In the streets of Paris, cafes bustle with conversations about politics, art, and lately, the state of the economy. Amidst the whiff of freshly baked croissants, another aroma lingers: the subtle scent of financial anxiety. As France grapples with the aftershocks of global events, businesses find themselves in a peculiar position, especially when it comes to credit.

Once considered a routine part of doing business, extending credit to trade partners in France has evolved into a high-stakes game. Businesses are increasingly contending with longer payment terms. In fact, the average payment period has stretched to 53 days, significantly longer than the traditional 30-day norm. This extension reflects a broader shift in the French economy, characterised by the impact of global disruptions and local political decisions.

But what does this mean for businesses on the ground? The answer is clear: collections have never been more critical. Ensuring that invoices are paid on time has become both an art and a science. The challenges of the modern economic landscape require a nuanced approach to collections, one that melds digital innovation with the age-old power of relationship building.

Here’s the crux of the matter: while longer payment terms might ease immediate pressures on buyers, they can strain supplier relationships and threaten the financial health of businesses that don’t have robust collections processes in place. And, as state-guaranteed loans become a double-edged sword, the risk of default grows.

For businesses in France, navigating this terrain demands a sector-specific approach. Different industries face distinct challenges. The hospitality sector, for example, has been hit hard by the pandemic and political unrest, leading to a spike in insolvencies. On the other hand, France’s tech startups, bolstered by a supportive ecosystem, offer a brighter picture, with fewer defaults. Recognising these differences within the broader macroeconomic context is key.

It’s not just about chasing overdue payments. Collections in this new era are about understanding your customer’s position, offering flexible solutions, and leveraging digital tools to streamline processes. Businesses need to be proactive, anticipating challenges before they arise and addressing them in a manner that balances financial prudence with empathy.

Navigating the multifaceted economic landscape of France requires an in-depth understanding. From the ripples of the Russia-Ukraine conflict to the ever-present spectre of inflation and the complexities of energy prices, the challenges and opportunities are abundant. But how does one manoeuvre through these challenges and harness the opportunities?

For a comprehensive analysis, insights, and guidance tailored specifically for Credit Managers, consider the latest “France Spotlight 2023” report. This meticulously curated document delves deep into the current economic status of France, offering a thorough examination of market trends, political shifts, and their implications on trade credit decisions.

The French saying, “C’est la vie,” or “Such is life,” captures the essence of acceptance in the face of unpredictability. But when it comes to trade credit in France, acceptance isn’t enough. Businesses need strategy, foresight, and adaptability. As France’s trade credit environment continues to evolve, those who master the art of collections will not only survive but thrive, turning challenges into opportunities.


Chris Snelson, CFO, Baker Ing International 


🔗 Download “France Spotlight 2023” Here: