Why Commercial Collection Agencies Should Become CLLA Certified

Find A CLLA Attorney

Find A CLLA Agency

Find A CLLA Professional

Strength, Knowledge, and Trust

Since 1975, CLLA’s Commercial Collection Agency Certification program demonstrates that certified agencies adhere to relevant regulations in the collection of commercial debt; use generally accepted accounting practices – and adhere to standards to protect and safeguard their clients’ funds. This program is endorsed by the International Association of Commercial Collectors (IACC).

CLLA certification is an additional voluntary process that requires agencies to earn the right to be recognized as industry experts. Meeting or exceeding the standard financial guidelines of this in-depth examination allows CLLA certified commercial collection agencies to run their financials correctly from every aspect, which means doing business with them will provide you with the trust you need to succeed.

Certified agencies can use their rigorous application screening as a measure of excellence when presenting to the credit community. In both the National Association of Credit Management and Credit Research Foundation, CLLA certification has been the Cadillac of the industry for over 40 years. A majority of all Request for Proposals ask, “Are you certified by the CLLA and/or are you a member of the CLLA?”. They ask because it means something and to be pass the certified test demonstrates your agency is one of the elites. After 40 years, the CLLA Certification is proven, and has the backing of the Commercial Law League of America and the International Association of Commercial Collectors, offering you the things that matter most – Strength, Knowledge, and Trust.

The CLLA Program is endorsed by The International Association of Commercial Collectors, Inc. To learn more, about IACC, please visit their website.

Standards & Requirements
Auditor's Procedures
Apply Now

The Benefits of Certification

Accepted by Credit Grantors

The number one question you want to know: “Is the CLLA Certification Program accepted by credit grantors?” The CLLA Certification Program has been in existence for more than 40 years and is accepted by the commercial credit granting industry – your customers.

A Fair, Objective, Cost-Effective Program

The CLLA/IACC Certification Committee and an independent third-party auditors, CliftonLarsonAllen, will review your application. If your agency meets the requirements, you will be certified and will be issued a Certificate of Compliance.


Differentiate Your Agency

A comprehensive CLLA Certification Program is widely accepted by credit grantors; and significantly sets your agency apart from its peers by showing your commitment to client and industry compliance requirements. Aligning your agency with a respected organization since 1895 provides additional credibility – at a time when the industry needs it most.

A Thorough, Respected Process

The goal of the CLLA Commercial Collection Agency Certification Program is to demonstrate that certified agencies adhere to relevant regulations in the collection of commercial debt, that the agency is using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or other accepted accounting principles, and adheres to standards to protect and safeguard its clients’ funds.

Standards & Requirements

Commercial Collection Agency Certification Program
CLLA Certified Collection Agencies have been independently audited by a third-party to confirm compliance with all relevant federal and state laws and
regulations governing the collection of debts, and in all jurisdictional registration and licensing requirements. They also maintain documented policies and
procedures consistent with all relevant federal and state laws and regulations governing the collection of commercial debts.

Valuable, Affordable Certification

The annual fees for the CLLA/IACC Commercial Collection Agency Certification Program are:

The CLLA Program is endorsed by the IACC. To learn more, about IACC, visit their website.

CiftonLarsonAllen LLP

Auditor’s Schedule of Procedures

CliftonLarsonAllen LLP will perform the following procedures for each agency (applicant) requesting certification.  The time period of the required procedures will be sent to each agency with their application for certification.  The agency is required to submit trust account records cover 50% or more of their trust activities.

  1. Trace the reconciled trust account bank statements to the financial statements for a predetermined selected month. If an agency has more than one trust account, we will test accounts comprising more than 50% of the agencies’ activities.
  2. Compare the reconciled balance in the trust accounts as of the predetermined selected month, to the total trust liability as recorded by the applicant on the application. If an agency has more than one trust account, we will test accounts comprising more than 50% of the agencies’ activities.
  3. From the deposit listing provided by the applicant, select 3 debtor payments and determined that the supporting documentation for the receipt, and the remittance paid to the creditor include the following and that the amounts presented by the member agreed to the support:

Apply Today for Certification

The CLLA Commercial Collection Agency Certification Program provides fair, objective, cost-effective certification – from the oldest creditors’ rights organization in the U.S.

