The Small Business Commissioner calls for ‘human approach’ to payments

Covid-19 lock-down business news update 29 May 2020.

29 May 2020.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

I will get to the small business commissioner in a second. But while the Covid-19 lock-down continues here are CPA we want to  share the business news stories we have seen that we think will affect our members and readers.

Many of us are busy fighting to protect our businesses and therefore might have missed some of the news that could impact small businesses, their owners and those that sell on credit. So have a read of what we have seen below.

The Small Business Commissioner calls for ‘human approach’ to payments

The government is asking large accountancy practices and their clients to consider the human impact of their actions when it comes to paying invoices from small businesses.

The Small Business Commissioner and Small Business Minister have issued a joint letter to the top two tiers of UK accounting firms, asking that small business suppliers continue to receive payments promptly.

The letter states there is “no excuse” for late payment to SMEs, and the entire business community should “work together in a spirit of collaboration and partnership”.

Despite the government’s emergency financial support packages for large companies, the move reflects concerns that larger businesses have been turning off the taps on payments to suppliers in order to build cash buffers.

Delaying or stopping payments to their small business supply chain could choke hundreds of thousands small business that are already struggling, pushing them over the edge.

“At the very least,” continued the letter, “we believe individual conversations should take place to ensure any impact of actions taken are fully understood, and flexibility can be shown where appropriate.”

A human approach

The Small Business Commissioner,  Philip King said the communication is around “prevention rather than reaction”.

“We’re trying to make sure businesses are aware of the impact of their actions and transform a corporate approach to a more humanised one. For a big corporate it’s 10 rows on a spreadsheet, but for a microbusiness, it’s potentially food on the table.”

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner also stated that from its many conversations with small business owners, there was “strong evidence” that failing to receive an expected payment will have a major impact on well-being and mental health.

In a statement, Small Business Minister Paul Scully commented that the issue of late payment continues to have an impact on smaller businesses, and said it was “vital” that all businesses act responsibly and continue to pay suppliers and businesses promptly.

A government statement accompanying the letter said it was “determined to protect lives and livelihoods through the coronavirus pandemic. This includes offering an unprecedented package of support to businesses, including up to £11.6bn in grants to small businesses in England, of which £9.9bn has already been paid out.

“Every business with a rateable value below £15,000 will receive a grant of up to £10,000,” continued the statement. “Eligible larger businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries are eligible to receive up to £25,000 if they have a rateable value above £15,000 but below £51,000.”

SMEs face large costs due to coronavirus

SMEs in the UK will face costs of £12,000 each on average due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey by business insurer Simply Business reveals.

The study shows that two in five small business owners fear their business is at risk of permanent closure.

A poll of 3,700 SMEs saw three quarters say they expect to begin trading again soon but more than one in four expect to be out of business within six months.

It was also shown that two thirds had paused trading and three in five respondents felt they had been supported by the Government.

Covid-19 general news

Lock-downs are easing across Europe, although guidance differs everywhere. French cafes, bars and restaurants will reopen Tuesday while here in the UK, where business confidence remains rock-bottom and where people are still mostly staying at home, the government will allow up to six people from different households to meet up, as long as they do so outside, socially distance and wash their hands.

Police said Dominic Cummings, political adviser to the PM, might have committed a “minor breach” of lock-down rules by making a 50-mile round trip to a beauty spot in north-eastern England (his decision to move his family 250 miles to his parents’ farm was not censured). Forty of Mr Johnson’s fellow Conservative MPs have called for Mr Cummings’s removal.

The Premier League has agreed, subject to government approval on a  June 17 restart following coronavirus suspension. With the Premier League set to restart its season next month, KPMG analysis suggests playing out the remaining fixtures behind closed doors will mean clubs face £152m-£161m in lost gate receipts.

Test centres struggle to match results to patient records – The Guardian looks at coronavirus testing amid reports that health officials in England and Scotland are struggling to match hundreds of thousands of test results to patient records. It notes that rapid-testing centres were set up by the Department of Health and Social Care with help from management consultants at Deloitte


The FTSE 100 posted its third consecutive day of gains yesterday, closing at 6,218 points, whilst the 250 also traded higher, closing at 17,338 points.

Investors seemed to shake off concerns over China’s controversial new security law in Hong Kong, and it was broadly a risk-on session across European markets.

US Markets fell late Thursday, giving up gains that had held up through most of the afternoon. The market was spooked by President Trump’s comments that he’ll hold a news conference on China on Friday.

