Small firms quicker to pay than big players
Kiwi businesses have been paying their bills at the fastest rate in 10 years, figures from credit reporting company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) show.
The average time taken to pay a commercial invoice across New Zealand dipped below the 40-day mark in the final quarter of last year to an average of 39.6 days.
D&B said the invoice payment data reflected the healthier financial position of many companies over the past year and the relative strength of the New Zealand economy.
By contrast, invoice payment times in Australia have stalled at an average of 53 days.
D&B's latest trade payments analysis also showed that in the quarter to December 31, 66 per cent of invoices were paid within the standard 30-day period, an increase from 61 per cent in the same period a year earlier.
"These latest findings continue a clear and positive trend in the performance of the corporate sector, and follow additional positive movements in business and consumer confidence, the current-account deficit and jobs growth," D&B New Zealand managing director Dennis Martin said.
"Our forecasts are for New Zealand's key economic measures to continue improving this year, and consequently we also expect to see consolidation of this trend of faster business payment times."
Across industries, payments made by the forestry sector quickened the most during the fourth quarter of last year, with payments improving to an average of 33 days, compared with 35 days last year.
The agriculture industry also improved the rate at which it settled its accounts, with average payment times dropping to 36 days from 37 days last year.
While smaller companies in New Zealand recorded faster invoice payment times, larger companies bucked the trend in last year's final quarter, with average payment times slowing compared to the previous year.
Businesses employing between 200 and 499 people were one day slower to settle their accounts, while larger operations were significantly slower.
D&B's analysis shows that companies with more than 500 staff paid their invoices in an average of 45 days, up from 41 days.