As Australian regulators inquire about the speed with which businesses pay their small- and medium-sized business (SMB) suppliers, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) is reportedly taking steps to create a national register for such data.
Earlier this year, the Ombudsman probed B2B payment practices and times. After analysis, the ASBFEO — along with the Council of Small Business Australia and others — has recommended the creation of a National Payment Transparency Register. In a notice posted on the Ombudsman’s website, the ASBFEO is now inviting companies to submit payment times so they can be published online. Small suppliers, meanwhile, are invited to raise concerns about how their invoices are getting paid.
That includes a change in payment contracts and agreements, extensions in payment times or practices by individual corporate customers, according to the official notice.
Earlier this year, the Australian government said it would begin paying its own suppliers within 20 days following recommendations from the ASBFEO. The invoice payment terms mean more than 6,800 government contractors with contracts up to $1 million will be paid within 20 days, and all as part of the government’s broader efforts to curb late B2B payment practices.
Analysis from the Ombudsman’s office found that half of Australia’s small businesses have more than $20,000 owed to them by larger businesses that delay their invoice payments.
Ombudsman Kare Carnell has made several steps to raise awareness of and address late B2B payments across Australia, as well as to promote SMBs’ access to finance. In October, Carnell suggested the creation of a taxpayer-backed state bank to provide capital to small business borrowers in need of funds.