Asian Markets mostly fell in early trading Friday, ahead of a news conference by President Donald Trump regarding China

BoE policymaker: Economy may struggle to recover

Bank of England policymaker Michael Saunders has warned that Britain’s economy is unlikely to recover fully from the “searing experience” of the coronavirus over the next two to three years.

He warned: “If unchecked, there are risks of a vicious circle, whereby the economy gets stuck in a self-feeding loop of weak activity, pessimistic expectations and low investment.”

Consumer confidence among millennials climbs

Research from PwC shows that consumer confidence among millennials has risen during the coronavirus lockdown, with sentiment on expectations of future disposable income and shopping behaviour among the 25 to 34 age group up from minus seven in April to 16 this month.

Those between 55 and 64 were the most worried about their financial prospects, with a net sentiment of minus 31.

Overall sentiment was minus 12, marking an improvement on April’s minus 26. The study saw 19% of respondents say they had lost some or all of their income through job losses or furlough, while 39% said that their financial situation had not been adversely affected since March and 19% had saved more money.

Lisa Hooker at PwC said: “The results show that some consumers do expect to have more disposable income, and are willing to spend it,” adding: “So, with the planned loosening of restrictions on non-essential retail in June coupled with policies to achieve social distancing, the high street has the potential to benefit from some bounce back and quickly.”

Test-and-trace plan sees employers asked to pay wages of self-isolating staff

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said employers should pay self-isolating staff members’ wages to under the new coronavirus test-and-trace system.

He remarked: “If you are instructed by the NHS, for public health reasons, to stay at home then that is the equivalent in employment law to being ill and it is very important that employers are flexible about this.”

Call for extension for self employed

A group of 113 MPs have signed a letter urging Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the £6.8b billion covid-19 relief package for self-employed workers.

The letter, written by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, said people across the country would be “left without work and without support” if the scheme is not extended past its current June end date.

Employers to pay 20% under furlough scheme change

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce a change in the Job Retention Scheme that would see employers required to pay a portion of the wages of their furloughed staff from August.

While the Government currently pays 80% of wages for workers, the Treasury is set to announced that employers will be required to put forward 20% of this amount as of August – as well as covering their national insurance and pension contributions.

The move would mean furloughed staff receive the same amount while the Government’s share of the burden is reduced. Reports suggest that the scheme will also be closed to new entrants from the end of June.

Monsoon Accessorize on the brink

Monsoon Accessorize is expected to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators, in a move that would put 3,500 retail jobs at risk.

Peter Simon, the retailer’s founder, is thought to be considering another rescue deal despite pumping £12m into the business last year.

However, it is believed that FRP Advisory is set to be appointed to run an insolvency process. The chain is also in talks with landlords to secure a rent holiday until business is more stable again.

Vacancies fall almost 60%

Job vacancies in the UK are down nearly 60% this month as the coronavirus crisis saw the fastest rise in unemployment in over 70 years.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics and job search engine Adzuna revealed that vacancies fell from 820,000 at the beginning of April to 373,000 in May.

Low-income workers have been hardest hit by the crisis, with 64% of job losses hitting workers earning between £15,000 and £25,000.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, commented: “The direct impact COVID-19 has had on sectors such as hospitality and retail has been catastrophic and is likely to take some time to recover. I’m given some solace by the fact that in the last two-three weeks, the analysis suggests hiring looks to be turning a corner and returning to growth, albeit from a low base.”

Combining taxes would simplify UK contributions

A letter to the FT suggests that combining income tax with employees’ and employers’ National Insurance tax into a two-rate tax could see personal taxation “greatly simplified”.

UK Car industry

The UK Car Industry made just 197 cars in April as the shuttering of factories due to the covid-19 pandemic sent production flatlining. Total production dropped 99.7%, with the lowest number of cars built in one month since the Second World War, according to new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Claims for IHT refunds double

New data reveals that the number of people reclaiming overpaid inheritance tax (IHT) as a result of falling share prices has more than doubled in the last two years.

Figures show that 1,850 people claimed back overpaid IHT in 2019/20. This was an increase of almost 1,000 compared to the 2017/18 tax year, when fewer than 860 submitted refund requests.

While IHT must be paid by the estate within six months of a death it can take more than a year for assets to be sold and released among inheritors. With the COVID-19 pandemic seeing a sharp downturn in the stock market, some estates will have paid taxes on money that no longer exists.

Sean McCann of advisers NFU Mutual said many executors would be in a position to make a claim for a refund due to declines across stock markets, noting that an expected dip in property values could also prompt refund claims.

