Top 10 Businesses In The UK That Fail To Pay Suppliers On Time

The Solution To Late Payment?Top 10 business firms in the uk fail to pay suppliers on time get named and shamed by the Government – Late payments

Big businesses that continually have been named and shamed by the government for the first time who fail to pay their suppliers on time.

On average, the 307 large businesses that filed payment reports to the government met invoice payments late 71 % of the time.

At the other end of the spectrum, Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge are among the more recognisable brands that didn’t miss any invoice deadlines.

Top 10 Business Firms In The UK That failed to pay suppliers on time

Company Name

 Invoices not paid within agreed terms

Grainger & Worrall Engineering Limited


Parts Alliance Group Limited


Grainger & Worrall Machining Limited


Clipper Logistics Plc


Ashtead Plant Hire Company Limited


W & J Linney Limited


Tnt Express Ics Limited


Boughey Distribution Limited


Medtronic Limited


Simmons & Simmons LLP


Grainer & Worrall Engineering

Grainer & Worrall Engineering tops the list of large UK companies who settled invoices late in the latter half of 2017.Grainer & Worrall Engineering

The engineering firm was guilty of missing payment deadlines 96 % of the time over a six-month period between 4 June and 30 November 2017.

Parts Alliance Group Limited

Parts Alliance Group came in a close second, with a late payment figure of 95 %, ahead of Grainer & Worrall’s sister machining company in third with a 93 % record over a similar period – give or take a couple of days.

Deloitte LLP

Deloitte is arguably the most recognisable name on the list. The accounting firm’s Deloitte MCS Limited and Deloitte LLP subsidiaries failed to pay invoices within agreed terms on 80 % and 59 % of instances and ranked 17th and 43rd on the list respectively.

Under new rules introduced in April 2017, all large UK companies are required to publish specific information regarding their payment policies, practices and performance – including the average time taken to pay supplier invoices – twice yearly.

The reporting requirement applies to large companies and large limited liability partnership regardless of whether they are private, public or quoted, that meet two or more of the size thresholds in the past two preceding financial years: annual turnover of £36 million balance sheet total of £18 million and/or 250 employees.

However, the reporting requirement does not apply to partnerships (provided they are not limited liability partnership (LLP), nor to companies which are incorporated under another country’s laws.

The information for the reporting requirement are prepared on an individual company or individual LLP basis, not at a group level. The report is available online for anyone to have a look at (note, there’s a bit of spreadsheet formatting to be done to view the figures) and updates as soon as each business comes forward with its information.

It is aimed at helping suppliers to make more informed decisions about who they do business with. The measure, launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, also seeks to alleviate the administrative and financial burdens faced by thousands of small and medium sized business due to late payments.

The nation’s modest sized enterprises are currently owed £26billion in overdue payments, according to research by payments processing company Bacs.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) calculates that over 30 % of payments to small businesses are late and the average value of each payment is £6,142. The trade body also predicts that 50,000 UK business shut up shop every year because of the issue.

Top 10 Business Firms In The UK  That Paid Their Invoices On Time Every Time
Sebden Steel Service Centres Limited
Smith & Williamson Investment Management LLP
T & E Ferris Limited
Gardiner & Theobald Fairway Limited
Macfarlanes Services Limited
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Slater Menswear
Ms International PLC
Las Iguanas Limited
Bella Italia Restaurants Limited

Late payments remains a thorny issue for SMEs and UK big businesses aren’t the only ones that fall foul of this.

Research, based on a study of 80,904 invoices UK SME invoice by business finance company MarketInvoice, found that 73% of invoices sent by British businesses to EU firms were paid late – up from 40.4% in 2016.

Across the Atlantic, the number of invoices paid late by firms in the US increased from 40.4 % in 2016 to 71 % in 2017. Back in Britain, the government appointed a small business commissioner, Paul Uppal, dedicated to drive a culture change in payment practices to ensure small businesses are treated fairly.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said that both the creation of the small business commissioner as well as the duty to report go some way in helping SME suppliers back has called on the government to do more to tackle the issue.

