Amsterdam – The number of days that an invoice remains open will increase in the coming months, according to one in three finance professionals (32%). This is evident from a recent poll in The Netherlands by fintech company Onguard among more than 300 Dutch finance professionals. At the beginning of this year, expectations were very different: then only one in seven thought that the duration of outstanding invoices would increase. Finance professionals working in business services (45%) in particular expect an increase in the coming months.
One of the reasons that payment terms will increase is because half of the companies have taken leniency measures. In most cases (41%) the term is extended by default for all customers. 38% of finance professionals also state that the payment term is extended when contacted directly by a customer. One in three indicate that an extension of the payment term for vulnerable groups, such as self-employed workers, has been arranged. In other cases, for example, no additional costs are charged or debtors are called earlier to make an arrangement. These measures will in any case continue to apply to the majority of organizations (81%) until the end of 2020. Almost a quarter of the finance professionals (24%) are so satisfied with the leniency measures they believe they should be maintained.
Marieke Saeij, CEO of Onguard: “The corona crisis has hit many companies hard. It is nice to see that so many organisations meet customers. Nevertheless, taking leniency measures is not always the best solution. After all, it is a postponement of payment and not a cancellation. Outstanding invoices must ultimately still be paid. It is therefore important to recognise payment problems in a timely manner and to tackle them at the core. Intelligent tools in software can quickly detect these problems and enable personalised communication. Ultimately, it is up to the finance professional to contact the customer and look for a solution. This makes a customer feel understood and the chance of final payment is much greater. Understanding and empathy towards the customer is, even if a customer is unable to pay an invoice, is extremely important for maintaining the customer relationship. ”