Don’t let Covid-19 bust your business!

 It will if your cash flow dries up, either sooner or later.

The Credit Protection Association (CPA) has been assisting thousands of UK businesses to get paid since 1914. We have seen many financial crises, this one will be particularly deadly for suppliers for sometime to come.

CPA eases cash from tardy debtors – Efficiently, Effectively, Economically and Ethically. Above all tactfully, because maintenance of goodwill is paramount.

To meet the needs of creditors in the current crisis, we have designed a “critical care” package especially tailored for the situation.

  • The annual package costs start at very low rates
  • A minimum performance warranty is provided
  • Several complimentary services included

Clients instruct CPA on-line via their PC or phone, completely user-friendly. Your late paying customers are told to pay you direct (not to us).

A very recent report shows a 23% increase in the number of unpaid invoices since March 11th THIS YEAR – are you getting a build-up of late payers?

 Right now, overdue accounts must be a concern and CPA has a great track record of encouraging slow-payers to pay their suppliers quickly.

It takes less than 17 minutes to see how you would benefit, do you have the time now?

No face-to-face meeting required – just call Peter Uwins, CPA’s National Sales Manager, on 020 8846 0000 (business hours) or email today.

When you see your money come in, you will be so glad you used CPA.

Do you sell on credit?

With pressures on the cash flow it is essential that you stay on top of the credit limits you grant customers and watch carefully for any late payments.

Those customers will look for the easiest option  to boost their cash-flow. Don’t let it be you.

You can’t just assume your customers can and will pay you eventually, no matter how big their name is.

It is essential to have credit management systems in place to monitor and check your customers credit worthiness.

It is also best practice to use a trusted third party like CPA to make sure you are paid on time by customers, no matter how good a name they have.

About CPA

The Credit Protection Association can help!

Formed in 1914, CPA has been providing credit management services to SMEs for over 100 years.

At the Credit Protection Association, we provide first class credit information that can help you avoid being over extended to customers who are at risk. Our monitoring service can flag up warning signs long before the end, giving you the chance to adjust and reduce your exposure. We provide recommended credit limits and credit scores on a traffic light system and can help you set appropriate credit policies for your customers.

We regularly publish lists of the latest insolvencies but by then it is too late. Our credit reports however predict approximately 96% of company insolvencies long before they arrive.

Companies in trouble usually have very bad cash flow and they try to deal with it by delaying payment to their suppliers, increasing your exposure to them.

If you supply on credit, help us help you identify the risks.

Why use a third party collector?

As a third party collector, we can also get your payments prioritised over those who are not as hot on collections. When your customer receives a letter from the Credit Protection Association regarding their outstanding account, they are going to want to get that resolved as a priority. Our overdue account recovery service can get your unpaid invoices to the top of their “to do” list and get your invoice paid.

Over the years we have collected billions in overdue invoices for our customers.

Our debt recovery and credit management services give our members the financial freedom needed to grow and prosper, while our new Late Payment Compensation department could unlock hidden potential and offer the compensation needed to springboard your business to success.

You might be hesitant about contacting a debt collection agency. What are they going to be like?

Can they help your particular type of business?

There is no need for concern. CPA are courteous, helpful and very probably have had direct experience of working with your type of business.

Debt collection agencies are not all alike.

Success lies in both recovering money and keeping customers happy. The Credit Protection Association was founded in 1914 and  has helped tens of thousands of UK businesses to collect outstanding payments and reduce the risk of incurring bad debt. We believe that creditors deserve to be paid for the work or goods they have supplied but we fully understand the need to maintain
the best possible relationship with customers!

At The Credit Protection Association, we provide solutions, advice and back-up in all areas relating to the supply of services or goods on account. Client-members receive everything they need from a single source to reduce debtor days and write-offs.

The Credit Protection Association has helped has assisted tens of thousands of UK businesses with their credit control requirements, since the First World War.

We are polite, firm and efficient when it comes to recovering outstanding debt.

“We have used CPA for a number of years now. The website is easy to navigate around with lots of helpful reports. The staff are always at hand and very friendly. CPA has  helped us reduce our debt over the years and keep track of potential issues with our customers.”
~ CPA client in Buckinghamshire

“The service from CPA has proved to be everything that you said it would be. We have already seen a huge benefit. We have had a number of overdue accounts paid promptly and directly to us. It is also a huge weight off our mind to know that once we have passed an overdue payment over to you, you take care of everything whilst keeping us informed.
~ Credit Controller client in Warrington

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections


Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

CPA is passionate about late payment

The Credit Protection Association has been protecting smaller firms against poor payment practices for over 100 years.

