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Large hotels and caterers still among the worst culprits in late bill payment

01 January 2000
Large hotels and caterers still among the worst culprits in late bill payment

Large hotels and catering companies are some of the worst when it comes to late payment of invoices, says a new report.

On average, it took large hotels and catering companies 78 days to pay their bills, according to the survey from business information firm Experian.

This is five days longer than they took when the report was last compiled, at the end of last year, and places the sector second only behind vehicle and equipment rental firms, which took 80 days. The figure compares with an average 57 days for British firms as a whole.

Smaller hospitality firms have also slackened and now take 58 days, one day longer than in 1997, while medium-sized businesses are paying up 48 hours faster, at 57 days.

Peter Brooker, associate director of Experian, believes a "macho late-payment culture" is partly to blame.

"You get those who think they are tough businessmen and they deliberately don't pay their bills until as late as possible," he said.

"Then there is the bureaucratic system which means all invoices have to be checked and logged by several people so as to prevent fraud.

"I would like to think the situation will improve but I have my doubts."

Phil Phillips, technical services manager at the British Hospitality Association, said he was surprised by the findings.

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