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SMBs struggle to pay bills on time

Over two-thirds of small businesses aren’t paying bills on time, with the number of organisations paying invoices more than three months late jumping to 20 percent.

According to new Dun & Bradstreet figures, Australian businesses are taking almost a full month longer than average to pay their bills, with national payment terms reaching 53.4 days during the June quarter 2011.

While business-to-business payment times improved marginally during the June quarter, two-thirds of businesses took longer than the standard 30-day period to pay company accounts.

The D&B ‘Trade Payment Analysis’ report found the number of severely delinquent payments (those 90 days or more overdue), jumped 20 percent compared with the June quarter 2010 – meaning some businesses are being forced to wait over three months for much needed cash.

The number of businesses paying trade accounts between 61 and 90 days late has also jumped, increasing by 36 percent since last year.

Smaller firms have struggled the most over the last 12 months, with payment terms blowing out by an average of two days compared with the June quarter 2010.

Although larger businesses are slowest payers, payment terms for bigger firms have deteriorated at a significantly slower rate than their smaller counterparts.

Payment terms reduced by three days during the June quarter, but remain at alarming levels compared with 12 months ago – indicating Aussie businesses are again exhibiting signs of financial strain.

“Individual businesses are the unsung bankers of our economy. Business to business lending through the extension of trade credit amounts to billions of dollars a year. The rate at which these micro-loans are being paid back is a key indicator of the health of Australian businesses,” Dun & Bradstreet CEO Christine Christian said.

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Lorna Brett

Lorna Brett

Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/dynamicbusiness">Twitter @DynamicBusiness</a>

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