Private Companies 29

UK

August 18, 2018: CPA On-Line Limited: SMEs Losing Pound50bn to Late Payment

NEWS BITES - PRIVATE COMPANIES

Once again, late payment has demonstrated its hold over British business. Since the collapse of the construction giant Carillion earlier this year, the country's late payment culture has been thrust into the spotlight. The government has attempted initiatives to change bad payment behaviour but so far very little has changed.

This recent poll by Hitachi Capital, the Japanese lender, found that smaller businesses were more likely to suffer from late payment, with 63 per cent of businesses with an annual turnover of less than Pound1 million affected. The research reported a mere 30 percent had seen all of their invoices paid on time.

.Late payment has always hit small businesses the hardest. Persistently unpaid invoices weaken cash flow, leaving insufficient turnover that has consequently driven small firms into financial hardship. Insolvencies and restructuring procedures have become commonplace on the high street, where online competition and stunted spending behaviour have further contributed to the growing vulnerability of SMEs.

Without third-party assistance, these small businesses- the lifebloods of the UK economy- are at risk of ceasing to exist at all.

Late payments were found to be most prevalent in the manufacturing and legal sectors, where 81 per cent and 79 per cent of respondents respectively reported such issues. In the transport and distribution sector, 76 per cent of companies cited unpaid invoices.

Government initiatives such as the Prompt Payment Code have provided limited relief and the responsibility now rests with the businesses themselves. Most firms lack the expertise to operate efficient credit control procedures so third-party services are therefore recommended. Nevermind their size, businesses need to be advised on how to retain positive creditworthiness. Thorough credit checks are obviously vital here and this is where the Credit Protection Association come into their own.

The monitoring services offered by CPA scrutinise payment practices of all customers and suppliers. The consequent credit checks, status reports and directorship databases all offer information on creditworthiness, highlighting any bad behaviour or CCjs that may suggest an antagonistic future business relationship.

INDEX

SECTION 1 CPA ON-LINE LIMITED PROFILE

SECTION 2 PRESS RELEASES: 2018

SECTION 1 CPA ON-LINE LIMITED PROFILE

1.1 ACTIVITIES

CPA On-Line Limited offers online credit management services. The company was incorporated in 1987 and is based in London, United Kingdom. CPA On-Line Limited operates as a subsidiary of The Credit Protection Association PLC.

1.2 SUMMARY

PermID: 5015436076

Website: http://www.cpa.co.uk

Industry: Miscellaneous Commercial Servi

SECTION 2 PRESS RELEASES: 2018

August 14: CPA On-Line Limited: Impact of Brexit on Insolvency Regulation

As the Brexit deadline edges ever closer, many business owners and professional organisations are concerned for how the UK financial climate will prosper within the post-Brexit landscape.

The UK government has finally started to make progress with Brexit negotiations, with two White Papers published back in July and a draft Brexit withdrawal agreement drawn up earlier in February.

The implications of Brexit will bring forth changes to the economy and business sectors, potentially inputting tougher tariffs on goods and further weakening the retail market as a result. In the past year retailers have struggled with skyrocketing insolvencies and the emerging popularity of the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

Once the UK officially leaves the EU, insolvency proceedings will change shape. Cross-border proceedings could be forced to revert to domestic legislation, with the Recast EU Insolvency Regulation (EIR) and the Recast Brussels Regulation no longer applicable.

A member survey conducted by R3 in 2016 revealed that 83% of members thought that there would be a "negative impact" on how quickly insolvency procedures involving European work would be resolved, and 79% thought that there would be a negative impact on cost.

R3, the association of business recovery professionals, has spoken out against this and urged the UK to take steps to retain the benefits from both regulations. The trade body, as well as many others, has praised the "speed, clarity and predictability" that the EIR provided to cross-border work and how insolvency proceedings will be slower and costlier without it.

Until the government agrees on the country's exit terms for leaving the EU, the fate of the financial sector cannot be certain, and the continuation of EU insolvency regulations not guaranteed.

This prolonged state of uncertainty has made the UK look vulnerable, giving rival European cities ample opportunity to distract investors.

July 31: CPA On-Line Limited: Interest Rates Piqued to Rise, Firms Should Focus on Cash Flow

After months of uncertainty, the Bank is expected to finally raise interest rates. A hike was expected back in May this year, but due to certain economic downturns, it was discouraged. With both unemployment and inflation steady, and Brexit uncertainty easing, the current landscape has been deemed an acceptable platform for higher interest rates. The subsequently increased expense in borrowing will make debt less affordable, and hopefully, reduce the numbers of firms in financial distress. This should encourage greater fiscal responsibility from consumers and businesses alike, and brighten the financial landscape as the UK edges closer to the Brexit deadline next year.

British business is struggling under the weight of low profits and political uncertainty, but higher rates will hopefully encourage more firms and individuals to free themselves of debt. After all, bank loans and high street lenders are not the only way to receive an injection of cash, with credit managers and debt recovery professionals providing the cash and the expertise to attain a strong financial future.

