Services Services

Ludo Theunissen shares his latest insights in credit management

Kerstin Eder |

Ludo Theunissen is President of the Federation of European Credit Management Associations (FECMA), as well as Founder and President of the Instituut voor Kredietmanagement (IvKM), the Belgian association for credit managers. It was an honour to have this expert in the field of credit management, who has been recognised for decades, as a speaker for our Credit Management Expert Session in November 2023. We received very positive feedback from our guests, as they benefited greatly from his presentation and his contribution during the very lively discussion at this event.

We are therefore pleased to share with you some insights that he additionally recorded with us in a short video during the event. In it, he discusses the importance of international credit management, the key trends in insolvencies and payment behaviour, the new EU regulation on late payments, the ESG legal framework and the impact of AI in credit management.

We have summarised some of his insightful words on the various current topics for you below and you can watch on top the video to hear what he had to say in person.

Ludo Theunissen at R4CM Belgian Expert Dinner Session BEN

The photo shows, from left to right, Mohammed Merkachi, Corporate Head of GTM Own IP in Europe at SOA People, Tarek Bougroug, Corporate Director leading Cloud, Innovation & Products at SOA People, Ludo Theunissen, President at FECMA and President at IvKM, and Kerstin Eder, Marketing Manager at SOA People.

Challenges in international credit management 

When we do business with foreign companies, we have to rely on data from sources that are often different from those in our own country. Despite the fact that the European Union is harmonising its legislation, there are still some differences between the legislation of EU member states. In addition, payment cultures and payment behaviour differ significantly not only between EU countries, but also between countries around the world.

Trends in insolvencies and payment behaviour

During the recent crisis, insolvencies were kept low by all kinds of government measures. Many experts therefore expected insolvencies to rise again after the crisis, as a kind of compensation for the insolvencies that did not materialise. So far, we have not seen a massive increase in insolvencies. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that they will rise in 2024.

As far as payment terms are concerned, the situation cannot be described as good or healthy either. Many companies are taking the opportunity to impose longer payment terms on their suppliers. The fact that large and powerful companies in particular are using their suppliers to finance their working capital is a cause for concern.

New EU regulation on late payment

This new regulation has still not been approved and there is a growing opposition. However, I expect it to be adopted eventually.

The remarkable thing about this EU regulation is its severity. It prescribes a payment period of 30 days, without the possibility of negotiating longer payment periods between the parties. As a result, payment periods will be drastically shortened in some sectors such as retail and construction.

In addition, suppliers will no longer be allowed to waive their right to charge late payment interest on overdue payments. This will lead to an additional administrative burden in order to obtain a better overview of the conformity of incoming payments. This new EU regulation on late payment will therefore have a fundamental impact on credit management, credit management practices, payment structure and payment behaviour of companies.

ESG Legal framework

This new regulation introduces rules for reporting on environmental, social and governance measures that will have a major impact on companies' corporate strategy. Companies must not only comply with ESG measures, but also report on them. This applies not only to their own internal behaviour, but also to their customers and suppliers, for which companies must set up additional structures.

When assessing creditworthiness, compliance with ESG requirements must be taken into account, which can lead to the rejection of customers who do not comply with ESG regulations. Credit managers therefore need to know how to assess the ESG compliance of their customers and how this affects the outcome of the credit assessment.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in credit management

With the growing amount of new data, we have an increasing need of flexibility. AI will therefore be used more and more frequently. For example, we need to integrate new data for ESG into our credit ratings and we can optimise the collection processes to adapt them to the individual customers we need to process. The use of AI in credit management harbours great potential and will certainly have a major impact.


Interview with Ludo Theunissen, President of the Federation of European Credit Management Associations (FECMA) as well as Founder and President of the Instituut voor Kredietmanagement (IvKM), the Belgian association for credit managers.

Share this blog: