Billson blasts big business for late bill payments

Bruce Billson. Source: SmallBizWeek

Small Business and Family Business Ombudsman Bruce Billson has eviscerated more than half of Australia’s big businesses that don’t pay their suppliers on time.

Large companies are not even meeting the 30-day payment target as large companies have sought to improve their on-time performance on the bill-paying front, a new report reveals.

“This is an incredibly disappointing result. I call on big business across the country to show leadership, respect and care for our small businesses and pay their bills on time,” Billson said.

“Small businesses don’t ask to be paid early, just to be paid on time. Simply put, good deals pay off.

Billson’s remarks are based on the Payment Times Reporting Regulator’s second report, which details the payment policies of 7,000 companies with annual revenue of more than $100 million, which found that a majority of entities did not follow their own payment policies for small businesses.

“I applaud businesses that pay on time and especially those that pay their small business customers in less than 30 days. But this report tells us that far too many large companies are failing to pay on time,” Billson said.

“COVID-19 has compounded the problem. Payment disputes represent 40% of support requests received by our office. Before COVID-19, this proportion was around 25%.

Billson said the issue of cash flow was critical for small businesses and the inability of businesses to pay their suppliers meant small business owners were struggling to stay afloat.

“As COVID-19 infection rates take their toll with disease and the availability of staff, more is being asked of owners and managers of small businesses and family businesses as they seek to cover gaps in the roster and sick days among their teams just to keep their doors open to serve their communities and they shouldn’t be further disadvantaged by not getting paid,” Billson said.

This article was first published by Mandarin.

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