Tax & admin · 6 March 2018

Unpaid invoices worth £40,000 leave one in four business owners “struggling”

late payment culture
Up to 15 per cent of small business turnover could now be tied up in unpaid invoices

Despite government initiatives to crack down on late payments, a quarter of small UK business owners say they are owed over £40,000 from customers in unpaid invoices.

The latest quarterly Close Brothers Invoice Business Barometer revealed that 25.2 per cent of businesses suffering from late payments reported that they were owed more than £40,000, almost twice as many as the 13.2 per cent of small firms suffering to this extent in March 2015.

A further 33.8 per cent were owed between £20,000 and £40,000, up from 22.7 per cent three years ago.

It said 24.2 per cent of small company owners now regard late payments as a problem for their business and despite this figure being down from 33.2 per cent in March 2015, they were left “struggling to cope”.

This, Close Brothers said, was despite a series of Government initiatives to get on top of the problem and boost the economy by £2.5bn.

This has included the appointment of Small Business Commissioner Paul Uppal last October tasked with helping SMEs resolve payments disputes and tackle unfair payment practices and The Prompt Payment Code to set payment standards.

__________________________________________________________________________________
Premier league

 

Premier League suppliers chase £1.3m in overdue payments from top football clubs

Premier League clubs are withholding £1.3m in overdue invoices to suppliers, according to new figures that reveal a troubling culture of late payments in English football.

__________________________________________________________________________________

David Thomson, chief executive of Close Brothers Invoice Finance, said small firms needed more help to combat late payments, with the issue threatening to hold back SME growth.

“Our research suggests that despite a series of efforts to combat the matter led by government and other organisations, too many SMEs still aren’t being paid on time,” he said.

“This is an issue causing real hardship for many firms and has negative implications for the performance of the economy as a whole.”

The ongoing problem has however failed to result in a lift for invoice finance demand.

Close Brothers said that 37.2 per cent of SMEs said they would consider using invoice finance with 9.9 per cent already doing so. However, these figures are down from 43.8 per cent and 11.9 per cent respectively in March 2015.

“Invoice finance can provide crucial funding for growing SMEs and a potential solution for late payments-related issues,” Thomson added.

“It can play a key role in helping SMEs unlock the value tied up in invoices issued to customers. More work needs to be done to prove the case for this type of alternative finance.”

Sheffield’s late payment problem has been revealed as the UK’s worst

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.


 
TAGS:

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Q&A

If you’ve found the article above useful, but have a more detailed and bespoke question, then please feel free to submit a query to our expert. We at Business Advice will get in contact with them on your behalf and arrange for a personalised response. These questions and answers will then be collated on the site for any other readers who have similar queries.

Ask a question

From the top