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Late payments to SMEs run into billions

The national scale of late payments could equate around R249.5 billion across SMEs in South Africa

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Xero, the global small business platform, has today released new research that reveals South Africa’s small to medium businesses (SMEs) are each owed R99,800 in late payments at any given time according to their business decision-makers. Given there are an estimated 2.5 million SMEs in South Africa, this means the national scale of late payments could equate to a staggering R249.5 billion*.

The new State of Late Payments report reveals that a staggering 91% of small businesses are currently owed money outside of their payment terms. On average, SMEs waste 89.5 working hours per year – the equivalent of two working weeks – chasing late payments.

Colin Timmis, General Country Manager, Xero South Africa and professional accountant said: “It’s not right, or fair that SMEs have to deal with late payments. They live or die by their cash flow – and if they’re not paid, they can’t survive. Just think what they could do with an extra R99,800, it could contribute towards a salary or pay for some new technology.”

The National Development Plan aims to create 11 million new jobs in South Africa by 2030, and  wants SMEs to generate 90% of these new roles. But this new research shows that if late payments aren’t tackled, growth may be stifled. More than a fifth (21%) of respondents that had invoices paid late said they struggled to pay their suppliers on time, and a similar amount (20%) said they struggled to pay their staff. Nearly half (47%) listed cash flow and late payments as one of the main threats to their long-term growth aspirations.

It’s not just the impact on financials and growth, late payments impact personal wellbeing too. Over a quarter of respondents (28%) had to borrow money from friends and family to keep their business afloat, over a third (34%) cited stress as an impact, and 20% have taken time off due to illness.

Getting paid on time would help entrepreneurs invest and grow their business. When asked what they would do with the late payments owed to them, a third would clear some debt (30%), increase headcount or raise salaries (38%) and invest in new business technology (29%). Such technology could be the key to tackling the late payment epidemic.

“It’s really positive to see that SMEs want to invest in new tech and growing their teams. But for this to happen, we need a collective effort to tackle this culture of late payments. There are some actions SMEs can take now to help reduce the burden; make sure you invoice early, use cloud accounting software to send automated payment reminders, and lean on your accounting partners for advice,” Timmis concluded.

Other key findings revealed:

  • 17% said that the month of May carried the highest number of outstanding invoices
  • Just over a fifth (21%) are struggling to pay for business-critical services
  • 21% were refused access to finance because of late payments
  • 19% are prevented/held back from investing in the business, innovating and growing

To find out more about how late payments are affecting SMEs along with tips on how to manage late payments, read the full report here.

*Calculated by multiplying the estimated number of SMEs in SA (2.5 million) by R99, 800 (the average amount in late payments owed to SMEs at any given time). This amounts to R249.5 billion.

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Featured

GoFundMe hits R9bn in donations for people and causes

The world’s largest social fundraising platform has announced that Its community has made more than 120-million donations

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GoFundMe this week released its annual Year in Giving report, revealing that its community has donated more than 120-million times, raising over $9-billion for people, causes, and organisations since the company’s founding in 2010.

In a letter to the GoFundMe community, CEO Rob Solomon emphasised how GoFundMe witnesses not only the good in people worldwide, but their generosity and their action every day.

“As we enter a new decade, GoFundMe is committed to spreading compassion and empathy through our platform,” said Solomon in the letter. “Together, we can bring more good into the world and unlock the power of global giving.”

The GoFundMe giving community continues to grow with both repeat donors and new donors. In fact, nearly 60% of donors were new this year. After someone makes a donation, they continue to engage with the community and give to multiple causes. In fact, one passionate individual donated 293 times to 234 different fundraisers in this past year alone. Donations are made every second, ranging from $5 to $50,000. This year, more than 40% of donations were under $50.

GoFundMe continues to be a mirror of current events across the globe. This year, young changemakers started the Fridays for Futuremovement to fight climate change, which led to a 60% increase in fundraiser descriptions mentioning ‘climate change’. Additionally, the community rallied together to support one another during natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian and the California wildfires, where thousands of fundraisers were started to help those in need.

The report includes a snapshot of giving trends from the year based on global GoFundMe data. It also includes company milestones from 2019, such as launching the company’s non-profit and advocacy arm, GoFundMe.org, and introducing GoFundMe Charity, which provides enterprise software with no subscription fees or contracts to charities of every size.

Highlights from GoFundMe’s 2019 Year in Giving report include:

  • Global giving trends and data
  • Top 10 most generous countries
  • Top 10 most generous U.S. states and cities
  • Biggest moments in 2019

To view the entire report, visit: www.gofundme.com/2019

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Cars

For users, in-car touchscreens ever more useless

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As touchscreens become more commonplace, the gulf of perceived differences in the performance of these features between cars and other devices (such as mobile and in-home) has become wider. A new report from the In-Vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics has investigated car owners’ satisfaction with their on-board touchscreens. Long hamstrung by poor UX and extended production cycles, in-car touchscreens are seen by car users and buyers as lagging behind the experience offered by touchscreens outside the car. As such, consumer satisfaction has continued to slide in China and Europe, while reaching historic lows in the US.

Surveying consumers in the US, Western Europe, and China via web-survey, key report findings include:

  • Difficult text entry and excessive fingerprint smudging are common complaints among all car owners.
  • Because touchscreens have reached market saturation in the US, satisfaction with in-car screens has tailed off significantly.
  • However, touchscreens remain a relatively newer phenomenon in many car models in Western Europe (compared with the US) and thus their limitations are less prominent in the minds of car owners.
  • Overall touchscreen satisfaction fell for the fifth straight year in China, indicating a growing impatience for in-car UX to match UX found elsewhere in the consumer electronics space.

Derek Viita, Senior Analyst and report author, says, “Part of the issue with fingerprint smudging is the angle at which in-car touchscreens are installed – they make every fingerprint increasingly visible.

“Fingerprint smudging is an issue across all touchscreen-based consumer electronics. But in most form factors and especially mobile devices, consumers can quite easily adjust their viewing angle. This is not always the case with fixed in-car screens.”

Says Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP, “Although hardware quality certainly figures in many of the usual complaints car owners have about their screens, it is not the sole factor. Cockpit layout and UI design can play important roles in mitigating some issues with in-car touchscreens.”

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