LATE payments in Ireland are "compounding" a difficult financial environment for small firms, with businesses now waiting more than two months to be paid, it has been claimed.
The Small Firms' Association (SFA) said 70pc of its members now have to wait more than a month to be paid, up 2pc on the start of this year, with businesses waiting 62 days on average for payment.
The SFA's acting managing director Avine McNally (pictured) said: "Getting paid on time is a never-ending problem for most small businesses.
"Late payment causes serious cash flow problems, requires firms to extend overdraft facilities and consumes a great deal of management time.
"This in turn affects the ability of the business to compete, be profitable and grow," she said.
Despite that, only 11pc of firms said they used debt-collection agents, while 8pc charge customers interest for missing payments.
Businesses cited concerns about losing future business or being perceived as "difficult" to deal with.
The Government brought in late payments legislation earlier this year, however, nearly a quarter of firms said they were unaware of the law, and just 8pc had used it to get payment.
Ms McNally said that if small firms are unsuccessful in using the legislation, they must pursue the outstanding debts through the courts. However, the courts can be backlogged as well as difficult and expensive to access.