At the Credit Protection Association, we provide financial support to business owners who are strapped for cash or merely looking to expand. If rates are indeed hiked as expected, business owners will be no longer able to postpone financial distress through credit or bank loans. Instead, CPA involvement and debt recovery services will approach the issue directly.

Amid solid economic data and recent hints from policymakers, market expectations of a quarter-point rise have increased to about 90% ' meaning the pound is likely to tumble if the Bank's monetary policy committee (MPC) holds steady on Thursday.

The expected rise to 0.75% would mark the highest level for Bank rate since it was cut to 0.5% in March 2009 in a bid to contain the fallout from the global banking crisis.

'The labour market is strong, and the MPC has made a pretty solid commitment to steady increases,' said Brian Hilliard, chief UK economist at Societe Generale.

July 25: CPA On-Line Limited: Bolstered Cash Flow Could Offset Manufacturing Investment Slowdown

While the sector is growing at a good pace, this is not transferring to expansion and investment has subsequently become stunted. Brexit uncertainty and squeezed consumer spending are weighing down on businesses and are inspiring doubt on future prospects. While the UK government struggles with Brexit negotiations, the future business landscape is unclear and until this is resolved, it may remain murky.

The general momentum from manufacturers has nonetheless proven strong, despite any political anxiety. A survey of manufacturers by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has shown that new orders at Britain's factories are continuing to 'expand at a brisk pace'. While the report acceded that orders from abroad have slowed since Brexit, this has been slightly offset by a pick-up in domestic demand.

A strong performance can only go so far, however, and firms and their workers need to focus on investment. Particularly with the post-Brexit landscape so uncertain, the UK needs to boost its image to international economies. Investing in new technology and innovation is a clear way to keep pace with rivals, ensuring all domestic firms are as efficient and capable as international counterparts.

At the Credit Protection Association, many of our Members struggle with low demand and tough competition, and our cash flow management expertise provide the tools to allow them to fight back. Our debt recovery services provide the financial confidence to pursue investment opportunities, while our credit management products ensure future prospects are not damned by bad finances.

The manufacturing sector makes up about 10 per cent of the British economy and its performance is taken into account by the Bank of England's policymakers when they decide whether to change interest rates.

The CBI's quarterly gauge of factory output rose to a one-year high of 27 per cent in July, up from 13 per cent in April.

July 17: CPA On-Line Limited: Strong Business Confidence Sustained by Stronger Cash Flow

After months of plummeting profits, slow sales and faster-moving insolvencies, business confidence is finally improving. As Brexit preparations are underway and the economy is finally gaining momentum, businesses are sensing the softer landscape and a more positive sentiment has emerged. As the economy dips and slips, businesses should be aware that the landscape could become harsher but should not let their confidence slip as a result. Business owners should prepare their finances for whatever their sector may encounter.

A long-running business index rose above the long-term average to a reading of 25 per cent in the second quarter, according to Lloyds Bank who conducted the research. This is not to suggest the whole business landscape has been smoothed over, and there are still serious concerns weighing down on firms. Lloyds found that while firms had become more confident in their own prospects, this was not transferring to investment. The poll revealed that the number of firms looking to increase investment in the next six months fell to 12 per cent, highlighting how hesitant business owners are to commit fully to the environment.

Whether the eventual outcome of Brexit works in favour of businesses or not, all owners within the landscape must be prepared. This means having finances that are strong enough to overcome economic disappoints, as well as the employees who will maintain strong productivity levels and work output. At the Credit Protection Association, our debt recovery services free up cash flow and award our Members with fundamental financial confidence.

Uncertainty over the Brexit process remains the biggest risk, with 21 per cent of firms citing it. Over a third of businesses expect a negative impact on business if no trade agreement is reached with the EU.

July 13: CPA On-Line Limited: SMEs Need to Focus on Cash Flow as Late Payment Reaches Pound14.9 Bn

Late payment remains a serious concern for British businesses, with small and medium-sized enterprises hit the hardest. There has been a multitude of government initiatives and small business commissioners and ministers that have pledged their devotion to the fight, but nothing has drastically changed. Late payment persists. Recent events such as Carillion's collapse, the bad weather back in March, and the prolonged uncertainty surrounding Brexit, have all aggravated the plight of the SME community.

The study, conducted by small business finance provider Liberis, revealed that on average respondents were owed Pound11,000, which totalled up to Pound14.9 billion across the UK's 5.7 million small firms. While this number has dipped slightly since last April, when a study touted the debt to have reached Pound44.6 billion, SMEs need to see that number disappear completely. Small businesses make up the backbone of the UK economy and late payment has already driven many into insolvency. If something doesn't shift, by next April, these businesses could be cleared off the streets completely.

