EOS survey shows that companies expect payment practices in Germany to get much worse

  • Financial experts see pessimism about payments as crisis indicator
  • German companies lag behind compared with other European countries when it comes to professional receivables management

Hamburg, Germany, September 9, 2019 – An economic slump increases the number of defaulting payers. Accordingly, 24 percent of the German companies polled expect a deterioration in payment practices in the next two years. A year ago, only 18 percent were this pessimistic. This is one of the findings of the representative survey “European Payment Practices” 2019, which was conducted by financial services provider EOS in 17 European countries. The survey shows that German financial experts are much more pessimistic than their European colleagues. Across Europe, only 15 percent predict a deteriorating level of payment receipts. For companies, a worsening in payment practices substantially increases the risk of insolvency and reduced profitability and can therefore reinforce a negative economic trend.

At the moment, customers have never paid so punctually: in Germany, 86 percent of invoices are being paid on time. The European average is 81 percent. It’s not likely to stay that way. “The growing pessimism is a further sign of an imminent significant economic slowdown,” says Klaus Engberding, CEO of the EOS Group. “And this trend is certainly dangerous, because every percentage point shift in punctual payments impacts the economy to the tune of billions of euros, and will unfortunately make things worse in a weak economic climate.”

Risks for Germany particularly high

Professional receivables management is all the more important for companies in Germany in particular, because once the payment term has expired, companies here have to wait another 22 days on average for their money, longer than in any other country in Western Europe. One reason for this is that German companies rely on professional support for their receivables management relatively rarely. Only 31 percent work with debt collection service providers, while in the rest of Europe the average is 42 percent. This is despite the fact that external collection professionals do substantially reduce the proportion of late or not fully collected receivables. According to the EOS survey, those German companies who did use external service providers for receivables collection in the last fiscal year had just under 10 percent of their revenue returned to them. “With a view to a depressed economic climate in particular or even a recession, companies should professionalize their receivables management to a greater extent to keep their cash flows stable in the event of a decline in the level of payments,” says receivables management expert Engberding.

Payment practices in Germany and the rest of Europe are improving…

  Germany Europe
  2019 2018 2019 2018

Receivables paid on time

86% 82% 81% 79%

Late or unrecoverable receivables

14% 18% 19% 21%


…but financial experts are expecting a reversal of this trend

  Germany Europe
  2019 2018 2019 2018

“Payment practices will generally/significantly improve in the next two years”

7% 10% 22% 24%

“Payment practices will generally/significantly deteriorate in the next two years.”

24% 18% 15% 13%

About the EOS Survey “European Payment Practices” 2019

In partnership with independent market research institute Kantar, EOS conducted phone interviews with 3,400 companies in 17 European countries to ask them about the prevailing payment practices in their respective locations. In the spring of 2019, 200 companies with an annual turnover of more than EUR 5 million in each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK answered questions about their own payment experiences and current issues relating to risk and receivables management. The annual survey has now been conducted by EOS no less than 12 times.

Downloads / further information

You will find the complete survey report and numerous infographics in the survey section of our website: Download now!

About EOS Group

EOS Group is a leading international provider of customized financial services. As a specialist in the evaluation and processing of receivables, EOS deploys new technologies to offer its some 20,000 customers in 26 countries financial security through smart services. The company’s core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. Working within an international network of partner companies, EOS Group has a workforce of more than 7,500 and over 60 subsidiaries, so it can access resources in more than 180 countries. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS is part of Otto Group.

For more information on EOS Group, please go to www.eos-solutions.com


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