No rest for credit control

The first quarter of 2011 saw little sign of improvement in late payment times as UK businesses continue to contend with challenging trading conditions.


The first quarter of 2011 saw little sign of improvement in late payment times as UK businesses continue to contend with challenging trading conditions.

The first quarter of 2011 saw little sign of improvement in late payment times as UK businesses continue to contend with challenging trading conditions.

Analysis from credit information group Experian shows that bills were being paid on average 25.2 days late during Q1 2011, representing only a nominal improvement from the 25.7 days recorded during the previous quarter.

The largest businesses (500+ employees) delivered the biggest improvement in payment performance, from 36.7 days in Q4 2010 to 34 days in Q1 2011. However, they remained the worst culprits, on average, in terms of bills paid late. Even the smallest businesses – traditionally the fastest payers – failed to pay their bills under 20 days late.

Jason Mills, head of payment performance at Experian UK & Ireland, says, ‘It has been a tough winter for businesses – particularly small firms – and companies are cautious about making any changes to their day-to-day financial operations.

‘Small firms, in particular, must be mindful that continued poor payment performance can affect their creditworthiness, which may in turn make it harder for them to secure finance or win new customers.’

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