According to Real Business, research has revealed that Britain’s smallest businesses are the most reliable when it comes to paying their bills on time. The study, conducted by Experian, showed that during the first quarter of 2013, companies with less than two employees made a significant improvement in their payment performance, settling their invoices more than 4.5 days faster compared with the same period in 2012. This represented an average of 27.9 days after agreed terms over the 32.5 days recorded last year.
The same improvement has not occurred within all other size of businesses in the UK, with the time taken to pay outstanding invoices increasing. The study revealed Britain’s largest businesses (more than 501 employees) saw their payment performance slow during the first 3 months of 2013, with an average of 33.9 days beyond payment terms, an increase of 2.2 days from the 31.7 days in 2012.
In geographic terms, the Northern parts of the UK made the biggest improvements to their payment performance. Scottish firms paid their bills 1.7 days earlier than last year, and Northern Ireland, North West England and Yorkshire businesses all saw their payment performance improve by around 1 day in comparison to the previous year.
A SmartDebit spokesperson from the Surrey-based bureau commented on the latest research from Experian, “The improvement from the smallest businesses is promising in the battle against late payments however the poorer performance from the rest of the country’s organisations is worrying. Controlling cash flow is critical to the survival of small businesses in the UK, and we advise that companies take the appropriate measures to safeguard it; carry out credit checks and use automated payment collection facilities.”
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