European Payment Report 2024

Early signs of growth in 2024 led to hopes that the UK economy was turning a corner after a sluggish 2023. With a general election called for July 4 and the Conservative Party trailing in the polls, change is on the cards, so businesses are preparing for a new political landscape in 2025.

Executive summary

Intrum’s research found that 82 per cent of UK respondents are planning to strengthen liquidity and cash flow as a strategic priority over the next
year compared to 72 per cent across Europe. UK businesses are also shifting their focus away from growth, with just 43 per cent saying this is
a priority for 2024, compared to 55 per cent on average.


Meanwhile, late payment is an ongoing problem: over half (55 per cent) say they pay suppliers later than they would accept from their own clients, 16 percentage points higher than the European average.

Executives are more positive about the opportunities ahead

After a painful few years dominated first by the pandemic and then by a cost-of-living  crisis, economic conditions are improving in Europe. But the  pace of economic recovery is expected to be slow. Even in  2025, when conditions should be better, the IMF expects growth in both the UK and the eurozone to reach only 1.5 per  cent.

Businesses that are slow to invest could be left behind

It is understandable that executives are nervous. But businesses that take too long to take advantage of the nascent recovery could find themselves eclipsed by more forthright competitors. Almost four in 10 of the executives in this year’s research (38 per cent) worry that, if they do not adapt to changes in their operating environment, they are at risk of going out of business within just five years.

Businesses worry they will fall behind without AI, many see benefits

AI enthusiasm is growing as executives consider applications throughout the business, including in their back-office functions. Half of the executives in our research say that advances in AI could help them to manage late payments. AI has so many potential benefits that businesses worry about missing out.

EPR 2024

UK Report