State of Late Payment

Our new report, ‘The State of Late Payment 2016’ is now available  – you can download it here.


Late payment is the silent killer of modern business. The simple act of not getting paid when you should has an adverse effect on the success of any company. But it’s Britain’s small and medium sized enterprises – which make up 99% of all UK businesses – that bear the brunt of the problem. It’s estimated that UK SMEs are owed more than half a trillion pounds in outstanding invoices. That number speaks for itself.

This report dives deeper into where and why late payment is occurring, across different sectors, industries and countries. Our data challenges the pre-existing conceptions of certain companies as ‘villains’ of the small supplier community, and looks to uncover new findings that go beyond media headlines. We also look further afield, comparing the UK with its European counterparts, and the rest of the world.

At MarketInvoice, we capture data on every aspect of an invoice. Who it’s issued by, issued to and issued when. More importantly, we also record when each invoice is contractually due, as well as when it is actually paid. These numbers underpin our lending model at its most basic level. As a result, we’ve collected a vast pool of data in the last five years – over 30,000 individual invoices, issued to companies of all sizes, in over 80 different countries. This report, the first of its kind, looks mainly at payment records in 2015. However, we plan to release new data regularly, and if this report captures the ‘state’ of late payment here and now, future data will track how the problem evolves over time.

The data in this report highlights a very real, very prevalent issue that affects millions of businesses owners every day. Whilst our data goes some way to illustrate the scale of late payment across the country, real action must be taken to stem the problem at its source. Larger companies must take more responsibility in their position of power with suppliers, and change what is currently, a damaging culture for UK businesses.