“Incredibly disappointing”: Billson lashes big business over late invoice payments

ombudsman billson

Bruce Billson. Source: SmallBizWeek

Small Businesses and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson has eviscerated the more than half of big businesses in Australia that are failing to pay their suppliers on time.

A new report finds that big businesses are not even meeting the 30-day payment goal despite larger businesses having sought to improve their punctuality on the invoice-payment front.

“This is an incredibly disappointing result. I call on the nation’s big business to show leadership, respect and care for our small businesses and to pay their bills on time,” Billson said.

“Small businesses are not asking to be paid early, just to be paid on time. Put simply, good business pays.”

Billson’s remarks are based on the second report from the Payment Times Reporting Regulator, which details the payment policies of 7000 businesses with an annual turnover of more than $100 million, that found a majority of entities were not meeting their own payment policies for small businesses.

“I applaud those companies that are paying on time and particularly those who pay their small business customers in far fewer than 30 days. But this report tells us that far too many big businesses are falling well short of paying on time,” Billson said.

“COVID-19 has made the problem worse. Payment disputes represent 40% of requests for assistance received by our office. Prior to COVID-19, this proportion was around 25%.”

Billson said that the issue of cash flow was critical to small businesses and that the failure of companies to pay their suppliers meant small business owners were struggling to stay afloat.

“As COVID-19 infection rates play havoc with staffing illness and availability, more is being asked of small business and family enterprise owners and leaders as they seek to cover roster gaps and sick days amongst their teams just to keep their doors open to serve their communities and they should not be further disadvantaged by not being paid,” Billson said.

This article was first published by The Mandarin.

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