Mon | 03.04.2017
1. Dear Alexandra, please introduce yourself shortly to our members.
I am currently Country Manager of ICAP Romania, one of the largest business information providers in Romania and the Balkans. My background is a combination of marketing, business analysis and PR, having working in several industries, among which advertising and IT hardware and software.
2. How important is to have a credit risk management strategy and how did the Romanian market evolved in the last years in this regards?
During the current global economic situation, credit risk management has become of vital importance. Financial and commercial information about clients can help with medium importance actions like personalizing the credit days, up to critical importance actions such as collecting money before others during an insolvency process. On the other hand, we have started to see an increase in credit risk assessments for suppliers as well. Romania is a highly competitive market and especially price sensitive in many industries. Therefore, the main suppliers have become very important, both from the point of view of finding the right one among a large variety of options and from the risk perspective for not delivering the product or service.
Generally, I would say that Romania has still a long way to go in assimilating and implementing organized and continuous credit risk asssessment processes, compared to Western European countries, especially among medium companies and outside the main big cities. For this reason, ICAP Romania undertook actions of informing and educating this part of Romanian businesses through trainings and payment behavior free programs (such as the ICAP Trade Exchange program).
3. Beside the creditworthiness, what other criteria should a company analyse when looking for business partners?
Beside creditworthiness, when looking for a business partner, companies should pay attention to the experience of the company on the market and the relations that it has with other companies. It’s always interesting to see the figures for the investigated company, but it’s the same important that for example shareholders own a few other bankrupt or insolvent companies.
4. Which are now the most vulnerable industries in terms of insolvency?
Commerce, Constructions and Manufacturing industry. The insolvent companies from commerce are still on the first place, representing 31% of the total insolvent companies in Romania even if they recorded a 24% decrease from 2015. Constructions remain a risky industry as it was the past years, representing 14% of the total insolvent companies in Romania and manufacturing remains at 11%.
5. You mentioned in an interview that information gives one power only if it’s structured. In a knowledge-driven economy this is for sure very important. Can you share with us some details?
Unstructured data can only create frustration. Nowadays, the problem that many companies face is too much data. So structuring this large volume of data is the first step in finding how to use them efficiently. Each business uses the data in a slightly different way so the data must be structured in as many detailed categories as possible, in order to allow easy changes of strategy, retargeting and re segmentation of the market.
6. In May, ICAP will organize its 8th Annual Credit Risk Management Conference in Bucharest. Please tell us more details about this important event.
ICAP has been organizing the Annual Credit Risk Conference since 2010 in Romania and Bulgaria and since 2008 in Greece. This year, the Credit Risk Conference takes place on May 23 at the Marriott Hotel in Bucharest and at the event we will ensure a diverse and engaging content on the most critical subjects of Credit Risk Management, as well as the power of data in managing risk.
The 2017 conference brings forward answers to fundamental questions:
* How can a business become more profitable in Romania and abroad?
* How can companies and financial institutions mitigate the risk they encounter in their everyday operations?
* Which is the local and international perspective on the evolution of businesses in 2017 and the outlook for 2018?
Keynote speakers from Romania and abroad will provide useful information, provoking discussion and reflection on Credit Risk issues. Some of the speakers are mentioned below and the full agenda of the event is available here:
* Lukasz Olszewski, Head of Business Development Central & Eastern Europe, Turkey and Greece, Standard an Poor’s Global Ratings
* Eric D. Dowdell, Global Head of Trade Credit, Dun & Bradstreet
* Daniel Anghel, Partner, Tax Services, PWC
* Valentin Lazea, Chief Economist, NBR
* Ana Boata, Macroeconomic Economist and Country Risk Research, Euler Hermes Europe
This exchange of ideas and the dialogue developed during the Conference in regards to concrete practices for the reduction of Credit Risk, will be the starting point for future action plans. We are welcoming all our partners and interested parties to join us in this year’s conference.
7. ICAP is also providing services related to People Solutions, Executive Search. Finding the right people and keeping them motivated is challenge for many companies nowadays. How do you tackle this, as an employeer and HR services supplier?
Indeed it’s a challenge to find and keep the right people nowadays, in many industries. We have adapted ourselves to the new market conditions by doubling the number of recruiters and also by using several techniques and assessments to find faster the right candidates (both for ICAP and for our clients). I believe that at this moment, there is a lot more work to do so for each open position, thus making the process more time efficient is key.
8. Speaking about the future now– what are ICAP’s plans for the upcoming year?
ICAP Romania is already one of the largest and most popular business information and credit risk provider on the Romanian market. We intend to keep this position and also strenghten the international services that we offer to our clients through the exclusive partnership with Dun and Bradstreet, more specifically financial and commercial information for companies from over 220 countries in the world. There are still many services that are little known on the Romanian market and that could help companies export or import profitably and also acquire a better image towards partners and investors.
9. In the end, please a thought for the NRCC members.
2017 will be again a challenging year, surely more interesting than 2016. With the new fiscal changes and the political blurry background, companies should try to secure their cash and improve the flow of incoming money. Risk management is a big part of this process and ICAP is proud to be part of the success of its more than 1500 clients in Romania.