IRISH companies are paying creditors quicker, but still lag behind their counterparts in Northern Ireland in terms of how fast they settle bills.
New data from research group Experian shows that Irish businesses reduced the amount of time it takes them to pay creditors in the second quarter of 2013 by three-and-a-half days.
They're now taking 23.14 days on average beyond invoice terms to hand over money. That compared with 26.61 days during the first three months of the year.
In Northern Ireland, businesses pay just an average of 14.5 days after invoice terms.
In a county-by-county breakdown, Experian said that firms in Leitrim are the quickest payers, taking 17.07 days after invoice terms before settling.
Businesses in Cavan are the slowest, taking an average of 26.84 days.
Securing quick payment for goods and services is crucial for small businesses that need cash flow to survive and expand.
Experian managing director Fin O'Driscoll (pictured) said that the improvement in payment times during the second quarter is a welcome development for SMEs in Ireland.
He said the introduction of the European late payment directive in March this year appears to be having a positive effect on the overall payment performance of Irish businesses.
The European directive lays down the specific deadlines for the payment of invoices and establishes a right to compensation including interest in the event of late payment in all commercial transactions.
Businesses can also challenge grossly unfair terms and practices.
"Irish businesses need to operate with caution and carefully examine their credit policies and procedures to ensure they are only extending credit to those customers that are in a position to pay in a timely manner," warned Mr O'Driscoll.
County by county payment rates: green = best, blue = OK, yellow = slow, red = worst