It’s all about the payment behavior

An invoice does not automatically mean a paid invoice, because the predetermined due date is observed only for half of all invoices in Europe. As for suppliers, just because something is written on paper doesn’t mean it will be adhered to.

She has the best pushing behavior in the world Poland. It may come as a surprise to some, but we are annual سنوي Payment Study 2019 It clearly talks about global payment behaviour. Anyone who trades with Eastern Europeans can be sure of that on average 78.7 percent All bills will be paid on time. Globally, punctuality in payment transactions less than 50 percent.

They are second and third in Europe Holland and Germany with values 69.2 and 65.3 percent. In Germany, you can expect to pay two out of three bills on time. However, from a cash flow management perspective, it is important to note three-fifths Money comes late. In Germany 32 percent Payments reach the beneficiary with a maximum delay of 30 days. Larger delays occur in only two percent of cases.

The German debtor has demonstrated relatively stable reliability here over the past 10 years. The situation is completely different for the neighbors from Holland. The number of people making timely payments has improved by an incredible 30% since 2008. Perhaps anyone trading with Italy should insist on paying up front.

Late Payments – Small merchants pay on time

It is true that these are average values ​​across all industries, and therefore they do not speak much about individual companies. In principle, this is an important factor in calculating risk, because you can see the probability that cooperation with partners from certain countries will lead to payment flows in a timely manner.


Chart of payment behavior in Europe in 2018

If we only look at Germany, logistics and distribution often have trouble paying in time. Here, only 52.4 percent of bills are paid on time. The most accurate payers are those who buy goods from agriculture and forestry. Pay Payment delayed Only a third of the bills.

It is also interesting that SMEs in particular pay on time. Companies like to use their strong market position and let the payout period pass. Often this is based on a sober calculation: the “extension” of the payment period can have a significant positive effect on the cash flow of companies with several suppliers. At the same time, they are so important to their suppliers that they rarely risk taking countermeasures or even stopping deliveries.

Data from studies compiled by Bisnode in Germany also shows that companies in the retail, insurance and financial services sectors can hope for timely repayment, while in the hotel and restaurant sector, for example, debt management that works well from the start should be considered.

Do you want to reach – but to whom?

From the point of view of the most important export markets outside the EU, it is clear that Chinese companies still have problems with payment behavior. On average, only 26.3 percent are Chinese Borrowers pay on time. more than fourteen Percentage of buyers will be past due by More than 120 days.

It is especially troublesome when supplying tractors or seeds to Chinese companies. Nearly half of companies are paying “dangerously late,” according to market researchers.

On the other side of the Pacific, push sentiment is much better. American companies pay as late as German companies. About 93 percent of merchants pay on time or with a maximum delay of 30 days. Here, too, small businesses have the best pay spirits. The most accurate are investment offices, farms, and film studios. The situation is somewhat worse for suppliers of educational institutions.

How does the end customer pay?

Two years ago, Capital Business magazine’s issue of “Hesitance Instead of Numbers” came to the sad conclusion that most debtors who failed on the end-customer side can’t provide a real reason for delaying payments. The editors concluded that non-payment is no longer a stigma in society.

However, debt collection companies dealing with grim scenarios of default, fraud and private insolvency year after year have reaped the reward. If we look at developments in longer cycles, there appears to be a clear relationship between payment behavior and the economy. In 2016, the weekly Der Spiegel noted that Germans were paying better than ever. Then last year, the Federal Debt Collection Association saw a significant deterioration in morale. Germans are reluctant to pay on time, especially when ordering by mail and shopping online.

two years ago Market research institute Kantar TNS 3400 conducted a telephone survey of companies in 17 countries on behalf of EOS Financial Services. The results show that, on average, end customers behave better than business borrowers: 82% pay their bills on time in this country. Only the Danes are the most accurate, 85%.


For accurate cash flow forecasting, you should definitely realistically assess the payment behavior of customers, whether for B2B or B2C. This sometimes varies greatly from country to country. Poor payment practices worsen cash flow and increase the cost of ongoing financing.

However, the other side of the value chain must be viewed in the same way. How likely are failures on the part of the supplier, even if the goods have already been paid for or paid for on account? And what are the costs of such failures? The costs will be especially high if you rely on only one supplier. This single source tactic has the advantage that the organization is less demanding and better terms can be negotiated more often. However, the obvious drawback is the increased risk. These risks have a direct impact on your cash flow and ultimately on your company’s creditworthiness.

If you want to know how individual countries pay, download our study of payment behaviour:

Download the study

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