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Review of payment times and practices

Payment times are placing stress on cash flow for small and family businesses.

We need your help to understand the extent of this problem in Australia.

Fill out the survey below – just 5 minutes of your time - on current payment times and practices. Your responses will remain CONFIDENTIAL.

Payment Times Survey


Partial and late payments, seeking discounts to pay in 30 days, offering loans to cover extended terms, forces the business to find ways to finance the short fall in their working capital.

ASBFEO’s 2017 Payment Times and Practices Inquiry found Australian corporations paid invoices on average 26.4 days late - the worst in the world. Our more recent research, as part of our Access to Justice Inquiry involving 1600 businesses, identified the biggest cause of dispute remains payments (44%); either the full amount not being paid (26%) or not being paid on time (18%). The ASBFEO is seeking feedback from small and family businesses on this issue.

Do you require assistance for an unpaid invoice?

There are steps you can take to recover money owed to you. For further information please see what to do when you haven’t been paid. The critical steps are to issue invoices, follow up and lastly, issue a letter of demand.

Once complete, if you still require assistance in resolving the dispute, you can use the Dispute Support online tool to find low cost dispute resolution services in your area. The tool may direct you to our Office, in which case you can contact our Assistance Team who will discuss options available to you, which may include Alternative Dispute Resolution. For more information, please see Assistance – How we help.

Payment Times - Introduction

Payment times and practices refer to:

  • Payment times: getting paid later than the agreed time or extending terms beyond 30 days.

  • Payment practices: customers' processes that extend payment time. For example, payments are processed at the end of a month for the previous month. So suppliers can wait up to 60 days for goods delivered on the first or second of a month.

In 2016, small businesses and family enterprises told us that late payments are their number one problem. They reduce cash flow which impacts on business growth and can easily put a business out of operation.

So in April 2017, we conducted an inquiry to examine payment times and practices in Australia.

The Inquiry found that incorrect invoices are the biggest cause of late payments.

As a result of the inquiry, we developed a National Payment Transparency Register to highlight Australian businesses that pay small business suppliers in 30 days or less.

Read our information about dealing with an unpaid invoice for tips on avoiding chasing invoices or taking further action.