UK SMEs ‘Lack Processes to Tackle Late Payments’

Although invoices make up nearly a third of all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) outgoing communications, most of the UK’s smaller firms struggle to manage their invoicing processes in an efficient and automated way, reports Neopost.

A survey of 280 UK SMEs, conducted for the mailing solutions specialist by OpinionWay, found that 54% of companies still produce and dispatch their invoices one by one – an extremely time-consuming and costly approach.

In addition, 77% stated that they need to manually add information to their invoices, while 22% admitted they did not know whether or definitely did not tracked their invoices, hampering their ability to identify and chase late payers.

While electronic invoicing is increasingly praised for the efficiency savings it brings, the research also revealed that many businesses are still unsure of the compliance regulations associated with e-invoicing. For example, half of the survey respondents did not know whether their invoices needed electronic certification, while 63% were unaware of the compliance issues related to sending these documents electronically.

“These statistics clearly indicate that too many small businesses still rely on inefficient, unsustainable invoicing procedures,” said Erwan Kernevez, digital solutions director at Neopost.

“While it’s true that invoice recipients have a duty to pay them on time, SMEs need to do everything they possibly can to get paid on time – and this means optimising their entire invoicing process. In such a fast-paced business environment, where time is of the essence, firms simply cannot afford to take time and resources away from their key business activities in order to support mundane tasks, such as manually amending or tracking invoices.

“E-invoicing, which is gaining popularity throughout Europe, can help UK SMEs become more efficient, reduce their costs and ensure regulatory compliance. In essence, it removes the time challenges associated with paper invoicing by automatically generating tailored invoices which are stamped with an easily traceable electronic pathway that allows the sender to check they’ve been received.

With some recent reports suggesting that
UK small businesses are struggling to grow
– or even survive – because of late payments, it is now absolutely vital that they have these kinds of tools and processes in place.”

recent focus on tackling the problem of late payments


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