Europe’s Health Care Sector hit hard by late payments

European businesses are forced to write off a record € 340 billion, or 2.8 % of all transactions, due to late or non payment, which deprives them of funds that could be used to create more jobs, invest in research and development and boost competitiveness by expanding into new markets. Intrum Justitias annual survey among 8 000 European businesses shows that in Europe as a whole €340 billion is written off as bad debt, equivalent to 2,8 % of all business transactions made in 2011.

Professional Services write off as much as 4.2 % of all transactions while Utilities only write of 1.8 per cent. The Health Care sector is among the hardest hit both in absolute and relative terms with a 3.4 per cent write off, up 20 per cent from previous year. However, some industry sectors are being hit harder than others in recessionary Europe as the EPI 2012 Industry White Paper from Intrum Justitia reports. One worrying development spotlighted in the survey is the level of late and non payment impacting the Health Care industry. Write offs have risen to an average 3.4% in the health care industry in 2012 compared to just 1.8% in 2008.

“Our survey shows that it’s not consumers who are the latest to pay their bills to the Health Care sector, but the governments themselves. On average the public pay within 40 days and public entities wait as long as 65 days. One would expect that governments and public entities set a better example  ” says Lars Wollung, CEO and President of Intrum Justitia

The EPI 2012 White Paper reveals how slow or lax the health care industry is when it comes to getting paid for services and products delivered. For example, the Intrum Justitia survey shows that 45% of invoices are not paid within 30 days. Although the survey showed more respondents were handing over their late payments for collection by a professional partner, the industry as a whole was still waiting an average 105 days after the invoice due date before resorting to such action. The problem is that all the evidence shows that the longer one waits to seek payment, the chances of success decrease fast over time.

”Although the picture painted in our report may seem grim there are measures companies can take to protect themselves. There is a lot that can be done to help the businesses in boosting Europe. We see that businesses that know their customers and implement efficient credit policies get paid earlier and have to write off a smaller percentage off sales, Lars Wollung concludes.

 

About the European Payment Index 2012 Industry White Paper

The survey was conducted simultaneously in 28 countries earlier in 2012. The survey was conducted in written form and almost 8,000 companies responded. This is the seventh year that Intrum Justitia has run the survey.

Intrum Justitia is Europe’s leading Credit Management Services (CMS) group, offering comprehensive credit management services, including Purchased Debt, designed to measurably improve clients’ cash flows and long-term profitability. Founded in 1923, Intrum Justitia has some 3,300 employees in 20 markets. Consolidated revenues amounted to SEK 4 billion in 2011. Intrum Justitia AB is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm since 2002. For further information, please visit www.intrum.com

Majority of people believe cash set to become extinct

Nearly a third (30%) of the UK public have been inconvenienced in the last year by a retailer not taking cards, according a new YouGov survey conducted for small business payments specialists CardSave. The poll indicates that retailers that refuse to accept cards are losing out to modern consumers, who carry hardly any cash.
In fact, 16% of people have walked out of a shop in the past year without making their intended purchase because the retailer didn’t accept cards, while 22% have been forced to leave to seek out a cash point. 7% have purchased less than they intended to due to retailers’ only accepting cash.
The survey shows that the days of carrying large amounts of cash are over. 62% of people carry £20 or less in cash on them on average. 48% carry £15 or less and 35% carry up to £10. Yet almost everyone (93%) carries a credit or debit card.
According to CardSave’s own Small Business Payments Index, which launches today and is compiled from card payments data for over 40,000 small businesses, the average card transaction at small, independent merchants in February was for £64.27. This splits into averages of £96.56 on credit card and £54.14 on debit card. With only 12% of the population carrying £50 or more in cash, retailers who do not accept cards are therefore likely to be missing out on high-value customers.
A majority of the public, 57%, believe that cash will become extinct at some point in the future – with 50% predicting that this will be by 2035. 36% forecast that this will be by 2025.
Clive Kahn, Chief Executive of CardSave, which enables small businesses to accept payments more easily: “The days when consumers wanted to pay by cash are over. They increasingly expect to pay by card for everything – from small shops to tradespeople such as painters and window-cleaners.
“Small businesses benefit significantly from accepting cards, winning more business, making larger sales and maintaining their competitiveness against major retailers.”
The YouGov poll coincides with the first ever Small Business Payments Index by CardSave on expenditure on cards at SMEs in each sector of the economy over the past year. The most significant changes in February 2012 (compared to February 2011) in average amounts spent include the following:
·         Average spend on home improvements was up 32%, from £169.37 to £233.10
·         Spending on bicycle sales and servicing was up 10% from an average of £69.89 to £77.07.
·         Restaurants, pubs and bars saw a 9% decrease in the average transaction value from an average of £32.59 to £29.66.
·         Average card spend on taxis, cabs and limos was also down 8% from £112.24 in February 2011 to £103.03 in February 2012.
·         Highest card transaction values were in the home improvements and leisure sectors.  

