Experian in a recent press release – see the full transcript here – have noted that businesses are paying their bills quicker than at any time since April 2008. On average during October businesses were 20.99 days (3 weeks) late in settling their debts compared with 23.20 days in the same month in 2008.
This would seem to be evidence of an improvement in business performance and confidence – on the basis that if you are reading this you are probably in business yourself I wonder if these statistics are borne out by your own experience?
It is interesting that the South West are the ‘best’ payers (my own region, although I would not claim full credit for this!) and the North West the slowest.
I do however find it surprising that these figures are considered encouraging – note that the 21 days refers to days late, not days from date of invoice. On the basis that this is an average it follows that there are many businesses paying considerably later than this.
The largest businesses (>500 employees) who it could be expected are best placed to pay on time are the worst culprits for late payment although surprisingly the smallest (1-2 employees) are not the best payers.
All this goes to demonstrate the importance of making every effort to ensure your invoice is on the top of the pile when it comes to payment. Payment will not just happen – the day an invoice is overdue is the day to be on the telephone to your customers chasing.