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Wider availability of trade finance could have multiple benefits, including making corporate recovery easier for many firms, and bringing late payment to an end.

According to a report from ACCA, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, late payment is an effect rather than a cause – and preventing it means ‘treating’ the problem of trade credit availability, rather than the symptoms it creates.

ACCA spokesperson on late payment Andrew Leck said: “With the right intervention, late payment doesn’t have to be a fact of life for businesses.”

He added: “At its most basic form, late payment is a form of credit and in an ideal world, where all solvent businesses would have prompt, uninterrupted access to finance from diverse sources, late payment would be very rare.”

The organisation has made nine suggestions to help make trade credit more sustainable, several of which have clear implications for corporate recovery too.

For instance, proposal 9 calls for alternative payment plans to be included in terms and conditions from the outset, so that customers in genuine financial difficulties have a clear way to manage their outgoings, reducing the risk of them simply paying late or not at all.