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What I took away from 2021 and will work on in 2022

For many of us, the beginning of the year is a time for good intentions. We resolve to cultivate better habits, maintain or intensify contacts, and give up old habits. This is also reflected in business life. Since the new year is still quite fresh, I would like to briefly look back on the past months and also venture a small outlook into the future.

Even though I don’t like to express it, I think we all agree on one thing: 2021 was another year outside of normality – unfortunately. And once again, many of us had to contend with challenges. In addition to thoughts about health, family and the future, there are also many question marks buzzing around in a professional context.

My thoughts in macroeconomic terms

  • How is the economy developing in Germany and Europe?
  • What impact will the changes in insolvency law have?
  • What does the crisis mean for our customers in general?
  • What impact will local and international lockdowns have on business?
  • What are the effects of the global upheavals in international trade relations and how are we dealing with the enormous bottlenecks and delivery problems for raw materials, chips and other important supplier products?
  • How are prices for important goods developing and what are the effects of the immense price increases in the energy sector?
  •  How will all this affect inflation, which is now almost galloping, in the coming months?
  • What is the reaction of the European Central Bank in terms of its still expansionary monetary policy?
  •  What will happen to Corona aid? Will bridging funds and fast-track loans arrive quickly enough to meet the additional challenges?

We as A.B.S. always put our feelers out pretty far and are curious about what developments, opportunities, and also risks are emerging on the market. We have shared many of these conversations in our interview series „A.B.S. meets….“ here in our blog. If you are curious, feel free to take a look. Really exciting talks have emerged! 🗯

Check out the Interviews here!

Trends: The following tendencies were observed

▸ Banks are increasingly pulling out of SME financing.

▸ The need for a balanced financing mix continues to grow. Entrepreneurs are increasingly looking around for alternative and flexible financing instruments.

▸ Buy now-pay later payment options are also increasingly in demand in the B2B segment, because winning new customers, retaining existing customers and generating sales growth are permanent issues that no company can ignore. The customer experience is moving to the center of attention, and this includes a wide range of payment methods. With quickpaid, we have an answer in our portfolio that allows suppliers to offer their customers a fast and flexible payment alternative. To be honest: We’re not the only ones who love the flexibility of this product – our customers are also thrilled with its speed. The countless hours spent in product development have paid off! 😉

▸ Purchase financing is playing an increasingly important role not only nationally, but also in international trade. With quickpaid trade – the next level in our growing product segment – we have been able to develop an offer which can also serve as a stabilizing factor in the area of international supply chains. We call it cross-border-factoring.

▸ Sustainability is not only taking on an increasingly important role in the economy itself; there are also more and more market developments in the field of green finance that we would like to drive forward in the future as part of our environmental social governance responsibilities.

Of course, we want to respond to these developments. And we at A.B.S. have set ourselves a clear goal in this regard: We want to be as close as possible to our customers and work with them to proactively develop financing solutions that are sustainable even in unusual economic times. This was always the same even before the days of Corona. Now we emphasize our mission statement and our values even more.

Did we succeeded in doing so?

Well, 2021 was the most successful year in the history of A.B.S. Global Factoring AG. On the one hand, of course, thanks to our good internal cooperation, but also thanks to a broad network of partners such as banks, credit insurers, consultants and many other stakeholders, we were able to develop numerous suitable solutions for our customers. Next to the global, negative headlines, a pretty nice experience I would say …

By the way, 2021 had one very special highlight: We celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2021! 🎉 A number that makes me feel very proud …

In terms of our workforce, we have also continued to develop new positions and further strengthening ourselves in almost all departments – not only with expertise, but also with exciting personalities who enrich our team and contribute to the good and decidedly constructive working atmosphere.

Structurally, a lot has changed at A.B.S.: Whereas three years ago video calls were still the exception, we, like many others, have discovered digital e-meetings for ourselves and also recognized them as a real alternative to on-site appointments. Fortunately, we have been able to maintain productivity and processes from the very beginning, and they have been carried out at the usual level. A useful side effect was that we got to know our colleagues in a different way thanks to some funny moments (dog, cat, mouse – child and cone 😉).

However, I am still looking forward to reducing the high home office rate to some extent again, wherever it is possible and desired, of course. After all, personal contact and exchanges over a cup of coffee are cherished habits and, in my view, cannot necessarily be replaced by a team meeting. That’s also what I heard from the feedback of our colleagues. However, hybrid working will be the future in the age of New Work – change takes time, though. And as so often in life, I believe that the golden middle way – in other words, a mix of personal exchange and individual places of retreat – is the right way to move forward.

And now a look into the future: What am I particularly looking forward to in 2022?

As you would expect, we want to continue to drive forward the expansion of the factoring business.

A.B.S. has grown strongly in recent years. We have gained many new colleagues in a wide variety of locations, which pleases and inspires me. I love combining different cultures and customs. You can gain so much from each other, both in an interpersonal and a professional sense. That’s why I want to continue to support our subsidiaries in the countries and develop them into firm players in the market.

A constant topic: driving forward digitization issues will continue to be at the top of our to-do list. To increase efficiencies, optimize service quality and improve the customer experience. We always want to evolve.

quickpaid is and will remain our baby. Even if it is not so little anymore after almost three years … We have already achieved a lot, but of course we can always do better. That’s why we are putting a lot of our time, know-how and budget into the further development of quickpaid as a payment option. We are currently in intensive talks with potential cooperation partners and are excited to see what the future will bring. We are always open for dialogue!

Last but not least, I’ll be happy when we can chat with each other again without any worries. And hopefully also celebrate a few unforgettable parties! 😉 After all, that’s something you always look back on with pleasure – even after your professional career.

Looking forward to the journey in 2022: I wish you all many moments of happiness this year!

All the best,

Thorsten Klindworth

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