Collecting on Past Due Accounts

  By Judy Collins  |    Sunday November 27, 2022

Category: Columns, Expert Advice


Dear Just Ask Judy:

“I am getting concerned with some past due accounts. When should I take collection action?”

       Anxious in Atlanta


Dear Anxious in Atlanta:

Collections issues are becoming ever more common in today’s tumultuous market. With many firms struggling to stay solvent, slow-paying or non-paying clients is a significant problem confronting search and staffing firms. The question you posed should be addressed firmly and promptly.

To learn what would be the best approach to solving this problem I spoke with Wilson Cole, Founder and President of Adams, Evens & Ross. AER is recognized as the nation’s largest credit and collection agency designed exclusively for the staffing and recruiting industry.

Wilson offered some “rules of thumb” on when you should turn over an account to collections: 


When they say they will not pay you.  When you hear these words, you should immediately refer the account to collections. Under no circumstances should you beg to be paid or offer to discount your invoice. The client does not want to pay you and will still not pay you even at a discount.


Before the account hits 90 days past due. Starting collections action before an account hits 90 days past due improves the chances of collecting. Statistically, accounts 30 days behind eventually pay 98% of the time; accounts that hit 60 days past due pay 92% of the time; but once an account reaches 90 days the chances of you getting paid drops to 74.9%. 

Wilson noted that if you refer an account to collections before the account reaches 90 days, the account is fully collected about 97.1% of the time. For a collection fee of about 20% you can collect more of your accounts and reduce your overall collection costs.

I am grateful to Wilson for taking his time to help us answer your question. I encourage you to reach out to him with any questions you have. You can reach Wilson via Email at or by phone at 800-452-5287, ext. 6578.

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