£1.8bn owed to small and medium companies

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South Yorkshire’s small and medium sized businesses could be owed more than £1.8 billion in overdue debts, according to Sheffield solicitors Wake Smith.

The law firm’s debt recovery manager, Louisa Kearns, is urging companies to reduce the damage debts cause to their cash flow.

She says practical steps include highlighting payments terms and contacting customers before an invoice becomes due, to ensure they have received it, there is no problem with the goods and services provided and payment has been approved and will be made by the due date.

Louisa Kearns is also advising SMEs to be prepared to use their right to claim interest and compensation for late payment.

She said: “Taking practical steps before the invoice becomes due can help reduce the time spent waiting and often eliminates the age old excuses which are heard time and time again such as, we haven’t received your invoices, or our payment terms are 60 days.”

“You can claim interest and compensation once your payment is deemed late, unless your contract makes provision for late payment interest in which case the right to statutory interest and reasonable debt recovery costs will not apply but you can still claim interest in accordance with your contract.”