NEARLY two out of five small firms are waiting more than three months to be paid by customers, a new survey has found.
The latest Quarterly Credit Watch Survey from small business group ISME shows 40pc of business wait more than 90 days for bills to be paid. Overall wait times are down marginally on the previous quarter but the actual average wait time for SMEs remains high at 71 days.
The delays come despite the Government insisting its departments are paying the vast majority of its bills within 15 days of receiving an invoice.
Last May, Small Business Minister John Perry brought the HSE and state bodies into the prompt-payment scheme but ISME accused them of "ignoring the instructions" to settle debts on time.
ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said that not only was the HSE "thumbing their noses at the minister, but it had refused to publish its payments figures as required".
"These government agencies and accountancy-driven big businesses are terrorising smaller suppliers with their 'take-it-or-leave-it' demands," he added.
The upshot was longer payment times, Mr Fielding claimed.