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“100,000 Businesses in Rome have closed during the first 9 months of 2009”

The headline in the “Economia” section of Milan’s daily “Corriere della Sera”, details the Confesercente (body representing small and medium-sized businesses in Italy) reseach that 100,000 businesses in the Capital have been forced to close their doors during the first 9 months of the year. This number is to be added to the 144,000 casualties of the recession in 2008. Unfortunately, the number of new business opening is only compensating in part and the closures and employment levels in the sector have seen a drop of between 3.4 and 4%.

In such a complicated business climate, how should companies act when dealing with the Italian market? We can easily extrapolate these results and apply them to the whole of the Italian economy, and it is clear that many parts of Italy (particularly in the south) will be hit even harder. One of the major attitude changes that we have seen since the beginning of the world economic downturn has been that businesses have been driven to greater vigilance when considering the financial state of their customers and business partners. Once it was possible to regard famous companies and household names as a “sure bet”, but now maximum prudence is necessary to avoid having an unduly risky customer portfolio.

Cosetta Massetti, Sales Manager for Comas in Italy (providers of Italian Commercial Information and Debt Recovery) says: “since the start of the economic downturn in Italy, many of my clients are asking how they can protect their business from the effects of non-payment. My advice and that of my colleagues has been crystal-clear: prevention is better than cure. It is now relatively easy and cost effective to place a whole client portfolio under periodic or even continuous monitoring. We at Comas offer tailor-made packages (to suit our individual clients’ particular needs and size) whereby they receive company credit information in the form of e-mail alerts, identifying potential payment problems before they compromise our clients. Comas also deals with Italian Debt Recovery, Cosetta continues, but more often than not, the clients who have had the good business sense to monitor their customers rarely have to revert to Debt Recovery procedures; they simply avoid doing business with risky customers.”

For further information on Business and Company Information Services, see Comas homepage.
 


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