  • Step 1: Click here to find out what documents need to be submitted during the application process.
  • Step 2: Click here to find out the scope of the on-site audit.
  • Step 3: Click here to download and fully complete the application form. Application forms must be returned via e-mail to info@clla.org.
    Applications cannot be accepted via fax, and an online application form is not available. Please include the required documents listed in step 1 with this application.
  • Step 4: Click here to download and complete and the payment form for certification. Fax the completed form to the following secure fax line: 847-584-3939.
    Payment forms cannot be accepted via e-mail. You can also call 312-240-1400 to pay by credit card.  

The CLLA Program is endorsed by the IACC. To learn more, about IACC, visit their website.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Certification Program

Q. Why should my company be certified?

For you and your company, CLLA Commercial Collection Agency certification:

  1. Provides recognition by a legal association that is well respected in the collections industry.
  2. Establishes credibility among your peers.
  3. Enhances your company’s professional reputation.
  4. Supports continued professional development.
  5. Demonstrates a high level of commitment to your profession.
  6. Demonstrates a certain level of knowledge and skill.
  7. Meets customer requirements.
  8. Provides recognition in CLLA’s quarterly magazine, the Commercial Law World.
  9. Allows the opportunity to exhibit at NACM’s annual Credit Congress.
  10. Meets the requirement for membership into the Credit Research Foundation.

For your customers, certification:

  1. Helps in identifying qualified companies from an independent Certification provider.
  2. Increases confidence in your company.
  3. Provides a framework for resolving disputes between agencies and their clients.
  4. Establishes credibility among commercial credit professionals.
Q. Can any collection agency become Certified?

An agency’s business must be commercial-related, has been in the business of collecting commercial claims for at least four (4) years as of the date of application and must meet all the requirements outlined in the Commercial Law League of America’s Collection Agency Certification Program Standards and Requirements.

Q. What is the annual fee for Certification and what does it cover?

The cost of Certification for CLLA members is $1,000 for agencies with 1 to 20 employees; $1,700 for agencies with 21 to 49 employees and $2,450 for agencies with over 50 employees. In general, the cost of Certification is all-inclusive including administrative fees, agency trade credit reports, auditing fees and marketing expenses.

Q. What is the Initial Certification Application Fee and what does it cover?

The initial Application Fee is $1,250 plus the Annual Certification Fee based on the agency size. This initial application fee shall be used solely to cover the costs of CLLA, the outside CPA Firm conducting a compliance audit, obtaining individual credit reports, individual background checks, an agency trade report, on-site visit and internal administrative costs.

Q. How often will you conduct an on-site inspection?

The on-site inspection is conducted the first or initial year of the Program and every fifth year after the last inspection. An interim on-site inspection may be required if there is a significant change in ownership or operations. There is an on-site inspection fee of $750.00 to cover the costs.

Q. What will you be looking for during an on-site inspection?

The on-site inspection will be reviewing such areas as accounting and payment processing, compliance, facility security, quality assurance, and sales and marketing activities.

Q. Is a Surety Bond required for Certification?

Yes, a surety bond is required to protect client funds based on gross contingency fees for theprevious year: $0 – $1,000,000, a $150,000 bond is required; $1 million – $5 million, a $300,000 bond is required; Over $5 million, a $500,000 bond is required.

Q. Will I be able to use the Certified Commercial Collection Agency seal once I’m certified?

Once you meet all Certification requirements and are certified, you are free to display the seal on your website and in your marketing materials. Agencies must recertify each year to continue to display the seal.

Q. Will the CLLA support and promote the Certification Program to credit grantors?

The CLLA is the oldest creditors’ rights organization in the United States. We have excellent brand recognition with credit grantors, and we will continue to market the importance of this Certification Program to credit grantors through advertising, public relations and trade show participation. In addition, we intend to provide certified agencies with materials they can use to promote their Certification.

Q. Am I guaranteed Certification by paying the Certification Program fee?

No. However, the CLLA Certification Program is fair and objective. Your application is not subject to a subjective review by your competitors. Nor is our Certification a “rubber stamp” for paying a fee.

The CLLA Certification Program includes clear and objective requirements. The requirements are uniformly applied and interpreted. You will know exactly what is required to be certified and what you need to correct if you do not initially meet the Program requirements.

