Asiakastieto begins to document additional information about the effects of the coronavirus epidemic on companies’ payment default entries. This way, the credit information provides a more comprehensive picture of the causes and duration of the insolvency.
The coronavirus epidemic and the measures to limit its effects have in many ways made business difficult in many sectors. Even the viability of companies that were in good shape before the epidemic is threatened by the stagnation of cash flow, and weaker companies are losing money even faster.
“It is important to act decisively now to prevent as many bankruptcies and business closures as possible due to temporary insolvency. When we eventually can remove the restrictions, we need every company to minimise the damages of the recession,” says Jukka Ruuska, the CEO of Asiakastieto Group.
So far (in the beginning of April), the coronavirus epidemic is not reflected in the number of bankruptcy petitions in Finland, but Ruuska predicts that corporate insolvency will become more widespread in the near future. Asiakastieto closely monitors the situation and reports weekly on, for example, bankruptcy petitions and other fast-track data.
“We are very concerned about the situation. We understand that our credit ratings and individual credit data entries play a major guiding role in corporate decision-making. It is our responsibility to ensure that all companies have comprehensive, reliable information at their disposal to identify and manage the risks related to their suppliers, subcontractors and customers. Knowledge is the cornerstone of trust,” Jukka Ruuska continues.
Payment default information is crucial for credit decisions
In Finland there have been discussion, even demands for the Credit Data Act to be amended so that SMEs would not be registered for payment defaults if they were caused by the coronavirus. According to Asiakastieto, such a change would jeopardise the functioning of the corporate financial system.
“In this situation, for example, the insolvency of a restaurant or a hotel may be temporary due to the suspension of operations by a government order. However, creditors need to be informed if this temporary cash flow interruption causes the company to be unable to pay its bills,” Jukka Ruuska analyses.
“If the creditor or invoicer does not have up-to-date and as comprehensive information as possible, a financing decision might not be made at all. We should rather increase transparency. When the decision-maker has access to the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available, they can make informed decisions. It is in the interests of companies and entrepreneurs.”
Asiakastieto takes exceptional conditions into account in payment default entries
Asiakastieto Group is preparing a change in its registry in Finland enabling it to add a note to corporate payment default entries over a period of time to indicate if the insolvency is related to the coronavirus epidemic.
“The introduction of an additional note strengthens confidence and broadens the knowledge base on which corporate credit decisions are made in the future. We are currently building a channel for companies to let us know if the payment default is due to the coronavirus epidemic,” says Jukka Ruuska.
Additional information on the reasons for payment defaults can be added to any types of corporate payment default entries.