We are extremely passionate about breaking the late payment culture that holds back the UK economy and threatens many SMEs with cash flow difficulties being the single biggest killer of Britain’s small businesses.

If you were regularly paid late we can help. Those former customers used you to boost their own cashflow, regularly paying you late.

As a result you had extra costs, you had the distraction of having to chase payment, you had opportunity costs because your capital was tied up in their late invoices.

Under little used legislation, you are entitled to compensation for those late payments.

Now you can boost your own cash-flow.

CPA can help unearth the those hidden treasures.

We have the technology to reveal the compensation you are due and we have the extensive experience and expertise to then turn those claims into cash.

Yes, CPA can help you boost your business cash-flow.

Don’t let your bankers control you, contact CPA today.

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections

Read our blog here on how to crack down on the late payment culture.

Read our blog here on how to give late payers the slap they need.

The “Why” of the late payment culture.

New PM should walk the walk and back small firms over late payments

Paying late is “crack cocaine” to big business.

Late payment culture risks “spiraling out of control”

visit our late payment compensation page

See our full blog and FAQ on late payment compensation

Do you realise you could be sitting on a fortune?

Late payments often result in a cash flow crunch and leave SMEs in need of a cash injection.

If you sold B2B on credit then there may be a hidden source of capital you can call on.

If you fancy an bit of extra cash in your business, rather than jumping through hoops with your bank, you could look to uncover the resources from an unexpected source within your own business.

Not many are aware but there could be a hidden fortune within your business, sitting there, just waiting to be uncovered and released.

We can help you uncover the pile of gold, you didn’t even know you were sitting on.

If you trade with other businesses and were often paid late then you could be entitled to significant compensation.

Under little known and under-utilised legislation your business could be due huge amounts in compensation that you didn’t even know about.

Let’s be clear – this is not a way to weaken any customer relationships you value. It is one that identifies who’s been paying late and then recover the potentially significant sums in compensation using Late Payment Legislation from businesses where the relationship has already ended.

You can pick and choose who you want us to follow up – but once we’ve agreed which companies you’d like to pursue compensation from it’s a fast process and there’s no financial outlay to you whatsoever. My team at CPA put its expertise to work to recover the compensation due and fight late payment culture.

That compensation could provide the cash boost your business needed.

But don’t delay, that compensation evaporates if not claimed within six years of the late payment.

How can CPA help?

CPA has developed a unique technology to dig into your accounting records and discover the cash injection you are due by means of compensation. The software does all the hard work. Our software interacts over the cloud with over 300 different software packages, working directly with your accounts package, just so long as it’s stored on a computer.

We recognise that most companies do not have the resources to spend time on the identification and calculation of Late Payment Compensation. Our service can produce an Analyses within just a few days with (usually) less than 30 mins of co-operation from our clients. We work directly with over 300 accounting packages but can also work with bespoke accounts packages. Indeed, speed is essential as the oldest invoices may fall foul of the 6-year time limit.

Once the Sales Ledger Analyses is made available to clients, all that is required is that management decide which commercially sensitive ex-customers to remove from the list and return it to us.

CPA then uses its years of collection experience to explain and recover the Late Payment Compensation Claims. Clients do not handle any part of the recovery process as our team will take all communications from the companies against who the claims has been made. Often, it’s simply a case of explaining the legislation, sometimes we have to go all the way and enforce the legislation through the courts.

The result is that we are realising clients’ claims worth tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds which, of course, is pure net profit.  You may also be among the recipients of “hundreds of thousands of pounds” should you elect to take advantage of our services.

We do the work, you receive the cash.

If you have supplied goods and services to businesses on credit and were regularly paid late then you could be due significant sums in late payment compensation.

We are talking to companies and unearthing claims in the hundreds of thousands from former business customers who paid them late. Large business customers who abused their power to inflict unfair and sometimes illegal payment practices.

We are helping business owners  who are looking to boost the returns from their business before they retire. We are helping businesses who have lost major clients after years of loyal service to get properly compensated for systematic late payment. We are helping companies that were looking to close down, who looked insolvent and finding that cash injection they need to avoid insolvency.

Those former clients who regularly paid you late can finally be made to pay.

Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

The Credit Protection Association is a credit management company established in 1914. If you supply goods or services on credit then we can help you!

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections

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