Small Business Ombudsman unveils register promoting best practice in B2B payments

Invoice

Businesses are being encouraged to promote their commitment to good payment time practices by signing up to the National Payment Transparency Register, established this week by the Australia Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO).

The Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, first called for a national register in her report into payment times and practices, published in April. The report showed that the average time it took for businesses to pay other businesses’ invoices ranged from 14 to 40 days.

Commenting that “faster payments through supply chains will free up cash flow and stimulate investment, jobs and growth”, Carnell invited businesses to sign up to the register on the ASBFEO website.

She also invited signatories to the voluntary Australian Supplier Payment Code, to promote their practices on the register.

Created by the Business Council of Australia, the code commits participating organisations to pay eligible Australian small business suppliers on time and within 30 days of receiving a correct invoice.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the code was a positive step but lacked accountability.

“The Business Council of Australia initiative acknowledged the problem of late payments but didn’t provide a reporting mechanism,” she said.

“We wrote to the signatories and invited them to publish their payment performance data.

“I congratulate the companies that responded and urge others to be equally transparent.”

Carnell encouraged small business suppliers to let her office know if the terms on the register are not being met or if they are experiencing constant late payments or subject to terms being extended. She said she is also keen to hear good news such as payment terms being shortened.

“The register is under ongoing review and development,” Carnell said.

“We hope it will become a reference point to encourage and promote improved payment time performance.”

Related: The Federal Government commits to paying small businesses ten days sooner by July 2019Small businesses being used as ‘cheap form of finance’ by larger ones: late payment inquiry and Turnbull Government paying 60% of its small business invoices within 20 days, report shows.