The Small Firms Association (SFA) is partnering with the government to provide businesses with the Prompt Payment Code Portal. The portal was officially launched on Monday 27 February by the Minister for Small Business, Pat Breen TD.
The portal is designed to rectify late-payment issues in Irish business culture, following steps previously taken by the government to ensure speedier and more reliable business-to-business payments. According to an official statement on the Prompt Payment Code Portal’s launch, payment to a small firm takes, on average, 62 days to come through.
The government has already introduced prompt-payment legislation and initiatives, such as a 15-day prompt-payment commitment. The Prompt Payment Code, launched in 2015, was developed to improve cash flow between businesses. It is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI), the Irish Institute of Credit Management (IICM), the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), the Small Firms Association (SFA), the Irish Business and Employers' Confederation (IBEC), Chambers Ireland and the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).
All government departments and public authorities have signed up to the code, but sign-up among private-sector businesses has been slower. It is hoped that the launch of the online portal will encourage more widespread adoption and increase membership across Irish businesses.
Linda Barry, the SFA's assistant director, said of the portal’s launch, “Getting paid on time is a never-ending problem for small business. Our surveys show that cash-flow management is consistently among the top risks identified by small businesses in Ireland. On average, it takes 62 days for a small firm to get paid, even though the majority of contracts offer credit terms of just 30 days. This culture of late payments makes it difficult to pay staff and suppliers, it requires firms to extend overdraft facilities, and consumes a great deal of management time. This makes it extremely challenging to run a successful business.
“The launch of the new Prompt Payment Code Portal is a marker in the sand. From now on, we must consign the culture of late payments to the past. We are calling on all businesses that want to get paid on time and are committed to paying on time to join the prompt-payment movement by signing up to the Prompt Payment Code at www.promptpayment.ie,” Barry concluded.
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