Acer has built a reputation over the years for the quality and reliability of its PC and service-centric portfolio offering that includes notebook and desktop PCs, servers and storage devices, LCD monitors and projectors, and tablets. Its products are sold through all relevant distribution channels in every country around the world, either directly or through intermediaries. To put the scale of its risk management task into perspective, Acer currently enjoys significant support through its insurer, which is reflected by Euler Hermes providing over EUR 3bn of credit lines for Acer’s customers.
Flexible Risk Model
Within the IT industry, businesses typically follow one of two risk management models: they either use credit insurance, or they adopt an in-house insurance strategy via a captive. Chris says that Acer is different: “We use a hybrid model,” he continues, “where we effectively share the risk with Euler Hermes.”
“This ‘risk participation’ approach gives us even greater flexibility and control over the risks that we take on, and especially enables us to look at higher risk levels where we believe the business opportunity is justified.”
Such an approach is indeed different, although almost everything about Acer challenges conventional thinking. Chris understands that the company’s accounts receivables are its greatest asset, and need to be protected. He also recognises how the sensible and prudent management of credit risk ultimately supports sales and profitable growth. He takes, therefore, both a proactive and reactive approach to his role: proactively, he is constantly analysing risk when taking on new business and projecting those risks against a potential future default; reactively, he is responsible for the company’s collections operation, following up on invoices that are raised and acting swiftly to resolve any disputes that may occur.
And he is succeeding: some 98% of all invoices generated are collected on time and only 2% are ever disputed. Of these, nearly all have been resolved within a very short timeframe of about three weeks. His DSO figure (net after transportation) is the envy of the industry, and a reflection of the high regard in which the credit team is held within the Acer organisation.