ASBFEO Newsletter – Issue No. 7 [Extract]

When you believe in a cause, you feel driven to see things through. We’ve been hard at work pushing the message about the importance of paying small business quicker. We completed our Inquiry in to Payment Times and Practices, and made a number of important recommendations.

I’m happy to say that big businesses are opening their eyes and ears to the issues affecting small business, of which late payment times is a massive problem. Rio Tinto, Coles, Woolworths and Telstra have announced they will be improving their payment times to their small business suppliers, with Rio Tinto and Telstra moving from 45 to 30 days, Coles and Woolworths to 14 days.

With cybercrime and scams on the rise, I urge business owners to be smart online. We are seeing a significant increase in ransomware scams. This is where a scammer locks up your computer and requires a ‘ransom’ to unlock. Small businesses are a particular target. There are common factors all businesses need to consider: the need for protection, good passwords changed frequently, security software, insurance and making sure you backup data to a secure place.

Another welcome initiative to protect small business from the ravagies of the big banks: Most of Australia’s big corporations have at last woken up to the fact that, collectively, they are no longer our largest employers and the community and the Parliament are demanding they act as good community citizens to boost national prosperity. And, if they don’t, there will be punishment, not always logically delivered, as the banks have just discovered.

In this context, May 29, 2017 was a historic day because the Business Council of Australia changed course and introduced an Australian Suppliers Payment code whereby signatory companies agree to pay eligible Australian small business suppliers on-time and within 30 days of receiving a correct invoice.

Kate Carnell, ASBFEO

Completed Inquiries

Payment Times and Practices

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO), in partnership with the Small Business Commissioners in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, and in association with the Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) and the Australian Institute of Credit Management (AICM), was conducting an inquiry to examine payment times and practices in Australia.

Input was sought from state and territory governments and authorities, along with other relevant stakeholder groups in addition to businesses large and small.

This was the Ombudsman’s first self-initiated inquiry and culminated in the presentation of a final report to the Minister for Small Business, the Hon. Michael McCormack MP, in March 2017.

For the Payment Times and Practices Inquiry Report, click here

For the working papers that support the Payment Times and Practices Inquiry Report, please click links below:

Working Paper 1: Trade credit, Australian Government policies and overseas responses to payments practices

Working Paper 2: Submissions, consultations and large business practices

Working Paper 3: Analysis of Survey responses

If your small business is a contracted supplier of goods or services and you believe that you are subject to unreasonable payment times or practices, or you are having difficulty securing payment from your customer within agreed payment times, our office may be able to provide you with assistance regarding your matter. Requests for assistance with payment terms can be made via telephone on (02) 6263 1577 or by submitting an online enquiry through http://www.asbfeo.gov.au/resolving-a-dispute/lodge-a-dispute.

All other enquiries regarding the Ombudsman’s report should be directed to (02) 6263 1500.

For more information from the ASBFEO click on the ASBFEO Newsletter – Issue No. 7 below.