Not long ago, in the context of negotiating the sale of an industrial company based in the Basque Country, I met with the president of a German multinational with production centres on five continents. When I explained to him the average collection period of the company being sold - a reasonably low 62 days - my interlocutor was astonished. With a certain irony he told me that he thought it was a question of buying an industrial company and not a finance company. Later he explained that when his clients asked him for financing, he would go with them to the window of his office from where they could see the headquarters of a large German bank.
It is clear that for this you have to have a product that allows you to set the rules of the game. The problem is that in our environment, even if we do have it, we don't. Let's face it, we are addicted to credit. Let's face it, we are addicted to credit, we have lived in a mega-excess of liquidity and now we are paying the consequences.
What I ask myself, given that a large part of the problems of Spanish SMEs - which are the ones that generate employment and, therefore, wealth - is the financing of working capital, is why something is not being done in fiscal policy.
It is clear that cleaning up the financial system can help, that the agreements with Germany to finance Spanish SMEs are welcome, that the law reducing the maximum payment period is other good news, but we must go to the table of the financial director of our SMEs and encourage them, because here we need a cultural change. I think that fiscal policy can be a good tool in the case of many companies: let's reward fiscally in the IS those companies that comply quickly with their payments, either through a reduction in the rate, deductions, the possibility of applying certain deductions, etc. Thus, in the equation for determining when to pay, not only will "the later the better" have an influence, but the tax advantages of prompt payment will make it more attractive to comply promptly. In this way, perhaps in passing, the eternal problem of uncollected VAT to be paid and not collected will also become less of a problem.
Guillermo Ibeas Alonso