Big firms could have 'late payment director' to pay suppliers on time

Big firms could have 'late payment director' to pay suppliers on time
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Tue 2nd Oct 2018

The government is considering forcing large companies to nominate a board member to ensure that invoices are paid on time to small suppliers.

According to The Times, it would mean giving suppliers access to a non-executive director when looking to get bills settled.

The move is the latest by the government to crack down on late payments, a problem which is believed to impact on 50,000 businesses every year with a quarter reporting that overdue invoices are a threat to their survival

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, business secretary Greg Clark said central government will aim to pay 90% of undisputed invoices from small businesses within five days, while the Prompt Payment Code, a voluntary scheme through which big firms promise to pay invoices within 60 days, will be strengthened.

In addition, Paul Uppal, the small business commissioner tasked with helping small firms tackle late payment, will join the Code's compliance board.

In Enterprise Nation's podcast last week, Uppal discussed his role and that of the Prompt Payment Code.

The government today announced measures aimed at tackling late payment for small businesses inc Small Business Commissioner @sb_commissioner joining Prompt Payment Code's Compliance Board to encourage big firms to pay on time. Here's a clip from our podcast with the Commissioner.

— Enterprise Nation (@e_nation) October 1, 2018

"Over the past five years the amount owed to businesses in late payments has halved, but it is still the case that too many of our smallest firms are undermined by withheld payments of money they are owed," Clark said.

"I will make sure that the government leads by example in our own conduct, by increasing our five day payment rule to 90% of all invoices from small firms and boosting the powers of the small business commissioner.

"We are determined that any existing small business or anyone with the initiative to create one should be confident that they will not be held back by unreasonable delays in their bills being paid."

Commenting on the announcements, Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: "It's great to see the government put some real weight behind tacking late payment.

"That is a vitally important issue for our members and something we've pledged to make a campaigning point."

A government consultation setting out further ideas will be published on Thursday.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

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