According to new data from commercial information provider Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), British businesses have improved payment times by two days to 15 days late against agreed paying terms during 2012. In recent years, businesses have been settling their bills later, from 13 days late in 2006 rising to a peak of 17 days in 2011.
The reported 15 day late payment times for British businesses throughout 2012 were similar to that of Spain, France and Italy. The average time taken by Portuguese businesses is seven days longer than the UK. German businesses are leading the way in Europe, taking on average just 6 days to settle their invoices.
The study shows that payment behaviour varies across different sectors in the UK. The finance and insurance sector has the highest average payment time of 17 days, compared with 11 days in the agricultural sector. Overall, the payment performance across all sectors of UK business has slightly improved over the past few years, with the exception of the retail sector, where payment time increased to 19 days.
A SmartDebit spokesperson from the Surrey-based bureau commented on the report, “Whilst the report is positive, the UK still has a long way to go to rid the late payments culture. In tough economic times, a healthy cash flow is absolutely critical to the success of small and medium-sized businesses. We always recommend the automation of as many regulation payments as possible to businesses in order to maintain control of finances.”
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