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Treasury

Urgent need for cash puts pressure on accounts receivable teams

Machine learning powers new software that can help companies chase down overdue invoices and failed payments without driving customers away.

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The head of commercial banking at a large European lender gives Euromoney an unusual example of how it has been helping companies through the lockdown – not just extending overdrafts, granting repayment holidays or cutting account charges.

“We are a big company ourselves with lots of suppliers. We are adopting payment upon presentation of invoices. We need to keep these suppliers alive.”

Are the bank’s corporate customers doing the same? “This is bringing out some of the best behaviour and some of the worst that I have seen,” says the banker. “A number of big companies are accelerating payments to suppliers, but some tell us they are extending payment as long as they can to conserve their own cash, even if doing so hurts smaller companies.”

For suppliers, chasing overdue accounts receivable is now a fraught business, even for essential – but sometimes taken-for-granted – items such as software, IT and security services. 



We are astounded by how much pain there still is in the world of payments - Duncan Barrigan, GoCardless


Wholesalers and distributors today operate on shrunken volumes and thin margins.





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