Will I get the money my company is owed?

This is the question we hear most often from clients that find they unpaid invoices due from an insolvent business.  This short guide, written by our very own Daryl Bennett, is intended to answer this most important question.

But to answer this question first we need to understand exactly what is meant by the term insolvency, Sid Home our resident Credit Management expert explains.

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Insolvency turns £4.7bn of non-payers into never-payers

Each year, £4.7 billion of unpaid invoices in the UK are simply wiped away by insolvency and winding-up procedures, according to an Experian report.

From the smallest 'micro firms' to the biggest brands, when a company leaves the market completely by going out of business, the rest of the supply chain is likely to feel at least some impact not just in terms of lost custom, but by going unpaid for work already done.

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Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are struggling to tackle late payments from clients who, in the worst instances, miss three or more invoices per year.

Almost half (47%) of SMEs surveyed by Barclays said that their least reliable customers fail to pay on time at least three times each year.

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The Prompt Payment Code and the Supply Chain Finance Scheme - what's going on?

The current economy is turbulent enough, without seemingly conflicting schemes being launched to help businesses with credit control and late payment.

But in recent weeks, both the Prompt Payment Code and the Supply Chain Finance Scheme have been making headlines for companies with slow-to-pay clients.

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If you're a small-business owner and you've never heard of the Supply Chain Finance Scheme, announced today, sit down and put anything breakable well out of reach, because you're going to want to smash something pretty soon.

The SCFS is one of those initiatives that you hear about, think "how the hell did they come up with that?", and then realise it was a government idea.

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The videogames industry is a key contributor to the post-industrial UK economy, at a time when the creative industries and services sector are steadily growing in importance.

But safeguarding this contribution means ensuring the continued health of companies working in the industry - and the sector's representative body TIGA (The Independent Games Developers Association) is doing just that by encouraging all those working in the videogames sector to sign up to the Prompt Payment Code and avoid late payment.

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Recast Late Payment Directive Consultation

Businesses that have been surviving at the edge of affordability - commonly called 'zombie businesses' for their inability to survive any further change in the health of their cashflow - could be particularly keen to see the Late Payments Directive introduced as planned.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills is running a consultation until October 19th on the Late Payments Directive (or European Directive 2011/7/EU, to use its proper name), which should help many small businesses to receive full payment of their invoices within 30 days - and to charge interest on top of any debts that go unpaid for longer.

 

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Following on from our mock interview with Dodgy Dave the Debt Collector below you can find an infographic containing Nine Top Tips to avoid dodgy B2B Debt Collectors.

The tips are from the pen of our MD Sid Home.  Sid is a former British Transport Police officer and has been the Managing Director of Safe Collections since the company was incorporated in 1984.

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Late payments are a burden that all businesses must bear, and we fully understand and appreciate the annoyance that they can cause to all of our clients, whether big or small. So when a customer leaves you with an unpaid invoice, it's equally understandable that you might choose to 'encourage' them to pay up in any way possible.

Increasingly, that for some people means taking to the social networks to name and shame the non-paying client and try to embarrass them into paying. There are clear problems with this approach - for a start, you have to wonder whether a business owner happy to renege on a contract is likely to be shamed into settling their account simply because of a bit of bad word of mouth. But we were curious to find out just how often naming and shaming actually works - so we asked you.

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The government's ongoing pledge to help small businesses keep their cashflow looking healthy has taken a new turn - and it's like 'improving' policing by asking criminals to turn themselves in.

Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills work with representative groups of small firms on the Small Business Economic Forum.

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