INSIGHTS ¦ European Payments Report

Intrum

Summary

The 2024 European Payment Report by Intrum provides a comprehensive overview of the changing landscape of payments across Europe, underscoring the cautious optimism among businesses about future growth and the potential of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize back-office operations.

Key Points

  1. European economic recovery is slow, with modest GDP growth projected for 2024.
  2. Inflation rates have decreased from their 2022 peaks but remain above target levels.
  3. Significant optimism about AI’s role in enhancing efficiencies and business models.
  4. European businesses report outstanding receivables and loans amounting to €10.5 trillion.
  5. A slight reduction in the hours spent chasing late payments compared to the previous year.
  6. Concerns about geopolitical volatility and economic instability continue to impact strategic decisions.
  7. Businesses are still cautious, with many focusing on cost management and cash flow rather than aggressive expansion.
  8. Regulatory changes aim to improve payment discipline across Europe, with new mandates for 30-day payment terms.
  9. The adoption of AI in payment systems and back-office operations is seen as crucial for maintaining competitiveness.
  10. AI’s potential risks, including biases and decision-making transparency, remain a concern.
  11. Need for skills development and knowledge acquisition to leverage AI effectively highlighted.
  12. The report advocates for a balanced approach between leveraging new technologies and maintaining robust financial practices.

Key Statistics

  • EU GDP growth projected at 0.8% for 2024.
  • Inflation in the UK at 0.5% and the Eurozone at 2.4% as of March 2024.
  • Businesses are owed €10.5 trillion in receivables and loans.
  • Time spent chasing late payments reduced to 10.15 hours weekly.
  • 72% of businesses prioritise strengthening liquidity and cash flow in 2024.
  • 41% of businesses plan to expand domestically within the next two to three years.
  • AI adoption varies, with 57% of businesses conducting limited trials.
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Key Takeaways

  • Businesses must balance optimism with a realistic assessment of ongoing economic challenges.
  • Strengthening payment disciplines and adopting timely payment practices are crucial for maintaining financial stability.
  • AI presents both significant opportunities and risks; businesses must invest in capabilities to harness its benefits effectively.
  • Regulatory changes are shaping payment practices, requiring businesses to adjust their strategies accordingly.
  • Despite economic uncertainties, there is a strong drive among businesses to adopt digital transformations to stay competitive.
  • Understanding and mitigating the risks associated with AI and new technologies is as important as leveraging their benefits.
  • Strategic focus on cash flow and liquidity remains high among European businesses.
  • The potential for back-office innovation through AI could redefine competitive dynamics in many sectors.
  • Enhanced data analytics and personalised customer interactions through AI could significantly improve business operations.
  • Continuous learning and adaptation are essential for businesses to thrive in a rapidly changing economic landscape.
  • Collaboration and partnerships may be key in bridging the gap in AI knowledge and capabilities.
  • Businesses must consider ethical implications and strive for transparency in their adoption of AI technologies.


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