Despite improving economy, UK businesses are not maximising available tools to improve financial management
Tinubu Square, a leading source of credit risk solutions for trade credit insurers and businesses, has today announced the findings of new research it has conducted with the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) into risk management operations across UK businesses. The findings reveal that despite the huge efforts made by UK businesses in the years following the financial crisis “reducing days sales outstanding” was still considered the area with the greatest need for improvement in their risk management operations at 24.3%.
Nearly two-thirds of credit managers, 64.3%, also stated that “reviewing existing processes” was one of the top two actions they were taking, or planning to take, to make improvements to their risk management operations. In second place was “improving cash-flow forecasting” at 24%.
The findings come as the ICM announces its ICM UK Credit Managers’ Index for Q4 2013, sponsored by Tinubu Square, with a headline ‘confidence index’ figure of 58.3. This is a rise of 1.3 points on the previous quarter and shows increased confidence amongst credit managers in the economic recovery that the UK is seeing. This optimism is reflected by UK GDP figures which saw a corresponding 0.7% rise during the same period.
Mike Feldwick, Head of UK & Ireland at Tinubu Square, said: “Credit managers are continuing to make the best use of the means at their disposal to control risk exposure and maximise profitable sales. Trade credit may well become more widely available in 2014, but it will still be crucial for businesses to exercise robust financial management and not to overstretch limits due to an improving market. Real-time information is an essential part of making financial management a success, you need data that reflects the real-world, in terms of your own financial position and those you trade with, to make decisions you can trust.”
In the survey, Tinubu Square asked credit managers from across the Institute of Credit Management two simple questions, the summarised responses to which can be seen below:
Where do you see the greatest need for improvement in your risk management operations?
- Connecting back office financial to front-line systems – 11.3%
- Gaining detailed intelligence on the credit worthiness of customers – 14.4%
- Minimising your exposure to risk – 23.3%
- Streamlining & simplifying credit management procedures – 13.2%
- Improving your value with a credit insurer or bank – 2%
- Having access to real-time data – 11.1%
- Reducing ‘days sales outstanding’ – 24.3%
What are the top two actions your organisation has taken, or plans to take in order to make these improvements?
- Provide real time access to financial data – 20%
- Improve cash flow forecasting – 24%
- Invest in a risk management platform – 9.2%
- Seek buy-in from the board – 7.6%
- Invest in technology to benchmark and track performance – 20.7%
- Review existing processes – 64%
The research was conducted in January 2014 by the Institute of Credit Management, Europe’s largest association for the credit management industry, amongst a panel of 500 UK credit managers.