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Unpaid bills threaten 25% of small firms

It has emerged that almost a quarter of Britain's small and medium-sized businesses have been pushed into financial crisis because of late payments. In a new survey of 1,000 business owners, 23% reported a brush with insolvency due to unpaid invoices. The research, commissioned by electronic invoicing network Tungsten, revealed that half of all invoices owed to small firms are overdue. The average SME is owed £40,857 in unpaid invoices, and £20,937 of that total is overdue. When extrapolated across the whole UK small business community, this could mean an unpaid bill of £212bn. Tungsten chief executive Richard Hurwitz said: 'An unpaid invoice can mean the difference between a successful month of trading and a dangerous financial shortfall. In the worst case, it could lead to insolvency.' The problem was most acute in the technology sector, where almost a third of businesses had been impacted financially by late payments from customers.

 

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