£24 Billion now owed to British SMEs

With £24 billion* now owed to British SMEs in late payments, a new guide for businesses, designed to highlight the cash flow and debt collection benefits of using automated payment methods, has been launched.

The Automated Payment Method Guide has been developed by Bacs Payment Schemes Ltd (Bacs), the organisation behind Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit, and the Institute of Credit Management (ICM), as the latest addition to the hugely popular Managing Cashflow Guide series.

The guides, which are supported by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and endorsed by Lord Sugar, are designed to help businesses promote best payment practice under the guidelines laid out in the Prompt Payment Code. They have been downloaded more than 200,000 times since they were first launched in July 2009.

Mike Hutchinson, head of marketing at Bacs, said: “This new Automated Payment Method Guide provides an overview of the various automated payment methods available currently, and even more importantly, the benefits they can bring, such as direct cost savings, better cashflow, and greater reliability.”

Philip King, Chief Executive of the ICM, added: “Credit managers have two aims in keeping the cash flowing through their business. They want to ensure they are paid promptly, within terms and conditions that are negotiated and confirmed in advance, and they want to be guaranteed that the money is in the bank on the day that it was agreed.

“Payment transfer by electronic means is therefore an essential weapon in the credit manager’s armoury to ensure payments are received on the day they are due, without delay, and with none of the uncertainty and inconvenience associated with cheques.”

Bacs and the ICM announced a working partnership last year primarily to drive further awareness of the Prompt Payment Code and promote the importance of paying on time, across the whole business community.

The guide can be accessed at: www.creditmanagement.org.uk/berrguides.htm

*Bacs Late Payments Research – November 2010

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