Night of the Living Debt as 'Zombie Businesses' take over the UK!

Watch your backs people - there's a zombie revolution taking place, and the bloodthirsty brutes have got a taste for your money.

R3, the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, says there are already 146,000 'zombie businesses' out there, including much of the retail sector, leaving Britain's high streets looking like something out of a horror movie, financially speaking.

Gloomy news from the Forum of Private Business in recent weeks, as FTSE 100 companies are again being urged to abolish the late payments culture by settling their invoices on time, and banks are again being urged to lend more to cash-strapped small businesses.

In an ongoing climate of tight availability of finance in all its forms, and with outstanding invoices totaling tens of billions of pounds, it can be easy to wonder what's the point in chasing payments?

A failure to follow the 'golden rules' of credit control is leaving many SMEs facing a significant burden of payment chasing this summer, says RBS Invoice Finance.

The bank's specialist team has compiled figures showing that small firms are currently receiving payments an average of 30 days beyond the agreed deadline.

In part two of our series on Debt Recovery in the USA our American Debt Collection agent outlined the 10 questions any creditor must ask prior to taking a claim to court in the USA. Whilst many of the points raised in this piece are not entirely dissimilar to the questions any creditor should ask before pursuing legal action, one critical point is often overlooked.

If your company is considering taking legal action in the USA to recover unpaid invoices, you will be expected to provide at least one witness at trial. Our US affiliate explains:

Many businesses that work with local authorities are facing a 'postcode lottery' to determine whether their accounts are settled on time, or whether they must deal with late payments from their council customers, says the Forum of Private Business.

The claim is significant because, back in 2008, the government called for councils to pay their suppliers' invoices in no more than ten days - a way to keep small businesses' cashflow healthy, as well as to ensure liquidity within the wider economy as a whole.

Following on from the news that UK PLC's are sitting on a staggering £64 billion excess of capital the latest figures from Bacs Payment Schemes show overdue payments to UK SMEs are now at a record breaking all-time high of £35.3 billion.

The data was compiled at the end of 2011, and showed a £2 billion increase in late payments in the space of just six months.

Simple credit control measures could help one in ten businesses nationwide to stay operational in the face of delayed payments.

According to figures from Yorkshire Bank and its north-of-the-border equivalent, Clydesdale Bank, 10% of companies would not be able to survive if their clients took over 90 days to pay their invoices.

Late payments to creditors by UK PLC’s are being used to add to the working capital companies have at their disposal, according to a new report from Deloitte.

The professional services provider has analysed the working capital performance of 20,800 companies with global operations over the past five years, enabling it to compile a £64 billion estimate of excess working capital in the UK - a rise of £3 billion since 2010.

In our first blog post on USA debt collection we discussed the three pre-legal stages an American debt recovery agency will use to attempt recovery. But what happens when they have done their best to collect, but the debtor refuses to co-operate?

In this instance your only option to collect the debt may be to consider taking legal action. As with any legal claim here in the UK you can expect to pay the court costs and lawyers fees. But unlike in the UK you as a creditor will be required to attend any hearing, generally at your own cost.

Business loans have been making the headlines recently, but it's not all bad news - particularly for companies that have improved debt collection over the past year or so.

There's a perception in the media that businesses need loans in order to succeed. And in some cases, yes, that's true - an injection of cash can be useful for all kinds of reasons, from setting up a new firm to undergoing expansion or a change of direction.

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