The rise of the “Stuck-at-Home” SME: chasing payments forces 57% of SME owners to drop their holidays

60% of those who run SMEs would give up summer holidays entirely in exchange for on-time payment of business invoices 

Ahead of the final bank-holiday of the summer, GoCardless, the online payments company simplifying Direct Debit, today reveals the results of its independent research into small business owners summer holiday habits.

The research shows that nearly two thirds of SME owners agree that summer is the worst time for late payments, with more invoices being paid late during the summer than at any other time of the year. This has significant knock-on effects: 1 in 5 SME owners spend up to 3 full working days just chasing late payments during the summer, and 1 in 10 SME owners spend a shocking 9 working days chasing unpaid invoices. With that time, they could have gone on a luxury cruise around the Caribbean, had a safari in Africa or flown to Peru and hiked the Inca trail.

Nearly half of all SME owners only take 1 – 2 weeks of holiday throughout the year – less than the 21 days statutory minimum of the average full-time employee. Sadly, nearly 1 in 10 SME owners take no holiday at all. Even when they do make it on holiday, it’s a working vacation of sun, sea and chasing invoices: 57% admit they spend their time away on late payments admin and 61% feel stressed about unpaid invoices instead of relaxing. If this group did not have to spend this time chasing payments, they would spend that time with family (39%) or would put the time back into their business (30%).

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Saija Mahon, Founder and MD at Mahon Digital:

“My main focus is growing my business, so my time is far better used focusing on delivering great services, not chasing unpaid invoices.

“Switching to an automated Direct Debit billing and payment system was revolutionary. It has freed up my time to focus on core business objectives, improved my work life balance and allowed me to plan for the future. I now have peace of mind knowing I’ll be paid on time and can concentrate on doing what I set out to do, which is run my own business!”

Josh Sasto, Head of Partnerships at GoCardless:

“SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy and it’s not right for them to be denying themselves valuable time to recharge their batteries just to chase late payments. On time payment is a right, not a privilege! Many SME owners are seeing the value of automating the payment process with Direct Debit tools to give them their time back.”

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