UK firms have sped up their late bill paying processes, according to the latest figures from market watcher Experian.
On average, Experian claimed UK firms paid their bills 24.67 days after agreed terms, compared with 25.33 days in the first quarter of 2011.
Top of the improvement list is the corporates with 501 employees or more, which paid up 31.54 days after agreed terms in Q1 2012, compared with 33.69 days beyond agreed terms in Q1 2011. This is the fastest large firms have paid their late bills since Q4 2007.
Companies with 101 to 501 employees saw the second-fastest rate of improvement, cutting payment times by almost 24 hours from 24.62 days in Q1 2011 to 23.67 days in Q1 2012.
Drilling down into sectors, the IT industry saw a slight improvement, with firms taking an average of 22.22 days to pay late bills in Q1 2012, compared with 22.5 days in the same quarter the previous year.
Max Firth, UK managing director of Experian’s business information services division, said: “Across the UK we have now seen two quarters of improving payment performance, which suggests that an increasing number of firms are creating and enforcing more robust credit management and collection policies.”
“The improvement seen by the UK’s largest businesses is supported by the feedback we have had from some of our larger clients. They are keen to better understand and address the impact of their payment behaviour on smaller suppliers, and are using payment performance data to find out where they are having the greatest impact and where things can be improved.”
Regionally, the West Midlands saw the most improved performance from 26.69 days in Q1 2011 to 23.92 days in Q1 2012.
The North West was the only region to see its average payment performance deteriorate, from 29.14 days in Q1 2011 to 35.23 days in Q1 2012.