SMEs see payment performances increase in first quarter

Small businesses in the UK saw their payment performance increase over the first quarter of 2013 with must able to pay their bills about five days faster when compared to the first quarter of 2012.

During the first three months of this year small companies that only had one or two people employed were able to pay their bills three days earlier compared to the average 33 days that it took last year. Overall the national average is still 25 days past terms; which is about the same as it was in 2012. However, when you look at the closing quarter of 2012 the performance is better by one day.

All other larger businesses saw the time it took to pay invoices increases. In fact, the largest UK corporations saw their payment performance slow down by over two days since the first quarter of 2013 with an average of 34 days behind payment terms.

UK managing director for Experian, Max Firth stated that the noticeable improvement made by the small firms is very encouraging but the fact that other businesses are seeing their numbers decrease is still a cause for concern. He added that that many firms are showing caution when it comes to lifelines in the business such as favorable payment terms and trade credit.

Firth added that by continuing to monitor the customers and suppliers businesses can start to build more confidence and increase their cash flow. The largest payment performance investments during the quarter came from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Yorkshire, and the North West of England.

During the first quarter Scottish firms paid their bills about two days faster and Northern Ireland businesses were able to pay one day earlier making their final total about 17 days late on average.