While COVID-19 undoubtedly impacted the industry during 2020, retail was
among the sectors that significantly reduced its payment times to suppliers and
small businesses during December, according to CreditorWatch.
According to the firm’s data, payment times improved 31 per cent during December, though over the course of 2020 they actually rose 29 per cent as the industry grappled with an intense increase in online retail and the grocery sector.
Similarly, transport, postal and warehousing saw a much-needed improvement in the speed of payment processing in December of 53 per cent, though the length of time invoices remained unpaid doubled over the course of the year due to the massive increase in demand for delivery services.
Payment times in general now must be publicly disclosed, with the Payment Times Report Act coming into effect on 1 January this year.
The Act, which was introduced to parliament in 2018, aims to address the issue of delayed payments impacting the cashflow and financial buoyancy of smaller suppliers.
Businesses must issue payment reports within three months of the end of a six-month reporting period, with the first reporting period beginning 1 January, making the first report due on 30 September.