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Recent data from a UK based finance company, MarketInvoice, shows that Australian businesses, especially larger corporations and Government departments, are the worst in the world when it comes to paying invoices in a timely manner.
The report, which you can read here, shows that, on average in Australia, it takes 26.4 days for an invoice to be paid. In direct comparison the Japanese are renowned for paying on time and, on average, pay an invoice 6.5 days prior to the due date.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, said in an interview with ABC 702 Breakfast, "[T]hose are the companies that they’ve got a capacity to pay quicker. And yes, they’re doing it because they can, they’re using small business people fundamentally as banks I suppose – very cheap banks – and we just think that’s not acceptable; it's impacting upon on our economy, so we’ve launched today an inquiry into this."
By sector, banks were the the best payers, typically settling their accounts 1 day past the due date with supermarkets and eCommerce merchants paying 7 days after the due date. High-street retailers typically settled their accounts 2 weeks past the due date.
The inquiry, The Payment Times and Practices Inquiry, launched by Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, aims to possibly introduce regulations that will punish larger organisations that are late paying small business.
You can provide feedback to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman via their website.
We will continue to monitor the progress of the inquiry and provide updates as they become available.