Mid-sized firms owed an average of £3.7m in trade debt

The research from Debt Guard Solicitors found that small and medium businesses as a whole ere owed £6.3tn, with an average of £1.3m each.

This includes general outstanding invoices as well as late payments, but highlights the extent to which Britain’s businesses are indebted to each other.

For mid-sized firms, which employ 50-259 staff members or turn over between £10m and £100m, were owed trade debt worth an average of 13 per cent of their turnover.

This was particularly bad in London, the south-east and Scotland, where businesses were owed an average of £4.7m in trade debt, accounting for 26% of turnover.

The situation is worst for micro businesses, which are owed an average of £68,000, equating to 19 per cent of average turnover.

The average time it took for SMEs to receive payment from customers, known as debtor days, was 63 days for micro-SMEs, 47 days for small companies and 40 days for medium-sized companies.

Mark Burgess, COO at Debt Guard Solicitors, said: “This research highlights there is a highly varied national trade debt picture emerging within the SME marketplace, created by unpaid and outstanding invoices.”

Related: FPB’s 7 tips for tackling late payments

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