Payment practices report

November 2020: cautious on credit but upbeat about 2021

Survey results for Greece

The Atradius Payment Practices Barometer is an annual survey that assesses business payment behaviour throughout the world. The survey explores a range of topics including payment terms, payment delays, credit sales and DSO (Days Sales Outstanding).

The survey provides us with the opportunity to hear directly from businesses and, this year, gives us insight into how businesses are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and global recession.

In this report, you will find the survey results for Greece.

Gerasimos Tzeis,

Country Manager of Atradius Greece, commented on the report

COVID-19 and the recession that followed have had a significant impact on economies throughout the world. Greece was not the exception. However, the country is well-placed for recovery next year, building on the strength of an upward economic trajectory.

Strong supplier-customer communications and relations have had a positive impact during the pandemic, an approach that is expected to continue next year.

In a culture that favours cash payments, there is still a degree of reluctance to carry the risks associated with trading on credit. As Greece starts to trade more on international markets, however, many businesses may benefit from expanding their credit policies and securing their receivables with strong credit management practices such as credit insurance.

Key takeaways

Greece leads region in amount of credit refusals

A greater percentage of businesses in Greece than anywhere else in Western Europe turned down requests for trade credit following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses offer longer payment terms to encourage domestic sales

35% of businesses try to encourage domestic sales with longer payment terms, slightly more than the regional av-erage of 32%.

Overdue invoices increase rapidly following onset of pandemic

Late payments in Greece increased to 48% of the total value of B2B sales (up from last year’s 28%). This represents an increase of 71% year-on-year.

More than half of businesses report cash flow difficulties

55% of businesses reported cash flow difficulties and had to take protective measures to contain operating costs and minimise liquidity shortages.

Businesses express optimism over improvement of customer creditworthiness

56% of respondents predict an improvement in customer creditworthiness compared to the regional average of 47%, suggesting a greater sense of optimism among businesses in Greece than their peers in Western Europe.

Overall trend for growth persists despite pandemic uncertainties

Over the past few years Greece has been enjoying a relatively strong economic recovery and an overall decrease in insolvencies. At the time of this year’s Payment Practices Barometer survey, although many businesses were experiencing cash flow problems, on the whole the country had not experienced such hard lockdown rules as some of its peers in Western Europe. Respondents to the survey reported greater confidence in their customers’ creditworthiness for 2021 than many other counties in Europe, and also shared a similarly positive outlook towards the do-mestic economy.

Comparing the results of this survey to previous years and also other countries in Europe provides an interesting insight. For example, Greece demonstrated a conservative approach to trade credit, turning down more requests for credit than businesses in other countries. This is unsurprising in a nation where cash is king and a large portion of business payments are still made in cash. And although more than half of the businesses we polled reported cash flow problems, a similar percentage said they expect their customers’ creditworthiness to improve over the next six months. The nature of the pandemic means that it is hard to predict what will happen next year, both in terms of the spread of Covid-19 and in the social and economic responses to it. However, despite this uncertainty businesses in Greece remain upbeat and expect the local economy to grow.

Overall trend for growth persists despite pandemic uncertainties

Over the past few years Greece has been enjoying a relatively strong economic recovery and an overall decrease in insolvencies. At the time of this year’s Payment Practices Barometer survey, although many businesses were experiencing cash flow problems, on the whole the country had not experienced such hard lockdown rules as some of its peers in Western Europe. Respondents to the survey reported greater confidence in their customers’ creditworthiness for 2021 than many other counties in Europe, and also shared a similarly positive outlook towards the domestic economy.

Comparing the results of this survey to previous years and also other countries in Europe provides an interesting insight. For example, Greece demonstrated a conservative approach to trade credit, turning down more requests for credit than businesses in other countries.

This is unsurprising in a nation where cash is king and a large portion of business payments are still made in cash.

And although more than half of the businesses we polled reported cash flow problems, a similar percentage said they expect their customers’ creditworthiness to improve over the next six months. The nature of the pandemic means that it is hard to predict what will happen next year, both in terms of the spread of Covid-19 and in the social and economic responses to it. However, despite this uncertainty businesses in Greece remain upbeat and expect the local economy to grow.

Greece: top 5 challenges to business profitability in 2021

Download the report

If you have any questions about protecting your receivables send us a message so we can try and address your specific needs.

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