ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
It's encouraging that in their statement the Government and the Small Business Economic Forum are putting their weight behind electronic invoicing - the UK is far from a leader in Europe in this regard. While e-invoicing can't protect suppliers from the most unscrupulous customers, it does help ensure prompt payment in most cases. But it needs to be driven by major customers first, and cascaded throughout their supply chains. This is where the influence of Government can be crucial
—Manos Schizas, senior economic analyst, ACCA

Prompt payment vital for ensuring the survival of small and medium sized businesses, says ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is one of the main signatories to the Government’s Prompt Payment statement, issued today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and signed by the members of the Small Business Economic Forum.

Along with other key business and industry bodies, ACCA is committed to helping getting businesses paid on time.

Manos Schizas, ACCA’s senior economic analyst, says: 'This is a timely reminder that prompt payment is vital for ensuring the survival of small and medium sized businesses. Some late payment is inevitable in hard times, but most cases can be avoided without pushing customers over the edge by following good practice. 

'We congratulate the Small Business Economic Forum for driving this agenda and are proud to be able to help them with our own guidance.'

 Earlier this year, ACCA along with Experian, the Forum of Private Business, and the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) jointly published a guide called Get Paid! A guide for owners and managers of small businesses. This was taken from more detailed research findings commissioned by ACCA.

This guide is aimed at businesses who are trying to avoid or manage late payment and includes eight headline tips for SMEs:

  1. Don’t make credit management subordinate to sales
  2. Treat credit management as an enabler of sales, not an obstacle
  3. Develop a well-defined credit policy and stick to it
  4. See the big picture
  5. Be organised about invoicing and collections 
  6. Know your customer
  7. Know your rights
  8. Invest in professional credit management.

Manos Schizas added: 'It's encouraging that in their statement the Government and the Small Business Economic Forum are putting their weight behind electronic invoicing - the UK is far from a leader in Europe in this regard. While e-invoicing can't protect suppliers from the most unscrupulous customers, it does help ensure prompt payment in most cases. But it needs to be driven by major customers first, and cascaded throughout their supply chains. This is where the influence of Government can be crucial.'

  1. The Small Business Economic Forum consists of business representative bodies and individual entrepreneurs. It is chaired by Mark Prisk and meets up to four times a year. Banks are invited to attend when finance matters are on the agenda. Its regular members are:
  • Mark Prisk – Minister for Business and Enterprise, BIS (Chair)
  • Lord Sassoon – Commercial Secretary to the Treasury
  • ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
  • British Chamber of Commerce
  • Confederation of British Industry
  • Social Enterprise Coalition
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  • Institute of Credit Managers
  • Forum of Private Business
  • EEF
  • Institute of Directors
  • Federation of Small Businesses
  • Individual entrepreneurs/small businesses

     2.  The Forum is a high-level platform for discussion. ACCA is               represented on the Forum through its Chief Executive,                 Helen Brand.
     3.  ACCA is a member of the UK E-invoicing Advocacy Group,               acknowledged by Government as the UK's Multistakeholder           Forum for E-invoicing. Every EU member state is expected             by the Commission to have a Multistakeholder Forum, and               the UK has been a strong driver of the European agenda on           e-invoicing by leading pan-European stakeholder                           engagement on good practice in the adoption of
          e-invoicing.