Late payments hit small businesses hard.

15 May 2017

The polling company YouGov has released figures recently showing that small businesses are being hit hard by late payments from suppliers. 

According to the research, the impact comes in at £266 billion (out of a UK SME turnover of £1.8 trillion) and many businesses are suffering as a direct consequence of this. 

There are new laws now in force requiring large companies to publish their own payment terms, but this seems to be a small step in the right direction rather than a solution.

Figures vary across different industry sectors, but an average of 15% of business turnover is coming in as late payments (2016 figures).   More than half of the respondents to the YouGov survey reported late payments beyond 10 days as a norm.

Other figures available show that small and medium businesses are often owed upwards of £25,000 in late or unsettled invoices, with almost 10% being owed more than £100,000. 

Iain Blundell, a specialist solicitor in our Debt Recovery and Litigation department, commented that “obviously these kind of numbers will have a huge impact on the day to day running of a business and the cash-flow situation.  It is absolutely crucial that any business – whether new start-up or established firm – keeps a very close eye on late payments and credit control.  Action can be taken proactively when entering into new business relationships to ensure that contract terms adequately deal with this issue.”

Curtis Law are also instructed regularly in debt recovery matters when late payments require further attention.  We can offer expert advice on the whole range of debt recovery and enforcement options.  This can range from County Court claims and Insolvency proceedings, right through the process to Charging Orders and enforcement through bailiffs or Sheriffs. 

Iain comments: “We are always very mindful of the nature of the debt and the relationship between the debtor and creditor.  It is often the case that maintaining a good business relationship is a key priority for the client – we are switched on to that and can adopt a suitable conciliatory approach”.

If you have any questions about this topic, or require any advice about unpaid or late paid invoices, our expert team would welcome your call.  Curtis Law has a dedicated team of experts in the Litigation and & Debt Recovery department who can be contacted on the debt recovery hotline: 01254 914293'.