The paper analyses financial risk management practices and derivative usage in large Croatian and Slovenian non-financial companies and explores if the decision to use derivatives as risk management instruments in the analysed companies is a function of several firm’s characteristics that have been proven as relevant in making financial risk management decisions. On the basis of the research results it can be concluded that forwards and swaps are by far the most important derivative instruments in both countries. Futures as representatives of standardised derivatives together with structured derivatives are more important in the Slovenian than in the Croatian companies, while exchange-traded and OTC options are unimportant means of financial risk management in both countries. A comparative analysis conducted to explore differences between risk management practices in Slovenian and Croatian companies has shown evidence that Slovenian companies use all types of derivatives, especially structured derivatives, more intensively than Croatian companies. The survey has revealed that the explored hedging rationales have little predictive power in explaining financial risk management decisions both in Croatian and Slovenian companies. The decision to use derivatives in Croatian non-financial companies is related only to the investment expenditures-to-assets ratio which controls for costly external financing hypothesis, while the decision to use derivatives in Slovenian companies is dependent only on the size of the company. It can be argued that the characteristics of the Croatian and Slovenian firms could be found in other South-eastern European countries and that findings of this research may act as a baseline from which to generalise. Therefore, the survey results analysed in this paper also suggest a broader comparison across countries in the region. The advantage of this work is that it provides an impetus for further research to move beyond the existing hedging rationales, which have proven inadequate in explaining financial risk management decisions in the Croatian and Slovenian companies.