Late payment pressure eases

The pressure placed on businesses by payments being made late is easing, according to research from global information services company Experian.

The latest data shows that payment performance improved in the last quarter of 2011. Large firms were responsible for biggest improvement, as businesses with between 101 and 500 employees were three quarters of a day faster in paying their invoices than they were in quarter three 2011.

Commenting on the figures, Jason Mills, head of payment performance at Experian UK and Ireland said: "Payment performance is the timeliest indicator of the current health of any business, so the overall improvement suggests that during the last three months of 2011, pressure on cash flow and finances was more manageable for most businesses.

"Feedback from our larger customers demonstrates awareness and understanding of the struggles faced by some of their key SME suppliers so are prioritising payments to them, to better support them.

"The only firms to see an increase in their payment performance from Q3 to Q4 were firms with three to five employees. The increase, however, was very small and is a timely reminder for smaller firms to credit check potential new and current business customers for signs of possible non-payment before it is too late."