Global small business platform Xero has revealed that a total of S$4.1 billion worth of invoices were paid late to small businesses in Singapore in 2018.
Data from the platform also indicated that last year only 39% of payments to Singapore small businesses were made on time, more than one in ten (11.3%) of Singapore small businesses experience payments being made more than 31 days late and almost one fifth (18.8%) of invoices remained unpaid in 2019.
As a comparison, S$2.3 billion worth of invoices were paid late to small businesses in Hong Kong
Regardless of how late they are, late payments are stacking up to be a major issue for small businesses. Past research from Xero found that as a result of late payments, small businesses faced a backlog of work (59%), suffered from reduced productivity (46%) and experienced cash flow issues (39%), in addition to reduced morale of employees and struggles to pay staff.
Kevin Fitzgerald, Regional Director – Asia, Xero said: “Unfortunately, dealing with late payments is part and parcel of running a business. If the money is tied up in late payments from customers, small businesses struggle to maintain a positive cash flow, raise the capital needed for investments and grow their business. If small businesses are being held back from growing and flourishing, it is likely to have a knock-on effect for the wider economy in the long run.”
Xero was founded to help small businesses overcome their financial challenges and get paid faster. For example, the Xero platform provides small businesses with real-time visibility into their cash flow and helps them automate the invoicing and payment collection process. As a result, small businesses that use Xero have been able to shorten the number of days between issuing an invoice and getting paid, from 43 to 30 days.