The CLLA Program is endorsed by the International Association of Commercial Collectors. To learn more about IACC visit their website.

Q. Who will be reviewing my financial records?

The CLLA has overall authority and responsibility for the Program. Only the application will be confidentially reviewed by the Certification Committee. The CLLA has contracted with an outside CPA firm to perform independent, third-party compliance audits whose primary purpose is to review the required financial documents and perform agreed-upon procedures in accordance with attestation standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. All financial documents submitted to the outside CPA firm are held in strict confidence and will not be shared with anyone.

Q. How do I fulfill the continuing education requirement?

Most CLLA conferences offer Continuing Education Units (CEU) for the representatives of Certified Agencies. In addition, the CLLA will honor course attendance at the International Association of Commercial Collectors (IACC) events. Up to (3) three members of senior management, chief compliance officer, chief operations officer, director of operations, forwarding manager, or collections manager, including the Key Person, must attend a cumulative (10) ten hours of Continuing Education Units (CEU) per calendar year. These (10) ten hours may be comprised by: at least (5) five credit hours obtained at a CLLA meeting or CLLA qualified event, and up to (5) five credit hours at an IACC meeting.

Q. What is the IACC/CLLA Alliance?

In September 2014, the International Association of Commercial Collectors (IACC) entered into a strategic alliance with the Commercial Law League of America, endorsing the Commercial Collection Agency Certification Program. This alliance continues to be in place and in good standing.

Q. Who will be conducting an on-site inspection?

The CLLA has contracted with an outside inspection service to perform an independent, third-party onsite and verification service. The onsite inspections shall include, without limitation, verification of the applicable customer’s physical location and evaluation of security features.

Q. Will CLLA and IACC members have any input regarding the Certification Program or the marketing of the Program?

As a part of this strategic alliance with the IACC, a Strategic Alliance Advisory Committee (SAAC) has been created. This committee will be comprised of three IACC members and three CLLA members, as chosen by each association. The committee will be responsible for making recommendations regarding promotion and marketing of the Certification Program as well as providing input on education in support of CLLA and IACC meetings and events.

Q: How will the Certification Program be marketed?

The Agency Certification Program will have its own advertising fund, separate from the IACC’s or CLLA’s respective general operating funds, and will be marketed to the industry based on the consideration and recommendation of the Strategic Alliance Advisory Committee.

Q. Will I need to be a member of both IACC and CLLA?

Yes. If you wish to apply for Agency Certification your agency will need to be a member of IACC and one designated officer, manager or representative of the agency will need to be a member of the CLLA during the period of Certification.

Q. Are there any discounts for joining either IACC or CLLA?

A 20% discount on your initial dues is being provided by each association. If you are a member of IACC, but need to join CLLA, you will receive a 20% discount off your CLLA dues, and vice versa for those agencies that need to join IACC. Please Note: Annual dues beyond the initial membership year will be at the regular rate.

Q: Are the IACC meetings qualifiers for the CLLA Agency Certification Program?

Yes. The IACC meetings are considered CLLA-qualified educational events for the requirement of the Agency Certification Program. You may obtain up to (5) five credit hours per year at an IACC meeting.

Q. If I have any questions, who can I contact?

CLLA’s Executive Vice President, Phil Lattanzio, is your contact for any questions on the Certification Program. Mr. Lattanzio can be reached at 847-483-6477 or at phil.lattanzio@clla.org.

Become A Member

Membership provides an opportunity to connect with professionals in your field and promote your services to other industry members.

Being engaged, involved, active, and present makes all the difference. Network and make new business contacts. Keep your CLE requirements up-to-date and find out about pending legislation that could affect your daily work, before it goes into effect by joining the CLLA.

Start Growing Your Business

The largest annual gathering of the League, this 3-day action-packed event offers many networking opportunities to help grow your business, along with education, keynote speakers, and annual awards.

Legislative Advocacy

Thank you to all who attended and helped promote the CLLA in DC. Thank you to our generous sponsors. Click here to view photos from the event.

A Little Less Conversation and A Little More Education

Thank you for attending. We hope you enjoyed Southern Hospitality, BBQ, Blues, Elvis and education. Thank you to our sponsors... we could not have done it without you! Click for photos.

Contact Us

Contact Info

3005 Tollview Drive, Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008

+312 240 1400


Follow On