Posted by Link4 Team on 10/05/2018
It’s becoming widely known that Australian businesses are one of the worst offenders in late invoice payments, 26.4 days late and it’s no wonder small businesses are experiencing major cash flow problems.
However, small businesses aren’t solely to blame for Australia’s late invoice payments culture, larger businesses use their market power to take advantage of smaller businesses so that they can pay at a much later date. Small business owners and bookkeepers that operate on tight cash flow are reluctant to send letters of demand for late invoice payments for fear of negatively affecting business relationships.
The growing cash flow epidemic
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell mentioned in her report that 57% of businesses use credit cards due to late payments to their business. This highlights the growing trend of cash flow problems among small businesses. An estimated 90% of small businesses are failing due to cash flow problems, and the late payment of invoices has a damaging trickle-down effect. Carnell stated that late invoice payments are the “silent killers” of small businesses.
“57% of businesses use credit cards due to late payments to their business” – Kate Carnell, ASBFE Ombudsman.
Small businesses are being treated like cheap lines of credit for larger businesses as almost half of all small businesses are owed more than $20,000 from late invoice payments. It becomes a daunting process to chase up late invoice payments because it takes time out of managing daily business activities for small business owners.
The ombudsman’s report found that while business owners are more focused on operating and growing the business, only 87.5% of small business owners are spending less than 5 hours a week chasing up invoices. With e-Invoicing it is possible to automate the Accounts payable and receivable process for small business owners through e-Invoicing software. The software provides Cloud-based Accounting solutions that can collate invoices automatically so that you can follow and keep track of outstanding invoices.
A majority of small business owners are spending less than 5 hours a week chasing up late invoice payments because they’re focused on building the business – this disruption in cash flow creates a damaging effect. e-Invoicing allows small business owners to save time by cutting down the hours needed to collate invoices and use that time to follow up on late invoice payments.
Reluctance to follow up on late invoices
Small business owners not only deal with the stress of cash flow problems as a result of late invoice payments but must balance business relationships. A pain point for bookkeepers and small business owners alike is chasing up late invoices because they know it can be an annoyance or exhibit a lack of goodwill. The fear that it can negatively impact the business relationship and jeopardise future work prospects puts those affected to deal with high stress as they try to find the best compromise.
Small business owners are reluctant to issue stern letters of demand, begin legal proceedings when owed money or engage debt collection agencies for large businesses for fear of the unintended negative consequences. Although big businesses will issue such statements for even small amounts, the problem with big businesses is that they take advantage of the goodwill of small businesses. It’s important that small business owners take action to streamline their e-Invoicing processes so that they can get paid faster.
With e-Invoicing automation software, invoices are sent directly to the business’ Accounting software and the payment statuses can help ease the burden of keeping track of invoices. Reminders can be sent from the software which will allow another communication channel to help notify and alert suppliers on late invoice payments. This automation process allows small business owners to only contact suppliers when it’s time to improve the business relationship.
To find out more check our blog post on the benefits of e-Invoicing here.
e-Invoicing helps get you paid faster so that you can improve your business’s cash flow. With Link4’s freemium plan you can start sending 50 e-Invoices a month instantly: Sign Up For Free