German companies wary of artificial intelligence

  • EOS survey shows fear of job losses due to AI
  • Across Europe, German decision-makers are the least likely to trust AI
  • Potential in receivables management, for example, is being untappe

Hamburg, November 5, 2019 – 30 percent of financial executives in Europe believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will drastically reduce the error rate in receivables management. Only 12 percent of their German peers share this opinion, putting them clearly at the bottom of the European rankings. 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. More than a third of the managers polled in Germany consider the issue of AI to be completely overrated. Accordingly, just 6 percent look forward to working with AI. In all other countries, decision-makers are much more optimistic about this cutting-edge technology: 18 percent cannot wait to work with AI. However, in respect of the transformation potential of AI, German executives have similar views to their other European colleagues: 41 percent of Germans think that jobs in their area are at risk due to AI (average for Europe 47 percent).

AI – job killer or helpful support?

It seems logical for German managers to be slightly less worried about the threat to jobs, given that they tend to underestimate the potential of AI to improve things in their area compared with specialists in other countries. “This could be an expensive miscalculation, because it means that the potential of AI is being untapped,” says Jakob Spitzer, Head of Analytics & Data Governance at EOS Deutscher Inkasso-Dienst. Spitzer and his team are working on AI solutions that provide support with receivables management. “My experience is that the more our colleagues engage with the topic, the clearer the enormous potential of AI becomes. Because when you use AI tools it quickly becomes apparent that they help you do your own job and create new opportunities.”

So at EOS, for example, AI-supported software is designed to help collection agents choose the most promising method of contacting the defaulting payer. In this context one of the things the system does is to suggest the type of individual approach, whether by letter, phone call or SMS, that is most suitable for the respective circumstances. This allows the collection agent to process the case much faster.

Denmark vs. Germany 32 : 4

Danes have already recognized the great potential of AI: 32 percent of the decision-makers polled in Denmark were prepared to rely completely on artificial intelligence in receivables management. The European average is 19 percent and in Germany just 4 percent. Jakob Spitzer: “Those who are less wary of innovations will be quicker to tap into their potential. As one of the leading companies in receivables management we rate the potential of AI as very high.”

German companies more skeptical than their European neighbors

  Germany Europe

“I can well imagine relying completely on artificial intelligence.

4% 19%

“I can’t wait to work with artificial intelligence in receivables management.”

6% 18%

“The use of artificial intelligence in receivables management puts jobs at risk.”

41% 47%

“Artificial intelligence will be a trending issue in receivables management in the next two years.”

20% 30%

“Artificial intelligence is just a buzzword and is completely overrated.”

36% 36%


About the representative 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 (each 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

Please find more information on our study website.

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.

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