Blueair Named as finalist for International Housewares Association Innovation Awards

Blueair, the world’s leading maker of indoor air purifiers, has been selected as a finalist in the first annual International Housewares Association Innovation Awards. In- novated with love in Sweden, the Blueair Sense being unveiled at the Chicago International Home + Housewares Show is the result of a unique partnership between Blueair and the Swedish globally acclaimed architecture and design studio, Claesson Koivisto Rune.

This is the first time exhibitors’ at the Home + Housewares Show, which runs from March 10 to 13, will see their cutting-edge innovations receive recognition through the IHA Innovation Awards. The finalists will be judged by a panel of industry experts and news media with the winners to be announced on Saturday, March 10 at 4:30pm in the Innovation Theater.

Claesson Koivisto Rune has created a contemporary glass and steel design for the Blueair Sense to deliver an out-of-the-box experience beyond giving users unbeaten removal of airborne pollutants for improved health and wellbeing. Designed to blend seamlessly into any home or office environment, Blueair’s latest air purifier will be available in an enticing color palette and boasts a unique tempered glass top with interactive motion sensitive controls.

Blueair air purifiers have won multiple awards for their superior performance in removing allergens, asthma triggers, viruses, bacteria and other airborne pollutants from the air people breathe at home or in the workplace. Independent tests show that Blueair air purifiers are best in the world when it comes to cleaning more indoor air faster than any other air purifier.

Believing clean air is a human right, Blueair works hard to help raise public awareness about the potential health hazards of indoor air pollution, which can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside.

“We see the Blueair Sense as the forerunner in launching a revolution in our homes and workplaces in the same way household refrigerators changed the way people ate and helped them live more healthy lives,” said Herman Pihlträd, Blueair chief executive.

Acknowledging the honor of being chosen as a finalist in the IHA’s Innovation Awards, Mr. Pihlträd said the Blueair Sense not only is “highly efficient at cleaning indoor air of airborne pollution, but also has incredibly cool looks that will blend naturally into any living or working environment.”

Graffiti6 blazing a Britpop trail in the USA

Graffiti6 is a Brit band doing very well in the USA right now, a great UK export helping to put the ‘Great’ back into Britain. Here’s what is being written about them on Zoiks:
Riding on the success of their first single “Free” from debut album Colours, Britain’s Graffiti6 has been selected by VH1 as the “You Oughta Know” artist for the month of March. Launched in 2004, VH1’s “You Oughta Know” franchise introduces promising new artists on the rise to VH1’s base of music lovers. Many “You Oughta Know” artists have gone on to win industry awards and accolades including “Best New Artist” Grammy Awards and nominations. This highly acclaimed franchise has helped break artists such as Adele, Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars, The Civil Wars, Colbie Caillat, Corinne Bailey Rae, Foster The People, The Fray, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, James Blunt, Mumford & Sons, Sara Bareilles, Regina Spektor and many, many others.

Colours was released on January 24th to rave reviews and the first single “Free” which is now a top 10 hit at AAA radio, officially impacts the Hot AC format this week. Graffiti6 has performed the single on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” “Conan” and “The Rachael Ray Show.” The “Free” video has over 1.3 million views on VEVO is currently in rotation on VH1, MTVU, Music Choice and MUN2.

Graffiti6 recently wrapped a nationwide tour with Augustana and will head to Austin March 15th – 17th to play a series of shows at this years SXSW festival. They will then join singer/songwriter Eric Hutchinson starting April 17th in Denver, Co through May, 23rd in Portland, OR. They will then play this year’s Sasquatch Festival over Memorial Day weekend at the Gorge in Washington.

House Proud Britain: Mums and Dads Spend 24 Hours a Week on Household Management

Busy small business owners may like to know that parents spend an average of almost a day a week on household management, with a total of 23 hours and 45 minutes spent each on jobs including washing, cooking and childcare duties.

New research from Allianz Your Cover insurance found the top five time intensive chores those parents polled do each week are:

  1. Babysitting/childcare (3 hours 53 minutes)
  2. Cooking (3 hours 36 minutes)
  3. Cleaning (2 hours 49 minutes)
  4. Shopping (2 hours 27 minutes)
  5. Ironing/washing (2 hours 19 minutes)

Additional other time-consuming activities include DIY, taking out the recycling and gardening. If parents were to pay staff to carry out their chores it would cost £231 a week. However Mums and Dads are only valuing their weekly worth at £143 a week underestimating their weekly contribution by £88. Despite being a nation of hardworking parents, a quarter (25%) admit feel they do not feel appreciated by their children.

Andy James of Allianz Your Cover Insurance said: “Many parents will be surprised how much time they are spending on managing their homes and what this is worth financially. For those also working, this means very little ‘down time’ is spent relaxing as they spend four hours a day managing their home and family life. Our research found if parents were given the opportunity to pass their least favourite chore onto someone else, a quarter (28%) of Mums and Dads would spend this extra time relaxing.

