Amid growing criticisms surrounding the misuse of supply chain finance, an industry forum has put out a paper conceding that the issue is "worrying" but insisting that it is not widespread.
Supply chain finance, and in particular payables finance programmes, have comes in for scrutiny relating to the potential adverse impact on suppliers, issues relating to financial reporting and transparency, and overall programme risk.
In its paper, the Global Supply Chain Finance Forum (GSCFF) takes on allegations that SMEs are being "bullied" into joining payables finance programmes, calling them "highly concerning". Similarly, the forum says suppliers should not feel obligated to participate in such programmes and must be able to opt to receive payment in full on the original due date.
In other areas, the paper does not concede ground to critics, insisting that liabilities arising from supply chain finance programmes do not create additional financial risk above and beyond those that arise from trade between buyers and sellers.
The GSCFF also only says that transparency of financial reporting relating to the use of these programmes is only "desirable".
Christian Hausherr, chair, GSCFF, says: “When used in an appropriate manner, payables finance programmes enable buyers and suppliers to optimise their working capital and strengthen their relationships with each other.
"However, reports relating to the misuse of payables finance programmes, notably around suppliers being forced into accepting unfavourable terms, are extremely worrying. As such the GSCFF has taken the initiative to address these concerns head-on, to promote understanding of the technique and its use."