Over 1.2 million overdue invoices in Scotland this winter, new R3 research shows

Richard Bathgate, Scotland Chair of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3

SCOTTISH firms had over 1.2 million overdue invoices on their books this winter, new research from insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 has revealed.

R3’s analysis of data provided by Creditsafe shows 1,231,703 invoices were overdue in Scotland over the winter months – with 416,856 in December 2022, 400,272 in January 2023 and 414,575 in February 2023.

Scotland saw the biggest month-on-month increase in late payments between January 2023 and February 2023 in the UK, with numbers rising by 3.6%, followed by the North West (2.7% rise), the North East (2.5%) and Yorkshire and Humberside (2.5%).

And more than 94,000 Scottish businesses (94,144) reported that they had overdue invoices on their books this winter – a figure which peaked last month at 32,074 firms, which was 3.7% higher than the January 2023 total of 30,939.

Richard Bathgate, Chair of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 in Scotland, says:“Times are still tough for Scottish businesses as they battle rising costs and contend with cautious consumers.

“Both of these will have an effect on their cashflow levels and their ability to pay invoices on time, which might explain why Scottish firms had so many overdue invoices on their books this winter. 

“Paying invoices late can be a sign of wider issues within the business, or that it’s financially distressed, and can have a negative knock-on effect on supply chains if the payment issues from one customer are passed on by the supplier to those they owe money to.”

Richard, who is Restructuring Partner at Johnston Carmichael in Aberdeen continues: “As a company director, keeping your business financially healthy should be a top priority, and you should be alert to any signs that issues may be arising.  

“If your business is having problems paying invoices, staff or suppliers, or you’re worried about its finances, that’s the time to seek expert advice from a restructuring professional or licensed insolvency practitioner. 

“If anyone knows how best to avoid an insolvency, it’s an insolvency practitioner.  Seek early help and you will have more time and options open to you to take a considered decision about your next steps.

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