The debt collection companies encourage good payment habits in society.

Payment habits are improving consistently in Europe and Bulgaria. This is indicated by the data from the representative survey on "Payment Habits in Europe" conducted by EOS in 2018, for the 11th consecutive year, in collaboration with the independent market research institute Kantar TNS. The survey covers 3,400 companies in 17 European countries.

In Bulgaria, the trend is similar - 76% of issued invoices are paid within the agreed-upon period (compared to an average of 78% for Eastern Europe and 74% for Bulgaria in 2017), 20% are paid with a delay (compared to 22% the previous year), and 4% are written off due to the impossibility of collection (the indicator shows no change compared to 2017).

In line with the overall European trend of improving payment habits, Bulgarian companies reported their best payment performance in the last 5 years in 2018. Despite the improvement, Bulgarian businesses still fall into the category of poor discipline - 25% of invoices issued to business partners are paid with a delay or not paid at all, compared to the European average of 22%. Other countries with a similar share of irregular payments are the United Kingdom (25%), Greece (27%), and Romania (27%), while Slovenia (30%) ranks at the bottom of the list. Citizens are more disciplined than businesses in this regard - an average of 19% of invoices are paid with a delay or remain unpaid (compared to 18% for Eastern Europe). A positive aspect for Bulgaria is that the study notes a delay in days below the European average (for both businesses and citizens) - Bulgarian businesses receive their payments with an average delay of 18 days after the due date, compared to 20 days delay for Europe.

Consequences of uncollected debts

Delayed payments from clients affect the financial health of companies: the main negative consequences are a decrease in profits (57%), higher interest expenses (47%), and lack of liquidity (47%). In 2018, the proportion of companies fearing extremely negative results increases - 26% of firms claim to feel threatened by bankruptcy due to overdue receivables, compared to the Eastern European average of 14%.

To compensate for the negative effects of uncollected debts, 27% of respondents limit investments, 25% of companies reduce staff or do not hire new employees, and almost a quarter increase the prices of their goods and services.

Significance of debt collection in Bulgaria

Companies find a solution to problems arising from delayed and written-off receivables by partnering with specialized debt management agencies - 44% of Bulgarian businesses use the services of external experts (an increase of 2 points compared to 2017).

The results are not delayed, and Bulgaria ranks first in Eastern Europe in terms of recovered revenues through collection companies - 11.1% of the companies' turnover has been recovered thanks to external debt management service providers. In this indicator, only Germany surpasses us in the whole of Europe.

"The effect of working with collection agencies is measured by improved business liquidity," comments Rayna Mitkova, Executive Director of EOS in Bulgaria. "These funds are returned to the economy, as companies use them to settle their own obligations (58%), create new jobs (48%), or for various types of investments - expanding market share (44%), research and development activities (33%), or financial market investments (26%)."

Business attitudes

European companies, as a whole, have a more positive outlook on the future than the previous year and remain cautiously optimistic about delayed payments. In all surveyed countries, the number of companies expecting a deterioration in payment habits in the future decreases (13% for 2018 compared to 19% for 2017). Bulgarian companies traditionally remain optimistic, with 32% of them expecting significant improvement in the next 2 years (compared to the Eastern European average of 27%). At the same time, 66% of respondents indicate that debt collection companies encourage good payment habits in society.

About the EOS Group's "Payment Habits in Europe" survey

The survey was conducted in early 2018 among 3,400 companies with an annual turnover of over 5 million euros in seventeen European countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Greece, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, France, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland. The surveyed companies were divided according to the type of their clients - citizens/end consumers (B2C) and business clients (B2B). The study has been conducted for the eleventh consecutive year on behalf of the EOS Group, in collaboration with the independent market research institute Kantar TNS (www.tnsglobal.com).

About the EOS Group

The EOS Group is one of the leading international providers of individualized financial services. The main focus of the group is debt management in three main business areas: debt collection, debt purchasing, and business process outsourcing. With over 7,500 employees and more than 60 subsidiaries, EOS offers financial security to around 20,000 clients in over 26 countries through flexible solutions in the B2C and B2B segments. More information about the EOS Group can be found at: eos-solutions.com.

In Bulgaria, the EOS Group has been present since 2002 and is currently represented by 2 subsidiaries - EOS Matrix Ltd. and EOS Services Ltd. The offered services include debt collection in the country and abroad, debt purchasing, training and consultancy in the field of debt collection, debt management software, and legal consultations. EOS Matrix is a co-founder of the Association of Debt Collection Agencies in Bulgaria.
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