Invoice delays stalling business growth warns Concur Invoice Utopia report

Major new Concur study highlights the UK’s growing crisis with late invoice payments, which is forcing businesses to consider redundancies and cuts to investment spend. The new report calls for businesses to invest in the latest digital systems to reduce delays and create an ‘Invoice Utopia’

by the commentator on 9 November 2017 12:10

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British businesses face financial turmoil due to an endemic culture of late invoice payments, according to a new report from Concur, the employee spend management experts. The study, entitled Invoice Utopia, is an extensive analysis of the financial issues facing British companies and includes YouGov polling from 1,233 British businesses. 

Companies quizzed in the survey said tackling late payments was a serious issue. 7 per cent said they consider making redundancies, whilst 17 per cent say they consider stopping planned investments. In addition, 15 per cent said they would be unable to pay salaries.

Disturbingly 10 per cent said they would be forced to reduce innovation spend. The polling revealed Britain’s critical medium sized business community was hit particularly hard by the problem.

In total, 21 per cent of medium sized businesses said they would have to stop planned investment if their biggest customer failed to pay a substantial invoice for 90 days, 14 per cent saying that they would not be able to pay salaries and 15 per cent significantly reducing innovation spend. Most worryingly, compared to 6 per cent in small businesses and 7 per cent in large businesses, 11 per cent of medium sized companies said they would also be forced to make redundancies.

Commenting on the report, Emma Maslen, Senior Regional Director for Enterprise at Concur said: “As Britain builds its digital future, it’s shocking that so many medium-sized businesses are the most heavily affected by late payments. This underlines the very real risk this culture poses to the viability of some of the country’s leading employers.”

Dafydd Llewellyn, MD of UK SMB at Concur added: “This report sets out a vision for an invoice utopia where IT ensures that late payments are a thing of the past. This can only be realised if change is present in technology, business culture and an innovative approach to payments and invoices.

Llewellyn continued: “Businesses need to lobby harder when negotiating their original payment terms; large businesses need to realise the potential damage extortionate payment terms are bringing; government and regulators – in particular with the Small Business Commissioner and duty to report need to support all businesses; and technological tools that can give a clear picture of cash flow and payments should be utilised across the board.

Only then will the burden be lifted from finance teams, businesses will have the room to grow and the UK economy will find itself in a powerful position to face the future," concluded Llewellyn.

Download the Invoice Utopia report here

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