SMEs are still chasing unpaid invoices

The disruption of business, due to the coronavirus pandemic, has meant many companies are still waiting on unpaid invoices from their debtors.

According to a Freedom of Information request to the Small Business Commissioner (SBC), submitted by the UK Domain, there were 429 complaints regarding unpaid or late invoices from December 2017 to 8 July 2020.

This information was requested to find out the locations and business sectors that were affected the most by delayed payments or unpaid invoices in the private sector.

Business Services, which is defined as any service that supports commercial activity, had the highest percentage of invoice claims, totalling 23 per cent.

These can include advisory services such as Consultancy, Design, Health and Safety, HR advice, Marketing, Promotions, Recruitment and Reprographics.

The SBC has begun separately monitoring complaints in the Consultancy, Marketing and Recruitment services in hopes of resolving the issue, due to a large number of cases in these sectors.

Taking second place for their high percentage of invoice claims was the Construction and Engineering sector with 14 per cent, and taking third was Retail with 10 per cent.

The SBC found that the lowest amount of invoice claims belonged to Consumer, Financials and Recruitment sector, with only one per cent.

The percentage of invoice complaints submitted to the SBC per region are as follows:

  • Greater London – 12 per cent
  • North West – 9 per cent
  • West Midlands – 9 per cent
  • Northern Ireland – one per cent
  • Yorkshire – one per cent
  • Wales – One per cent
  • North East – none

“In a service-based economy, it is perhaps unsurprising that business services feature highly for the receipt of complaints”, says a spokesperson for the SBC.