Swindon-based construction firm Beard has released new figures showing that it has delivered an improved payment performance in the first half of 2020.
The average time from invoice to payment in the six months to 30 June 2020 was just 26 days – down from an already impressive 27 days in the preceding six months.
Beard also delivered a significant improvement in payments made within the agreed terms – up from 85% in the second half of 2019 to 89% in the first six months of this year.
This combination places Beard at the leading edge of prompt payment within the construction sector. Some contractors have average payment times more than twice as long, and pay more than half of all invoices late.
The family-owned firm’s industry-leading performance comes at a time when the construction industry is facing severe financial pressures as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. It will be particularly welcomed by suppliers who are struggling in the current climate.
Beard has also committed to signing up to the Prompt Payment Code. This commits firms to paying 95% of invoices within 60 days. Beard already exceeds this target: just 3% of payments fell outside this timescale in the first six months of 2020. By signing up to the Code, however, Beard will demonstrate its commitment to maintaining these high standards.
Finance director Fraser Johns comments: “When I joined Beard last year, it was made clear to me the emphasis the firm places on prompt payment.
“This is not just a set of numbers: for our suppliers, this is their livelihoods, and they depend on contractors paying in full and on time. The Covid-19 pandemic has made this all the more important.
“Many firms are struggling and we have all been forced to make difficult decisions over the last few months. It has been widely reported that some firms have reacted by delaying or withholding payments to suppliers.
“Beard regards that as wholly unacceptable. It is unethical – and it is also bad business.
“Firms that treat their suppliers well now will be much better placed to bounce back from the current situation as the market recovers.
“For Beard, meeting financial commitments to our suppliers is not an optional extra or a ‘nice to have’: it is integral to what we do and who we are as a firm.
“We are pleased with these numbers, but we will continue to strive to do even better in future.”