• Bulgaria ranks second in Europe for business turnover recovered as a result of partnership with debt recovery specialists
  • Record high levels of regular payments in Bulgaria and Europe
The positive trend this year reaches a kind of record for regularly paid invoices (81% on average for Europe). These are the findings of the representative survey conducted by EOS "Payment Habits in Europe" 2019, conducted for the 12th consecutive year in collaboration with the independent market research institute Kantar TNS, covering 3400 companies in 17 European countries.

Bulgaria follows this positive trend - 77% of issued invoices are paid on time (compared to an average of 79% for Eastern Europe and 76% for Bulgaria in 2018), 19% are paid with a delay (compared to 20% the previous year), and 4% are written off due to the inability to collect them at all (the indicator shows no change compared to 2018).

In line with the overall European picture in 2019, Bulgarian companies report their best payment performance in the last 6 years. Despite the improvement, Bulgarian businesses are still classified in the group with poor discipline - 23% of invoices issued to business partners are paid with a delay and/or not paid at all (compared to the European average of 19%). Other countries with a similar share of irregular payments are Greece (23%), Romania (22%), and the United Kingdom (21%).

Bulgarian citizens traditionally remain more disciplined compared to businesses - 18% of their invoices are overdue (compared to the Eastern European average of 16%), while businesses in Bulgaria delay payments or do not pay at all for 25% of issued invoices (compared to the Eastern European average of 21%). Although both indicators lag behind Central European levels, payment discipline among citizens visibly improves in 2019 - their delay decreases by 1 point compared to the previous year, while for businesses, it remains the same.

The days of delay among citizens also decrease (from 15 days to 14 days for 2019), while for businesses, the trend is reversed - business clients have to wait for their money 2 days longer (from 19 to 21 days for 2019).

Consequences of uncollected receivables

Delayed payments from customers affect the financial health of companies. The main negative consequences are: reduced profits (58%), lack of liquidity (48%), and higher interest expenses (47%). The trend persists that almost every fourth company in Bulgaria feels threatened by bankruptcy due to uncollected receivables - 24% (compared to 26% in 2018), with an average level for Eastern Europe of 16%.

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

Business attitudes

"Bulgarians traditionally remain more optimistic than the average for Europe regarding the future," comments Raina Mitkova, manager of EOS for Bulgaria.

"It is good to be more cautious against the backdrop of global economic perspectives - the situation between the USA and China, adjusted forecasts for Germany and Italy regarding expected growth, Brexit, etc. We are already witnessing a slowdown in the growth of the European economy, and the risks are interconnected and can lead to a decline in global trade and production."

In this context, Raina Mitkova adds: "Debt collection helps maintain trust in business and contributes to the stabilization of the economy. The effect of working with debt management companies is measured by improved business liquidity and an increase in the labor market. The funds collected by specialists are returned to the economy, as businesses use them to settle their own obligations (57%), create new jobs (51%), or for various types of investments - expanding market share (43%), research and development (27%), or financial market investments (23%)."

Payment methods and digitization

The digitization of business processes in Europe is expected to develop further. Only 49% of companies indicate that they have a high or very high level of implemented technologies. Regarding debt management processes, only 17% have achieved full automation.

Europeans remain traditionalists regarding payment methods, with the most popular being bank transfer, offered by 81% of companies. Next are direct debit (69%) and advance payment (50%). Only 28% of companies offer modern digital payment methods such as online transfers through external providers (23%), mobile payments (7%), and cryptocurrencies are rarely used as a means of payment (1%).

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

The study was conducted in early 2019 and includes 3400 companies 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 are divided according to their types of clients - citizens/end consumers (B2C) and business clients (B2B). The study has been conducted for the twelfth 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 group's main focus is on debt collection, debt purchasing, and business process outsourcing. With over 7,500 employees and more than 60 subsidiaries, EOS provides 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 services offered include debt collection in Bulgaria and abroad, debt purchasing, training and consulting in the field of debt collection, debt management software, and legal consultations. EOS Matrix is a co-founder of the Association of Collection Agencies in Bulgaria.
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