PAYING clients on time is just good business housekeeping, according to the chair of the local support group Business Wise.

The group has invited Paul Uppal, the small business commissioner, to speak about late payment and disputes at a round-table event at the Workshed in May.

The commissioner's office was launched in 2017 as a complaint handling service to support small businesses around the UK with late payment, estimated to cost firms £2.5 billion every year.

Jerry Thornton, chairman of Business Wise and owner of financial planners Thornton Associates said he personally had been the victim of rogue companies not paying on time.

"It tends to be the larger companies that either hold back payment or they change their terms of payment.

"I've been a victim of that working in the retail industry. One of the companies went from 28 to 56, 90 and 120 days payment terms without any dialogue.

"It was just an email or letter saying we've changed our terms, take it or leave.

"It is a serious issue for small businesses, particularly where the bigger businesses can exercise a level of bullying.

"Ultimately it leaves them with cash flow issues, when they do withhold payment within the agreed terms.

"Having said that there plenty of businesses that do, not everyone is a villain in that sense. There are a number of businesses that pay on the dot."

He added: "What I've found and put into practice is I pay invoices by return and that to my mind just builds up a level of trust and confidence which pays off in the long term. Clients are then willing to work with you on the basis that you will pay them quickly."

The evening will include a discussion around the work by Paul's team and the type of cases they have been handling followed by round-table discussions facilitated by BusinessWise members with some time for Q&As.

The event, which will cost £16,58 and has limited places, will be held at the Workshed, London Street, Swindon, from 6 - 8pm on May 7.

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