Businesses in Ireland paid their bills two days slower on average during the first six months of the year when compared with the same period last year, according to the latest insight from Experian, the global information services company. Experian analysis also reveals that businesses in Westmeath were fifth quickest to pay bills during the first half of 2011.
During the first six months of the year, businesses in Ireland paid their invoices 27.55 days beyond terms on average, compared with 25.73 in the first six months of 2010. However Northern Ireland businesses paid their bills over seven days quicker than the Republic.
By analysing the payment records of tens of thousands of businesses in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, including those owned by overseas companies, Experian is able to identify both if and, crucially, when they are going to pay their debts. The latest Experian payment performance analysis reveals that:
· Payment performance among Irish companies is at it slowest rate since November 2008. Irish companies paid their bills slowest in March and April of this year, however, this trend started to improve in May and June 2011.
· Businesses in Northern Ireland paid their bills on average 19.97 days beyond terms in the first half of 2011 compared with 19.49 in the first half of 2010.
· The payment performance of Northern Irish companies in the first half of the year also fell by one day compared to the first six months of last year when the average figure was 19.49 days beyond terms.
· The construction industry is the slowest business sector to pay its bills, averaging 41.71 days beyond terms.
· The health and social work sector is the fastest industry sector to pay its bills, averaging 14.46 days beyond terms.
· Kerry businesses remain the quickest in the country to pay their bills, averaging 20.74 days beyond terms in the first half of the year.
· At the other end of the scale, businesses in Waterford were the slowest to settle bills, paying on average 43.35 days beyond terms.
Ray Breen, propositions manager at Experian Business Information Ireland explains: “Late payments can have very damaging consequences for businesses, leading to a strain on administrative resources and cash flow. Irish companies are now paying their bills slower than at any time over the past two and a half years. Although the figures show that May and June saw an upward trend in payment performance from the lows of March and April, overall, the Republic of Ireland continues to be paying significantly slower than Northern Ireland.
“It has never been more critical for companies to check the payment history of potential customers. Experian’s payment performance data helps an organisation to identify whether a customer is simply a serial late payer, or one whose payment performance is rapidly deteriorating - indicating its potential inability to meet future commitments. Organisations can then make an informed decision as to whether they should conduct business with the customer.”
Experian has the largest database of up-to-date commercial payment data in Ireland, which is extracted from more than 6,500 ledgers processed every month.