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Archive for January, 2019


Thursday, January 10th, 2019

A report produced by the government on late payments and how they affect SMEs shows that the number of average days a business has to wait to get paid is getting longer. 

Many SMEs, especially when dealing with single large businesses, find it difficult to influence the terms of contracts with customers or challenge them over payments.

Bacs Payment Schemes Limited put the total figure owed to SMEs at £14 billion, while the Zurich Risk Index estimated that SMEs were owed £45 billion by larger companies alone, having previously reported that SMEs were owed a total of £225 billion in late payments. The UK performs worse than other countries both in terms of the proportion of invoices that are late, and the total amount of late payments and amount of late payments written off as bad debt.

There is also a wider cumulative effect, where late payments prevent whole industries and sectors becoming more productive and makes them less able to invest in infrastructure and skills. The report found that SMEs write off up to 7.5% of late payments as bad debt. In the worst-case scenario, small businesses can go bankrupt because of the cash flow problems caused by late payments. It has been estimated that each year as many as 50,000 small business go bankrupt with loss of up to 350,000 jobs.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in June 2018 found that more than a third of small suppliers had had their payment terms increased over the previous 2 years, indicating what it characterises as “supply chain bullying”. SMEs can also face other unfavourable terms. The FSB reported that 12% of SMEs it surveyed had been asked for a discount for prompt payment, 7% for retrospective discounting, 6% for a fee to remain on a suppliers list and 3% had experienced a discount being applied after goods and services had been supplied.

Businesses can consider Factoring invoicing to ease the pressure on cashflow. We specialise in this type of finance so contact us for more information.


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