He said all FTSE 350 companies should be forced to sign-up to a ‘strengthened’ code with a new ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule that would specifically target repeat offenders.

‘This would encourage more large businesses to actively review their treatment of suppliers and start fostering the cultural change that is needed,’ he added. ‘The small business community is growing increasingly frustrated by the poor payment culture and supply chain bullying that is rife in the UK.

‘This is not just a commercial problem that needs to be resolved, it is also an ethical one where small firms are being put at risk, or even out of business, by bigger firms taking advantage.’

Only five of the large firms mentioned in this article for failing to pay their suppliers more often than not responded to a comment request from This is Money.

A spokesman for Grainger & Worrall, said: ‘As a family-owned business, we work closely with all our suppliers when it comes to payment dates. We place huge value on our supplier relationships, understanding that they have businesses to run and cash flows to manage too – and enjoy numerous long-standing partnerships with them. In fact, out of our top 20 suppliers, we have worked with most for 20 years or more.

‘We welcome and support the Government’s initiative to drive transparency on payment terms, and we were one of the first companies to register to provide data. Currently there are less than 320 companies in the UK who have registered, so early days in the reporting process, and we’d like to see more supporting the initiative.’

A Deloitte spokesman said: ‘The government data shows that we’re paying suppliers on average within 25 days, which is within our standard terms of 30 days.’

A spokesman for TNT Express ICS said: ‘Our suppliers are very important to us, and we remain committed to our relationships with them.

‘The report at number seven in this list relates specifically to the global IT subsidiary; TNT Express ICS Limited and not to TNT UK Limited as a whole, which is the UK parcel delivery business.’

A spokesman for Medtronic said ‘The data in the payment practice report showing a high percentage of invoices paid outside of agreed upon terms is due to the way that payment is defined. The methodology states that funds must be cleared in the supplier’s account within terms, which is different from our standard process of initiating payment once an invoice has reached its payment terms.

‘Due to this disparity we will be amending our payment process by initiating payments at least three days earlier to ensure that our suppliers receive payments within terms. It is important to note that, as stated in the payment practice report, Medtronic paid invoices during this period, on average, 25 days from receipt of an invoice.’

A spokesman for law firm Simmons & Simmons said the company does not hold supplier terms on their system and did not have a reason to do so prior to the new reporting requirements.

‘This in effect gives a default payment term of 0 days,’ the spokesman added.

‘While this may look like we may be behind on payments, we do pay to the terms of our suppliers; so for suppliers whose terms are ‘immediate’ we include them in our weekly payment run.

‘Our average time to pay is 26 days, which we are pleased with, and with the development of these reporting requirements we are likely to see a positive change in the numbers.’

Is AI The Solution To Late Payment? 

The Scottish government thinks top 10 business firms in the UK fail to pay suppliers on time get named and shamed. It gave financial backing to previse, which uses artificial intelligence to address the issue for small companies, earlier this month.

The fintech firm was awarded a £800,000 research and development grant from taxpayer-funded Scottish Enterprise, to set up a new development center north of Hadrian’s Wall in Glasgow – creating 37 new data science jobs.

The AI is designed to allow firms to pay their suppliers the day they receive an invoices.

The London-based firm’s technology calculates a buyer’s likelihood to pay an invoice and expresses it as a score.

It uses this information to decide which invoices will be paid, so that SME suppliers are paid instantly.

Late invoice payments are a global problem. Failing to pay on time for the goods and services is not only morally wrong. It makes no commercial sense. It drives up the cost of business for SME suppliers which, in the end, will feed through into purchasing costs for buyers. After all, there is no such thing as free money.

Should your business be suffering late payments, a solution may be invoice funding which helps with cashflow. feel free to contact us via the online enquiry form.

Business Finance specialist at Invoice funding | + posts

Seasoned professional with a strong passion for the world of business finance. With over twenty years of dedicated experience in the field, my journey into the world of business finance began with a relentless curiosity for understanding the intricate workings of financial systems.

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