Companies paid their bills more than a day earlier in 2012, compared with 2011, figures from Experian have claimed.
The market watcher’s research revealed that firms paid their overdue invoices on average 25.6 days after agreed terms, compared with 25.7 days in 2011.
Firms with more than 100 employees led in the improvement stakes, paying an average of 2.25 days faster than in 2011. Microbusinesses with between one and five employees paid an average of 20.95 days late in 2012, while large firms with more than 100 employees paid on average 27.15 days late.
Max Firth, UK managing director of Experian’s Business Information Services division, said: “The gap between payment performance of the largest and the smallest businesses narrowing is predominantly as a result of more rapid payment behaviour among larger businesses.
“The overall improvement in payment performance is encouraging, though the average payment speed remains slower than the level seen prior to the 2011 peak.
“Understanding how quickly clients are paying their invoices provides firms with an early warning sign of potential issues, enabling businesses to plan accordingly for any debt or work with firms that are showing signs of struggling, to manage any potential loss.”
Scotland made the greatest improvement, falling by 2.6 days on average in 2012 to 24.89 days beyond terms. Yorkshire was a close second falling by nearly two days in 2012 down to 24.37 days.
Wales and the East and West Midlands also all made significant improvements, cutting payment times by more than a day. The regions showing least improvement were those that already had faster than average payment performance.
The North West remained the region to pay their bills later on average than the rest of the country, but it did see its payment performance improve by 1.24 days since 2011 from 34.01 days to 32.77 days, Experian claimed.
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