Where do small businesses turn for help when they suffer due to late payment? Under new government plans, there could soon be a Small Business Conciliation Service tasked with tackling that precise problem.

That's not its official name as yet - and in fact, you could be forgiven for thinking you already know of a 'conciliation service' for small business disputes, in the form of mediation.

Published in Debt Collection

This Saturday December 6th is Small Business Saturday, an annual initiative to support small businesses throughout the UK, and it's not just about visiting your local independent gift shop.

Much of the focus will be on the nation's high streets and town centres, where free parking and special offers will encourage many people to finish off their Christmas shopping at small independent retailers.

Published in Credit Control

Last week, the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 gained royal assent, meaning broadly speaking, the various measures that have already been outlined by BIS, the Insolvency Service and other government departments should be brought into law without any major changes.

What does this mean for creditors? Actually there are some broad sweeping measures, and some more specific ones, which should combine to tip the balance more fairly in the direction of creditors.

Published in Debt Collection

The payment practices of the UK's biggest companies have been under scrutiny for a while now, with voluntary efforts such as the Prompt Payment Code attracting criticism for being 'toothless' in terms of enforcement action.

Meanwhile though, nobody really wants to see a situation where it is mandatory to take late payers to court, or to enforce penalties and interest - after all, sometimes you might simply want to extend the deadline as a gesture of good faith to a valued customer.

Published in Credit Control

The smallest firms in the UK are being paid late, in some cases by over a year, due to a lack of urgency and a sense of awkwardness about chasing clients for payment, new figures suggest.

A survey carried out by online accounts software provider FreeAgent revealed that just one in seven micro-businesses that issue invoices have never had to deal with an instance of late payment.

Published in Debt Collection

We all know healthy cash flow is the life blood of any small business, but when your cash flow is interrupted, survival depends on having funds in reserve - and the same is true of your customers.

So it helps to know how many small businesses out there have savings set aside 'for a rainy day', and how many would be unable to pay you if their own income was interrupted.

The figures don't make for encouraging reading - according to a report from British personal and commercial banking providers Aldermore, fewer than one in three businesses have a savings account at all.

Of those that do, 21% have less than £5,000 saved, and 7% have nothing at all.

Published in Credit Control

A publicly accessible database of company directorships could soon become a reality, following the conclusion of a consultation by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The proposals outline plans for a central registry of company beneficial ownership information - including details of trustees, where relevant, and of individuals with ownership of more than 25% of the shares in a company, or the equivalent proportion of its voting rights.

Published in Credit Control

Many small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK are effectively being forced to loan money to large firms interest-free, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

In one of a pair of landmark reports issued since the beginning of the year, the FSB warns that late payments and unreasonable renegotiation of payment terms is taking money out of the hands of SMEs, and allowing it to languish for longer in the accounts of the nation's largest corporations.

Published in Credit Control

Britain's small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute some 99.9% to the private sector - but are facing losses of around £3.7 billion due to poor credit control and debt collection processes.

A report from Exact, a provider of business and finance software, tallies up the costs of non-payment to UK SMEs, with some fairly alarming figures for individual examples of unpaid invoices.

Published in Credit Control

A recently published Late Payments Report makes 11 recommendations that MPs believe could help small businesses to receive what they are owed more promptly from their big-business customers.

MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth Debbie Abrahams convened and chaired a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into the issue of prompt payment for small businesses, which heard evidence from several large FTSE companies, as well as affected SMEs.

Published in Credit Control
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