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Businesses settle bills in quickest time since April 2008

Businesses improved their late payment performance during October, according to the latest Late Payment Index from Experian®, the global information services company.

On average, businesses took 20.99 days beyond their agreed terms to pay their bills during October, compared to 21.54 days in September and 23.20 days in October last year. October saw businesses in the UK settle their bills in the quickest time since April 2008.

Other highlights from Experian’s October Late Payment Index, include:

The biggest September to October improvement came from businesses in the South West (falling by 4.0 per cent fall to 16.39 days) – the fastest region to pay its bills.

The South East saw the greatest year-on-year improvement in its late payment performance (falling by 15.6 per cent to 16.95 days). It was the second fastest region when it came to paying bills.

For the second month running, the biggest month-on-month improvement in late payments came from the largest businesses (falling by 5.0 per cent to 23.41 days). However, over all they were still the businesses to take the longest to pay their bills.

Medium sized firms (101 to 500 employees) were the fastest at paying their bills and were also the business types to the see the biggest October to November improvement (falling 16.0 per cent to 19.22 days).

Agriculture, forestry and fishing continued to be the sector that paid its overdue bills the fastest as in the previous year. it was also the sector to see the biggest month-on-month improvement (falling 16.6 per cent to 10.28 days).

The IT sector saw the biggest year on year improvement in payment performance (falling 46.6 per cent to 16.58 days).
As in October, the postal and telecommunications sector was the biggest late payment culprit.

Joe Myers, Head of Commercial Credit at Experian’s Business Information division, said: "As a whole, this is quickest that UK businesses have paid their bills since April 2008, a potential sign of increasing confidence as firms feel less inclined to hoard cash. However, these are still early days and businesses still need to be cautious and pay close attention to payment performance data by using resources, such as Experian’s Payment Performance Scheme."

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