New ‘Let’s Talk Bad Debt’ campaign to help SMEs tackle payment shortfalls

Updated: 10 June 2019

Campaign unveiled as research shows that one third of Irish SMEs have suffered a bad debt over past 12 months – with half writing off up to €10,000

A new ‘Let’s Talk Bad Debt’ campaign has been unveiled that aims to help SMEs ensure they receive payment promptly from clients and customers. The campaign, launched by Bibby Financial Services Ireland, a leading provider of funding solutions to Irish SMEs, also provides business owners with practical tips and advice to protect their cashflow.

Recent research from Bibby Financial Services Ireland’s Q1 SME Confidence Tracker revealed that over a third of SMEs have suffered a bad debt over the past twelve months. Of those that have suffered from bad debt, over half have written off up to €10,000.

The new Let’s Talk Bad Debt campaign offers SMEs a range of resources and practical advice to manage customers in arrears, from offering alternative payment terms to more punitive measures such as adding interest or late payment charges. Bibby Financial Services Ireland’s team of financial experts also provide insight into effective credit control systems that are an essential part of reducing the risk of bad debt.

To protect themselves from bad debt, SMEs should adopt some of the following practices:

  • Know your customers – run credit checks on all new customers before offering credit terms and set appropriate credit limits

  • Set basic requirements – avoid taking on customers who fail to meet these

  • Use effective credit control – implement a structured approach to help reduce the likelihood of overdue payments

  • Have clear payment terms – make your payment terms clear and consistent from the start

  • Invoice quickly and accurately – avoid unnecessary delays by ensuring invoices are accurate and issued on time

    Mark O’Rourke, Managing Director of Bibby Financial Services Ireland, says: “Even businesses that are thriving can be just a few unpaid invoices away from suffering cashflow issues – particularly in the SME sector.

    But the earlier business owners take action, the more likely they are to prevent funding gaps or have to write off bad debt. Even simple actions such as implementing a structured approach to credit control and having clear payment terms can make a big difference, and our new campaign is designed to equip SMEs with the tools and knowledge they need to ensure continued success.”