14th September, 2021
If there’s one thing that’s become apparent over the course of the pandemic, it’s the dependence we all have on each other. How our supply chains are linked, how our business networks and partnerships need each other to survive and although it shouldn’t need saying – just how important it is to business to be paid. And not just paid, but paid on time. So we caught up with Liz Barclay, Small Business Commissioner ahead of her interview with us next week for our Focus Week to get her thoughts on where the UK is heading with payments right now, and what could be done to help smaller business to be paid promptly.
So Liz, do you think the pandemic has changed people’s attitude to payments?
It’s amazing how many people and organisations are keen to help small firms get paid sooner, better and fairer. It’s as if the pandemic has lifted the veil from small businesses and made them visible. They are the lifeblood of our economy, and economies around the world and need to be paid quickly so they can invest, rebuild, innovate and create jobs. We’ve all got a part to play.
It's strange that that veil should be there in the first place isn’t it? Shouldn’t it be obvious that our smaller suppliers need paying?
People in big firms’ payment departments may never have run a small business or been a freelancer waiting 3, 4 even 6 months to get paid. Imagine what you would say if your boss asked you to wait 6 months for your wages. You’d face stress and mental health issues, relationship breakdown, unpaid bills and eviction or repossession. Small business owners are people too and need to be paid quickly for the same reasons.
Do you think the P2P tech firms can play a part in making this happen?
Technology has played a key part in speeding up the time between finishing the job and getting paid. Now we want to explore whether or not tech firms can assist with other parts of the puzzle such as negotiating better payment terms before signing a contract. We need to help small businesses get paid better as well as encourage bigger customers to pay sooner and give small firms the money they need to develop and grow.
The message is getting out there now isn’t it – how many firms to you have signed up to the Prompt Payment Code now, and why do you think they should?
3,300 firms have signed up to the Prompt Payment Code and committed to paying their small suppliers in 30 days. Some do it because they want to work for bigger firms that expect them to sign up. Others do it because they want to be seen as ethical companies. Whatever the reason, for the sake of small suppliers, we’ll work with you, for free, to get signed up and stay on the Code. It’s the right thing to do.
Join us at 11:30am on Thursday next week, where Liz Barclay will continue the conversation as part of our Focus Week. Are you registered yet? Sign up and join us here