from the very grass roots of our readership with an emphasis on training and education. There is tremendous strength obtained from the chronicles of peers who work daily in the same industry. Information is power and the realization that there are many readers just like you with the same issues becomes rather reassuring.
Plan to Train
As we move forward into 2019 I challenge readers to take a serious look at your educational initiatives within your respective organizations. Make it your New Year’s resolution to develop a clear and robust training plan for the next 12 months. A robust plan is not simply scheduling a webinar or two for some of your staff. Take a thoughtful look at your team and make decisions on the topics and delivery methods that would be most beneficial for your organization. Initiate, if you haven’t already done so, an education tracking system that clearly delineates who has been trained, when that training took place and the programs yet to be provided.
The focus of this issue of Collection Advisor centers on the telecom industry. With our culture’s reliance on telecommunication, predominantly via wireless technology, many collection firms maintain client relationships with telecom providers. Although we often focus our organization’s training on tactics, techniques and compliance parameters, there is great opportunity in offering training surrounding the culture and dynamics of the industry in which your staff collects. Reach out to your telecom creditors and orchestrate a training opportunity by learning as much as you can about the peculiar dynamics of that vertical. By learning from your clients and partnering on education you can build a high level of understanding that will lead to enhanced collection success.
Call me. Write to me. Pull me aside at an industry meeting and tell me your story. Share the good, bad and the ugly. Continue to provide me with rich material for our readership.
We continually welcome thoughts and best practices from our readers. Feel free to send us your feedback for possible inclusion in a future column.
Harry A. Strausser III is the Director of Education and Membership Development at ACA International and can be reached at Harry can be reached at