Kiwi businesses pay bills quicker than Aussies

New Zealand businesses pay their bills faster, and much more promptly than Australian companies.

The latest analysis of business-to-business payments by credit bureau Dun & Bradstreet shows companies across New Zealand paid their invoices in an average of 41 days during the second quarter of the year.

That’s one day faster from the same time last year, and an improvement of two days from the previous quarter.

In a particularly encouraging sign, large companies – those employing more than 500 people – reduced their payment times to 43 days, compared to 45 days in the previous quarter. Two years ago, companies of this size were taking 50 days to settle their accounts.

Businesses paying their bills in the shortest amount of time overall are those in the agriculture sector, settling their accounts in 36 days - a one-day improvement from the previous quarter.

Cash flow analysis of Australian businesses for the same period shows that payment times have slowed across the past 12 months, edging up to 54 days for Q2 2013.

D&B’s general manager in New Zealand Lance Crooks says New Zealand’s performance points to resilience in the local economy. With solid economic activity delivering healthier finances, businesses are in a stronger cash flow position and better able to regulate their expenses, he says.

The caution and careful management that has been evident since the global financial crisis appears to have made businesses leaner, more efficient and better able to manage their cash flow,” Mr Crooks says.

“Payment times have steadily improved from the GFC in spite of the impacts of the long-running drought to our agricultural industry, recent earthquakes to our infrastructure, and the irregular performance of our trading partners.”

gbond@nbr.co.nz