61 per cent of SME invoices are paid outside agreed period

By Gillian Crotty

New research suggests that 61 per cent of invoices issued by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK are not paid within the debtor day period.

According to the research by Amicus Commercial Finance, 70 per sent of SMEs say that late payment of invoices results in a shortage of working capital, and a third of business owners said it causes them considerable stress and anxiety. According to the research 16 per cent of all invoices remain unpaid after 90 days, and 7 per cent are still outstanding after 6 months.

SMEs are particularly at risk when invoices remain unpaid for long periods of time as their cash-flows tend to be much more sensitive. Accumulated debt can impact on operational capacity and many small businesses struggle to recover from periods of unpredictable cash flow or stagnation.

It is essential that SMEs specify their payment terms clearly, implement an internal debt chasing procedure, and take measures to deal with older debts. That may include using a solicitor debt recovery service that will begin with an initial letter to the debtor demanding payment. Many debts are recovered when the debtor is advised that a solicitor has been instructed by the creditor, and there are other legal options available if payment is not forthcoming.

If you would the assistance of a debt recovery solicitor in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by clicking here.