“To help busy families realise their true value we have created a Smartphone app which calculates how much certain chores are worth and which family member makes the biggest household contribution. Families will be able to solve the eternal question ‘who does the most around the house’ and see who most deserves a relaxing sit-down!”

Overworked and underappreciated?

The research shows that both men and women agree that women make the most valuable contribution to the smooth running of the home. Despite this, only 25% of women feel that their contribution is completely appreciated by their partner whereas a third (35%) of men feel that their partner completely appreciates their role at home.

Three quarters (72%) of women think their household contribution is worth more than their partner’s, and value this contribution at £166. Only 41% of men think their contribution is worth the most financially valuing this at £120, significantly less than women.

Chilled out children

Both Mums and Dads agree that their children’s contribution is worth only 5% to the upkeep of the house. Youngest children have been recognised as the most hardworking with a third (31%) of parents revealing they think their youngest’s input is worth the most financially compared to just a fifth (22%) who voted for the middle or oldest child.

Parents confirmed that elder teenagers aged between 15 and 18 years-old were the least appreciative of their children as 32% of parents said this age group do not make them feel at all appreciated.

Andy James continues: “Our poll found that ironing, washing and cleaning are the most disliked chores which Brits would happily pass onto someone else. We urge busy parents to hand over their dusters and get their children involved in some household jobs. We also found that nearly half (45%) of Mums and Dads have caused damage whilst carrying out chores.  We recommend that parents check their accidental cover on their home insurance policies as less than four in ten of our customers have opted for accidental damage cover which would ensure they are protected.”

Allianz Your Cover Insurance, Allianz UK’s flexible insurance offering enables home insurance policy holders to purchase different levels of accidental damage cover on both contents and buildings policies to ensure homeowners get the cover they need.

To find out the true value of the chores you do download Allianz Your Cover’s household economy Smartphone App Chores Worth.

To find more out about Allianz Your Cover Insurance visit http://www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk, follow us on Twitter @YourCoverUK or join us on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/YourCoverUK

About Your Cover

Your Cover is a new breed of insurance product, offering cover that customers select to precisely match their own lifestyle and circumstances. Using an easy to use ‘Quote and Buy’ website, Your Cover makes it simple to design, obtain a quote and manage your insurance online.

The result of two years’ research involving thousands of insurance buyers, Your Cover is a product from Allianz Insurance plc, which is a part of the global Allianz Group.

About Allianz

Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and part of the Allianz SE Group, the largest property and casualty insurer worldwide. Reassuringly in these uncertain financial times, in July 2011 the Standard and Poor’s rating for Allianz Insurance was reaffirmed as AA-with a stable outlook and the rating of Allianz SE was also reaffirmed as AA with a stable outlook.

Great Brit Band Graffiti6 Are Taking USA By Storm

There’s nothing like an emerging success story to please all of us small businesses.

British band Graffiti6 are taking the USA by storm and a performance last Friday on TV show Conan was no different. The soulful group featuring lead singer, Jamie Scott, stopped by Conan for a live performance of “Free” their first hit single, which appears on their now available debute album, Colours. Watch their performance here, or copy the following link into your browser title: http://popcrush.com/graffiti6-perform-free-conan/

Below you can read some of great things being said for the British band’s debut album.

“Graffiti6, the duo of singer/songwriter Jamie Scott and songwriter/producer Tommy “Tommy D” Danvers, makes the art of crafting pop gems seem like the easiest task in the world.” -Billboard

Spray painting their debut album with ‘60s psychedelia, rave music, and falsetto-kissed soul (courtesy of dreamy lead singer Jamie Scott), this UK duo makes a vivid splash.” –People Magazine

“Using acoustic guitar and electric piano as primary colors, they combine smoky falsetto-soul melodies and breakbeat rhythms.”  –USA Today

“Pop at its most glorious” –Marie Claire

Kaleidoscopic beat tornadoes” – Entertainment Weekly

Small companies create 85% of new jobs

85% of net new jobs (new jobs created minus jobs lost in a given period) in the EU between 2002 and 2010 were created by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This figure is considerably higher than the 67%-share of SMEs in total employment. During this period, net employment in the EU’s business economy rose substantially, by an average of 1.1 million new jobs each year.

These are the main results of a study on the essential contribution of SMEs on job creation presented by the European Commission last month.
With 1% annually, the employment growth for SMEs was higher than for large enterprises with 0.5%. A clear exception is the trade sector, in which employment in SMEs increased by 0.7% annually, compared to 2.2% in large enterprises. This is due to the strong increase of large trade enterprises, in particular in sales, maintenance and repair of motor vehicles.

Within the SME size-class, micro firms (less than 10 employees) are responsible with 58% for the highest proportion of total net employment growth in the business economy.

Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Entrepreneurship and Industry valorised the relevance of SMEs for European economy, recognising the need to support them at all levels, since they represent a clear key for restoring economic growth.
More information can be found on the webpage of the SME Performance Review.