Late payments are attracting significant attention in the U.K., but recent cases in the U.S., Australia and Europe make it clear: Suppliers are struggling to get paid on time everywhere.
U.K.-based MarketInvoice, which links SMEs to invoice financing solutions, has released new analysis on where late payments are plaguing small suppliers the hardest. According to the research, published Monday (Feb. 29), more than 70 percent of invoices across the globe are paid late.
France has the highest rate of late payments, with more than three-quarters of all bills paid beyond their due date. Unsurprisingly, the U.K. came in second, with more than 62 percent of invoices paid late.
The U.S. stands with 45.7 percent of supplier bills paid beyond their due dates.
Meanwhile, there were a few countries that stood out not only for on-time payments but for businesses actually paying their suppliers earlier than necessary.
Japanese businesses take the least amount of time to pay their suppliers, with bills settled an average of 6.5 days before their due date. Belgian firms pay 4.1 days early, and the Netherlands’ businesses pay about three days early. Switzerland, Germany and Ireland all landed on the board for their early payments, too, MarketInvoice found.
That compares to Australia, a market in which businesses take 26.4 days beyond an invoice due date to settle the account. In the U.S., late payments run more than seven days, on average, overdue, and U.K. businesses take about 5.6 days longer than the due date to pay.
When it comes to industry, retail is the smoking gun in late payments.
High street retailers take about 14 days past-due to settle bills, with eCommerce retailers taking 7.2 days.
That compares to banks, which take just 0.3 days past-due to settle bills. Small businesses in the U.K. are also relatively fast payers, taking 4.3 days beyond due dates, on average, to pay an invoice. Still, that’s longer than it takes FTSE 350 and FinTech companies.