Small impact on late payments from the small business commissioner

Packing  a small punch

The small business commissioner has put the “small” into late payment collections.

Paul Uppal, who was appointed by the government  as small business commissioner with the remit to tackle the longstanding issue of late payments to small suppliers, has assisted in the recovery of  just £2.1 million in unpaid invoices on behalf of small companies during his first year and has refused to reveal how many companies have been helped.

The small business commissioner defended that position, saying that “Building trust takes time”  and therefore he was not willing to reveal the number of businesses assisted without getting their agreement first.

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), were reported to say that many small business owners were not even aware that help was available. Mr Uppal’s role was created in 2016 to promote responsible payment practices and to mediate on payment disputes between small and large companies. The former Conservative MP can make non-binding recommendations on how parties should resolve their disputes, but cannot levy fines.

Mr Uppal claimed that despite the slow start, his office was seeing “quite a spike” in companies wanting help. Though what help he was providing, was not clear.  He added: “There is a lot more going on in regards to the late payment landscape than just late payments. The majority of the complaints we receive are in fact in relation to not paying to terms, contract disputes, invoice disputes, quality of service and goods provided.”

According to the Office of the Small Business Commissioner, it has been set up to help resolve late payment disputes between small businesses and larger businesses. This is a free service however they  do not offer a debt recovery service. If you are a small business that has late payment issues with larger companies then they invite you  to contact the Office of the Small Business commissioner with your complaint. Please send your complaint to : complaints@smallbusinesscommissioner.gov.uk.

But from their own figures, it is clear they do not resolve many  complaints and it looks more like a political effort to be seen to do something rather than actually effectively challenge the late payment culture in the UK.

CPA is disappointed but not surprised that the small business  commissioner has been so ineffective. His office has no real power. He cannot impose any form of penalty on persistently late payers and this seriously undermines his position.

The business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) select committee this week called for the small business commissioner to be given the power to issue fines but that would seem to be a long way off as of yet.

Packing a big punch

Rather than ask a former conservative MP with no real power for help with your complaint regarding late payment, why not ask some professionals to actually collect it?

Don’t settle for “small” complaint resolutions, get large collections.  Trading for over 100 years,  CPA have collected billions, not millions for our members.

At the Credit Protection Association,we provide a suite of credit management services to help you avoid and deal with late payers.

How CPA can help

We provide first class credit information that can help you avoid being over extended to customers who are at risk.

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

Our debt recovery services also chase down late payers, resolving over 80% of debts referred, recovering  money that our members can use to boost their cashflow.

Our members have used this extra cash to invest in additional materials, new staff, extra equipment or new technology,  to boost their business.

At the same time, our credit checks and credit reports are utilised by our members to investigate all suppliers and customers. It is important to scrutinise everyone within your business, to ensure their financial history will show no bad payment behaviour or maltreatment of suppliers. Our reports help avoid bad payers or being over extended to a customer beyond their means.

We come across business owners who have decided to scale back their businesses and stop selling on credit because the hassles were not worth it.

Our services have helped them trade again in confidence

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.

James Salmon, Operations Director, 6th December 2018

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