A new study by the United Kingdom-based subsidiary of Dun & Bradstreet suggests updates the European Union Late Payments Directive already are having an impact on payment behavior, at least in Britain.

D&B’s statistics noted that British businesses borrowing on terms paid their bills on aggregate two days faster in 2012 than in the previous year. At an average of 17-days late, British businesses’ tardiness on terms reached a record level in 2011, said D&B.  Directive updates in the EU, last done in summer 2011, represent an important legal development designed to ensure the payment of business-to-business invoices is conducted within 60 days, and public authority-to-business invoices within 30 days. In theory, it is a win for suppliers. But there some potentially conflicting fallout exists, as D&B noted:

“This legislation makes it easier for businesses to pursue payment, with debtors being forced to incur interest and pay an administration fee if they fail to pay for goods and services within 60 days for business and 30 days for public authorities.  Whilst it will help protect some businesses [suppliers], the updated Directive presents new risks for companies [customers] struggling to manage their finances and pay on time, due to the potential interest liability risk.”

Courtesy Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer  (National Association of Credit Management