Le magazine du trésorier - n°66 - 2ème trimestre 2009 - (Page 21)
n early 2008, while the economic crisis was not yet acknowledged as one of the worst downturn ever seen, the amount of outstanding invoices through Europe was measured at around 250 billions Euros(1). Moreover, and if we look in the recent past years, the evolution trend for this figure appears to be an annual increase of about 10%. This analysis of the actual situation generates legitimate concerns for 2009 and 2010, leading to a core driver for the coming years: Process Optimization. Of course process optimization is a never-ending concept and may have sometime been associated with cost-cutting strategies and their downsides. Working Capital, on the other hand, is an area which, surprisingly, generally stays outside the focus of strategic developments, but where optimization can rapidly generate a high level of return after implementing non revolutionary improvement methods. Ineum Consulting, through numerous financial performance management missions, has also clearly identified the Working Capital Optimization as a “double return” investment with cash generation as short term bene- I fit and sustainable growth as long term benefit. The Working Capital is known to be the net calculation of liquid assets corresponding to the difference between current assets and current liabilities. In order to maintain business, firms must keep the Working Capital level positive and since every cent blocked within it represents that much of investment resource either improperly used, or funding to be obtained from other economical actors, it should be kept the closest possible to zero. Accounts Receivables, as part of the current assets, usually represent a very large part of the Working Capital, combining matters such as past dues, payment disputes, writesoff and bad debts and should be regarded as a strategic point to focus on, when aiming to optimization. For example Ineum Consulting has frequently observed that a major cause of dispute around invoice payment reside in incorrect client master data file maintenance in the case of billing address change or client name change leading to delays, re-invoicing, loss of invoices, etc…This is even more relevant when dealing with outstanding invoices flirting with bad debts. Eighteen months ago, the Mc Kinsey Quarterly(2) was stating for bad loans that “Companies that offers credit – Banks, retails group, utilities and many others – could reduce their write-off significantly by applying the same marketing expertise they use (1) Intrum Justicia European Payment Index 2008 (2) Mc Kinsey Quarterly, Best Practice for Bad Loans, Nov 07 FORUM OF ADVERTISERS 21 Working Capital Optimisation, A focus on billing and credit & collection management.
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Le magazine du trésorier - n°66 - 2ème trimestre 2009