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After a short decline in 2018, the number of bankruptcies is on the rise again. It’s an international trend of which, in 25 percent of the cases, outstanding debts are the main culprit. To protect your business from economic failure, it is vital to keep up the pace of timely payments – or to buy yourself some extra breathing room in the form of Euler Hermes Trade Credit insurance.

It is no secret that bookkeeping can be quite challenging at times. The multitude of rules and complex procedures make accounting quite a challenge and late payments from your clients only aggravate the situation. It costs time, effort and money to gather outstanding invoices, not to mention the cash flow disruptions that come with non-payment. When your clients are late payers or, worst-case scenario, go bankrupt, this could have serious consequences for your own ability to pay your suppliers as well as other debts.

The following numbers zoom in on Belgium, but represent a worldwide tendency caused by the global deceleration of growth:

4,000 companies filed for bankruptcy within the first 5 months of 2019 in Belgium In 2018, 18,000 jobs were directly lost as a result of 10,714 bankruptcies 15% rise of bankruptcies in Brussels (in 2018)
3.17% more closures compared to the same period in 2018 The hospitality, construction and retail industries are the top 3 hardest-hit sectors 80% of all companies grant credit to their customers

One way to shield your business – and those of your partners – from this downward spiral is through credit insurance. It allows for investment and growth while simultaneously keeping your working capital stable. Solid insurance guarantees you secure payment at a fixed point in time. This helps reduce the risk of non-payment. In any event, the creditor will be compensated for its losses, allowing it to engage in future business in peace. On the debtor’s side, insurance will urge caution and compliance.

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Lack of communication between customer and supplier is the root cause of tension surrounding payments and unpaid invoices. In the vast majority of cases, late payment of an invoice is the result of a customer’s cash flow problems. However, customers will typically adopt an insular stance as they feel something akin to shame. They don’t want their cash flow problems to become common knowledge, so they “play dead” and don’t answer calls or reminders from suppliers. But the opposite stance should really be adopted. It is never pleasant for management to have bad debts. It is not something they consciously choose. If they find themselves in such a position, it is often because they have no way of settling an unpaid invoice in compliance with the initial payment terms accompanying the order.