BDO has analysed the Payment Times Reporting Regulator's most recently published third data set, and created the Payment Times Performance Tracker for the 6 months to June 2022.
The Payment Times Reporting Regulator has published its third data set from large businesses covering their payment practices for their small business suppliers.
There are now more than 25,353 reports submitted on the register from 9,487 reporting entities.The most recent data set covers the six months to June 2022.
Our previous article from November 2022, highlighted that there had been improvements in the overall payment times of large businesses in Australia during the six months to December 2021.
For the period to June 2022, BDO’s half-yearly Payment Performance Tracker has revealed that:
- There was a slight deterioration in average payment times, including a higher percentage of payments made over 60 days.
- Construction and manufacturing remain two industry areas that lag in terms of their payment practices, and both experienced deteriorations in the latest reporting period.
Background to payment times reporting in Australia
The Australian Government introduced the Payment Times Reporting Scheme in January 2021.
The scheme requires large organisations to report on their small business payment terms and times. For more information, read our recently published article explaining the background of the legislation, our team also compiled a business guide to help prepare for the payment times reporting scheme.
In January 2023, the Regulator provided an update on the scheme.
In the update, the Regulator stated their intention to pursue compliance and enforcement activities with a focus on identifying instances of failure in submitting reports and improving the quality of reporting.
The deadline for the lodgement of the next period of reports (for the half year to 31 December 2022) is 31 March 2023. Reporting entities failing to report can incur a maximum daily penalty of $66,600. For example, if a Reporting entity is nine days late in submitting a payment times report, they could be penalised up to c. $600,000.
Analysis by Industry
The most recent payment practices reported for the half year to June 2022 highlight a slight deterioration compared to the previous half-year across all large companies in Australia.
The percentage of payments made within 30 days remained relatively stable at just below 70%. In contrast, the portion of payments made in over 60 days deteriorated slightly, from 7.0% last period to 7.4% for the half year to 30 June 2022.
From the reports submitted for the half year to June 2022, the manufacturing and construction industry groups remain the two sectors that were slowest to pay small businesses:
- Construction – 57% of small businesses were paid within 30 days (58% in the prior period), and 8% paid over 60 days (8% for the previous period). Within the construction industry, the land development and subdivisions subsector was an area with noted deterioration. At the same time, entities within the house construction subsector reported an average improvement in payment practices.
- Manufacturing – 55% of small businesses were paid within 30 days (56% in the preceding period), and 14% in over 60 days (13% in the prior period). This increase in the percentage of payments made in over 60 days was the highest among all industries.
While it has a relatively smaller representation among reporting entities, the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry was an area with noted improvements. On average, the industry reported a higher percentage of payments within 30 days and a reduction in payments made outside of 60 days. There was also a similar improvement in the small sample of reporting entities from the arts and recreation services industry.
Australia’s largest companies
The release of the payment times reports for June 2022 allows us to observe the continuing trends in the payment practices of Australia’s largest companies. In assessing the data reported by a few of Australia’s largest companies, it is evident that these companies settle a significant portion of their invoices within the short term.
BHP Group Ltd (BHP) and Telstra Corporation Limited (Telstra) are the two standouts from the companies assessed. Both companies have reported continual payment times improvements across each reporting period. Further, both entities paid over 90% of small business invoices within 30 days in H2 FY22. This is a considerable improvement on the 72% and 69% BHP and Telstra reported in June 2021.
The payment times reported by Fortescue Metals Groups remained unchanged over the half year to June 2022 and lagged the reported payment times of the other large companies analysed.
While the construction and manufacturing industries continue to have the slowest payment times, our analysis shows that large Australian businesses have improved their payment practices for small businesses since the scheme’s introduction. This has occurred despite the significant challenges that Australian businesses have faced including:
- Natural disasters, such as the NSW floods
- Workplace absenteeism due to COVID-19
- Supply chain challenges due to COVID-19
- Increasing interest rates
- Increasing energy costs.
What should your business be doing?
We encourage large Australian businesses to be mindful of upcoming lodgement deadlines, especially given the Regulator’s intention to pursue compliance and enforcement activities.
Further, we encourage small Australian businesses to regularly review the payment times register available on the Regulator’s website to mitigate credit risk and reduce working capital requirements where possible. For more information, please contact your local BDO adviser.