The issue of late payments is back in the spotlight as the government launches an initiative to aid firms struggling to get paid on time.
The Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) is calling on small firms to follow a number of simple steps to minimise the threat of late payment and to pursue late payers.
This includes proactively agreeing payment terms before delivering orders.
Business minister Mark Prisk has also announced a new working group of business representatives that will examine the issues behind late payment.
Meanwhile, a new guide for small business from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, containing tips and advice from suppliers and customers, goes live today.
The governmment's efforts have been backed by the Forum of Private Business and credit reference agency Graydon UK, who are to conduct their own research into small firms' attitudes to managing invoice payments and cashflow.
According to recent research by Graydon UK, 51 per cent of businesses reported that late payment has become worse during the past year.
Some 45 per cent questioned said they believed it could threaten business investments and a fifth said it could even threaten their ability to continue trading in 2012.
Gordon Skaljak, external spokesman at Graydon UK, said: "With our own research showing that 20 per cent of UK credit managers believe late payment could be a threat to their firm's ability to continue trading in 2012, this is not an issue which the business community can afford to gloss over as we all seek to get Britain trading."
The government's other recommendations included signing up to its Prompt Payment Code and using it to raise complaints over late payment from signatories. It also advised SMBs to use electronic invoicing where possible.
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