New commissioner to help businesses with their credit control
Small firms struggling to deal with business customers who are slow payers have new help in the form of a small business commissioner, writes Fleur Lewis.
The government says that a third of payments to small firms across the UK are late, and a fifth of all small businesses have cash flow problems resulting from slow payers who allow their debts to become overdue.
The new commissioner has launched a complaint-handling website (www.smallbusinesscommissioner.gov.uk) to help small firms resolve payment disputes. Paul Uppal says his mission is to ‘help all small businesses nurture positive and lasting relationships with their customers that work in the best interests of both’.
Mike Cherry, chairman of the FSB, welcomed the move and said that the FSB would encourage small businesses to use the service.
The appointment of a commissioner is one of a series of measures to tackle late payments. Rules came into force in April 2017 requiring large businesses to publically report the average time they take to pay their suppliers. This helps businesses to decide with whom they do business.
Firms can check when large businesses pay their suppliers on GOV.UK. To date, more than 200 of the UK’s largest businesses have submitted payment reports.
Fleur Lewis is a partner at Bishop Fleming Accountants
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