Atradius Group has released a new
report on the payment practices of European businesses and the
protective measures they take to ensure accounts receivable are paid.
In cooperation with the Financial Times Germany,
Atradius Group interviewed 1,200 companies from Germany, Great Britain,
France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium to create the Atradius
Payment Practices Barometer, an ongoing study assessing the payment
behavior of domestic and international trade partners.
"Understanding the payment patterns of
potential European customers is of vital importance to companies
looking to expand overseas trade," says Scott Pales, a vice president
at the U.S. arm of Atradius Group. "Many European businesses routinely
take 60 days or more to settle their debts. The report also shows that
timeframes for payments to domestic and international business partners
are often different, and foreign businesses typically have to wait
longer to be paid."
According to the study, businesses in Germany and
the Netherlands have some of the best payment practices in Europe.
Businesses in Italy and Great Britain were found to take the longest to
fulfill obligations to international business partners.
Trade credit insurance is the primary method used
by businesses surveyed to protect against bad debts. Advance or cash
payments and internal or external collection companies were the next
most popular measures used to try to prevent late payments and avoid
accounts receivable losses.
"Atradius and the Financial Times will
continue to investigate the payment practices of European companies
within the framework of a study that will be released twice annually,"
says Pales. "We believe tracking and reporting on corporate payment
practices in these key European economies will help exporters more
prudently maximize sales opportunities."