Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: Small firms taking tough line on late payers, Barclays survey shows

06:00 30 January 2013

Mark Suthern, head of relationship banking at Barclays Business Banking, Eastern

Photo: VisMedia

Mark Suthern, head of relationship banking at Barclays Business Banking, Eastern Photo: VisMedia

Ben Phillips / VisualMedia

SMALL and medium-sized businesses in East Anglia are taking a tough line in dealing with firms which are slow in paying their bills.


According to research carried out by Barclays, late payment continues to be a critical problem for the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with 92% of those questioned in a survey having suffered over the last two years, worse than the national average of 85%.

However, the study also shows that many SMEs in the region are taking action to protect themselves against the risk of firms owning them money going out of business, with nearly one in three (32%) having declined to do further business with customers with a record of late payment, well ahead of the national average of 22%.

Nearly two out of three (61% in the east, 60% nationally) have communicated more frequently with or chased the customer’s finance team, two in five (42% in the east, 32% nationally) have threatened to or taken out legal action, and around a third (36% in the east, 30% nationally) have requested payment up-front.

The research also reveals the impact that late payments can have on business owners, with a quarter of those surveyed in the region (25%), and nearly one in three nationally (30%), who have experienced late payments in the past two years having had to use personal money or assets to boost their cash flow.

One in six (16%) of respondents in the region (20% nationally) say have suffered extreme stress as a result, and one in 10 (9%, against 11% nationally) say late payments have nearly caused a business to fail.

Mark Suthern, head of relationship banking at Barclays Business Banking, Eastern, said: “Minimising late payments and effectively managing cash flow is crucial for the survival, as well as the growth of small businesses.

“With one in five businesses that cease trading citing bad debt as the reason, it is vital that SMEs tackle this problem and take action before it is too late.”

He added: “Faced with a continually challenging business environment, small businesses clearly have no other option than to take action against customers who repeatedly pay late.

“Whilst it goes against all natural business instincts to turn customers away, it is entirely understandable when weighed up against the overall impact of the late payment on the future of the business.

“Using a product like CreditFocus to check the credit worthiness of the business you are looking to trade with is also a great idea.”



George Bradley of Suffolk Secrets.

The belated arrival of settled weather in mid-September has helped to deliver an “Indian Summer” boost for Suffolk Secrets, one of the county’s leading holiday lets businesses.

Tesco  has revealed a 70% plunge in half-year earnings for its UK and Ireland business.

Supermarket giant Tesco revealed a 70% fall in half year earnings for its UK and Ireland business despite seeing an improvement in under-pressure sales.

The Cask Report has highlighted the importance of real ale to the the pub trade.

Drinkers of real ale are a “lifeline” for Britain’s hard-pressed pubs sector, according to a new study.

Some of SABMiller's beer brands.

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev today unveiled another improved offer for rival SAB Miller.

A queue outside of a Greggs store.

Baker Greggs warned the new national living wage will put pressure on the group to raise the prices of its pasties and sausage rolls.

Home Secretary Theresa May arrives to deliver her speech at Manchester Central during the Conservative Party conference.

Theresa May faced an angry backlash from business leaders and refugee charities for falsely “vilifying” immigrants in a bid to boost her own political career.

Amanda Bond, Visit Suffolk brand manager

The value of Suffolk’s tourism industry has grown to £1.85billion a year, according to new figures, with the total, for the 2013 season, represents a rise of £50million over 2012.

Pigs Gone Wild campaign project leader  Norman Lloyd with the organisation's own pig sculpture.

Businesses are being urged to get behind a public art initiative which aims to raise £100,000 for the St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich.

Dr Aled Jones, Anglia Ruskin University.

The director of Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) is in the running to be named the greenest academic in the UK.

The presentation of the Gold award in the Community Relations Campaign category to Essex County Council at the CIPR Anglia Thames & Chiltern Pride Awards 2015

Photo:  Steve Pope - FOTOWALES

Public relations professionals across East Anglia have received recognition in the regional round of the 2015 PRide Awards.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages