No IT budget for faster SME payments
Gov tightens fists
The government is not allocating funding to upgrade payment systems to meet the prime minister's commitment to pay small suppliers faster during the credit crunch.
The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), which is coordinating payment changes to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs), said that no budget has been allocated for administrative and IT changes, but that the cost to the exchequer of bringing forward £8bn worth of payments to 10 days would be about £16m in lost or added interest.
The process of change has already begun, according to BERR, and departments are reviewing their systems with the aim of driving up their payments performance.
The prime minister told the House of Commons on 8 October 2008 that cash flow is a particular problem for small companies during this critical time for the economy. Late payment problems, Brown said, have intensified, with all firms lengthening the time they take to pay their suppliers.
"The government can ease the situation, and we can help cash flow through prompt payment. The government has already agreed to move its procurement rules from payments within 30 days to a commitment to pay as soon as possible.
"In the current climate, we need to go further with a harder targets. We will therefore aim to make SME payments within 10 days. The government will pick up the cost of that, but it is a small price to pay for greatly increasing cash flow associated with £8bn of contracts with SMEs."
A range of measures to help departments to achieve this will be introduced by BERR. They include:
- Standard guidance to suppliers on how to submit invoices
- Ready access to guidance within the supplier's terms and conditions and on all public facing websites
- A common standard for establishing when an invoice is received
- A common standard for counting elapsed days
"Most departments will also need to invest in their internal compliance procedures to ensure that managers generate purchase orders and authorise payments correctly and speedily," a spokesperson for BERR told GC News.
This article was originally published at Kablenet.
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FD's have some..odd.. ideas about payment timescales.
This is how it usually plays out..
Day 1 - Invoice Submitted. Marked due within 14 days. Schedule call to chase payment in 30 days.
Day 31 - 'no we havent paid, i'll write the cheque right now'
Day 38 - 'i wrote the cheque but forgot to do anything with it, i'll put it into an envelope right now'
Day 45 - 'i put it in an envelope but didnt post it, i'll add it to the outgoing mailbag now'
Day 51 - 'we only send mail in the mailbag on fridays'
Day 60 - Ta Da! cheque arrives second class post, postmarked as having been sent that wednesday. Amount has been 'accidentally' written incorrectly in the favor of the company.. so 3435 becomes 3345.
A typo during invoice entry onto SAP you say? how convenient, I'm looking at the SAP DB right now, and it seems oddly correct....
There's always a way to fight back
I work for a small company with several large customers. We do service/maintenance/troubleshooting work. We publish our hourly rates very clearly, but for some strange reason work done for our slow-paying customer always seems to take several hours longer.
going in the wrong direction
my subcontracted government work for a certain large corporation with the framework contract for a high profile govt. dept. was just moved to 40 days instead of the previous 30 days.
Oh, no, it didn't cause me any issues at all that everyone's wages for that month were due about, ohhh, 10 days before the cheque came in. No, I **enjoy** fronting ten thousand pounds whilst a global megacorp sits on it's government money a bit longer. It makes me happy.