Do I Need to Use a Collection Agency?

Founded by Tim Turner nearly 25 years ago, Summit A*R (Summit Account Resolution) is a full-service accounts receivable management company headquartered in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Having done similar work for other companies, Tim felt the industry needed a different approach and that he could create a team that would believe in this vision.

Prior to joining Summit A*R, Brent Anderson had extensive experience working for and managing commercial collection agency operations and joined the Summit A*R team because he believed in the unique approach and culture that they were developing. Its current primary focus is assisting companies with their unpaid accounts receivable and non-performing assets. Their expertise includes developing specialised teams that support unique client challenges more cost-effectively than their own in-house methods could offer. Their committed and professional long-term employees and a process that has been refined over many years, coupled with leading-edge technology have created a stable of very satisfied blue-chip company clients in addition to many smaller companies that don’t have the resources available to bigger companies to manage their A/R process.  

Below we caught up with the company’s President Tim Turner and its Vice President and Director of New Business Brent Anderson to hear about the advantages of using a collection agency and the unique benefits that it offers.

What are the benefits of using a collection agency?

One of the main advantages of using a collection agency is simply getting PAID. In many instances, using a third party to collect your money is the difference between getting paid or not. This speaks to the most basic human instincts. The feelings change for the debtor when an agency gets involved. It seems to appeal to most people’s sense of urgency. Additionally, using an agency frees you and your staff to do the things that are important to your core mission. You have been serving and possibly building relationships with your clients and having to “pivot” to being a collection agent for your past-due receivables is probably not at the top of your list.

Using a collection agency that acts as a good partner will also preserve your brand and image through the entire process. A wise agency will work hard to preserve the relationship with your customer and client. It is not in the best interest of anyone involved if the collection agency burns your bridges.

What’s your advice to people, considering the current uncertain financial environment?

The more general advice we were all given (or should have been given) by our parents and grandparents is truer than ever, given the current uncertainty in our current business climate. Ideas such as living at or beneath our means, having a savings cushion to cover unexpected expenses (or changes in circumstances) and to be wary of making long-term commitments or taking on unnecessary debt burdens that don’t positively impact revenue. Lastly, scrutinising all expenses in order to justify them is more important now than ever. These all relate to running companies in today’s environment where there are many unknowns. Erring on the side of kindness in all your dealings always helps as well!

Using a collection agency that acts as a good partner will also preserve your brand and image through the entire process.

In what ways has the pandemic affected your company?

Summit A*R did experience a drop in placement dollars during the earlier stages of the pandemic. We maintained communication with our clients advising them of our status and capabilities during that time. We continued business as usual apart from the work-from-home arrangements that needed to be made. Luckily, this was not difficult for our IT department. We had very little downtime.

Happily, we’ve seen an uptick in placements and the payments have been coming in steadily. We do expect to see a bit of a surge in bad debt due to the pandemic, as would be expected. So far, we have not noticed a decrease in the liquidity of the accounts we service. Often, when our economy produces a greater volume of debt, it can be less collectable. Luckily, that has not been the case so far.

What differentiates Summit A*R from your competitors?

We have a couple of key differences that separate us from similar collection related companies in our industry. First, a proven track record – we have a 25-year history of doing the right thing which is evidenced by our impeccable compliance record in addition to our ever-growing list of clients that have been with us for many years. We feel that we’re known as the agency to use when you need things done ethically and legally. Our mission statement that hangs on our walls (and our website) details what we believe in and how we are committed to always doing what is right. We have also pioneered the “PhD philosophy” when it comes to collections. This philosophy of always “Preserving Human Dignity” ensures we are always protecting our clients’ reputations.

Second, our employees are all long-term professionals committed to our mission which means our breadth of industry knowledge is far greater than other less tenured companies.  Our collectors each have had at least 10,000 hours of experience before joining Summit A*R. Third, our technology provides us with the ability to provide our clients with literally any piece of data, report or insight that they need to make their key business decisions. Our larger clients often rely on us to provide them with the insight they need to make crucial business decisions regarding their revenue cycle process.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

Summit A*R has always strived to be the mid-sized “boutique” agency that services both the Fortune 100 company as well as the smaller private company. We will continue to be highly selective about what we service and refine the services we offer. Our goal is to be the trusted source for the creditors who need their accounts handled with personal attention. Day to day, we will continue to maintain our mission and impeccable compliance record into our next 25 years and beyond. Lastly, our goal is to be nominated and win “Top Ten Agencies to Work For” in our industry trade magazine!

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