At the Credit Protection Association, we focus our efforts on improving our Members' finances, mending holes in cash flow as well as providing the opportunity for further expansion. A lot of our Members need to be dragged back from the brink of insolvency, and we are more than happy to oblige.

The research, which polled over 400 SMEs in the UK in March, found that 58 per cent of small firms are currently owed up to Pound10,000 with 27 per cent owed more than Pound20,000. In addition, 50 per cent of respondents claimed that aged debt has hindered investment in their own business, while 72 per cent said they spent three days a month chasing money they were owed.

"The Government continually stresses the importance of small businesses to the nation's economy," said Rob Straathof, Chief Executive of Liberis.

"But with mounting debts owed by their clients and customers, some SMEs are at breaking point."Late payment continues to linger.

July 11: CPA On-Line Limited: Brexit Continues to Hurt Business, Refocusing on Cash Flow Will Help

Brexit uncertainty still lingers, inspiring much hesitation from business owners on how to progress. The uncertainty surrounding future prospects has caused many to exercise caution with how they handle new opportunities within their business, particularly with new investments and big-ticket purchases within the company. Progress with Brussels has been slow, but whatever the outcome, businesses shouldn't allow themselves to be weakened by the decision of their politicians. Finance platforms, such as credit management, can provide business members with the advice and debt recovery services, that will keep business finances going strong; well after the Brexit deadline next year.

According to a poll conducted by Capital Economics, three in ten small and medium-sized companies have postponed plans in the second quarter of the year because of uncertainties around Britain's exit from the EU. This was even more severe for small businesses who export to the EU, with more than four in ten scrapping plans to invest due to Brexit.

To dispel this anxiety, businesses should focus on their cash flow and how their business finances can springboard them into prosperity rather than topple them into insolvency. At the Credit Protection Association, our debt recovery services free up cash flow and give our Members the financial security to overcome economic downturns and further shifts within the business community.

TechUK, a trade body that represents technology businesses, responded to the research by calling on the government to provide greater clarity on future trading relations.

The survey commissioned by Amazon UK and Enterprise Nation, a networking and support group, found businesses in all UK regions expect conditions for their company to deteriorate, on average, over the coming year.

The most commonly delayed business decision cited concerned new hiring, followed by upgrading business tools and raising finance.

Despite the concerns about Brexit, it was not top of the list of most pressing concerns.

July 10: CPA On-Line Limited: Stronger Cash Flow Should Give Firms Confidence Boost

Brexit uncertainty lingers, wage growth has slowed, and economic activity has stalled; so it's little wonder business confidence is floundering. Retailers are battling low profits and low consumer confidence, creating a rather cynical business landscape on the high street. Other sectors such as construction and manufacturing, are equally experiencing subdued activity as they battle Carillion's aftermath and stalled demand from international economies. Closer scrutiny of business finances and cash flow, as well as the subtle advances in trade talks with Brussels., could suggest a brighter future for the economy.

A second-quarter survey of more than 6,000 businesses has found investment to have fallen over the quarter, along with a disconcerting dwindling confidence from business owners. The BCC who conducted the survey, admits Brexit is a "key factor" but that long-standing issues are also holding back economic growth.

Business growth is undeniably linked to the government's decision to leave the European Union, but its recovery does not rely on a positive political outcome. Businesses can boost sentiment themselves, by contacting a third party like us at the Credit Protection Association. Our debt recovery services chase down unpaid invoices and residual debt to improve our Members' financial position, as well as their confidence in their abilities to run a successful business.

"Amid growing international uncertainty, from escalating trade disputes to oil price rises, the UK economy continues to grow at a sluggish rate," Adam Marshall, the BCC's director-general, said.

"Brexit is a key factor, but long-standing structural issues are also holding companies' growth back." He said that the availability of skilled staff was the biggest issue and called on the government to get "a handle on the disarray in the training and apprenticeship system" and to set "out a clear immigration policy that enables firms to cover vacancies".

Without those, "the economic potential of many areas across the UK will continue to be held back".

July 09: CPA On-Line Limited : Retailers Should Refocus on Cash Flow as Sales Plummet

It will come as no great surprise to anyone that British retail has once again been dealt a bad hand. British high streets have been wrecked with low profits and plummeting sales figures, leading many household names to declare insolvency or cling in desperation to restructuring procedures. While the weather warms up and other sectors show signs of strength, retailers desperately try to inspire an upturn in consumer confidence.

New figures released by the consultancy BDO revealed how year-on-year sales fell by 1.7 per cent last month. This is the fifth successive month of in-store declines, signifying the severity of the problem. The retail sector has been in distress since last year's holiday season, which gifted the sector with disappointing sales figures and an unprecedented lacklustre Black Friday. High costs, tough online competition and stunted consumer spending have further weakened retailers since the beginning of the year.

While many businesses have viewed insolvency and Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA) as their only options, there is a multitude of alternatives to firms who are in financial distress. Rather than allow an insolvency practitioner to reshape the whole business' structure, business owners could uncover extra cash within their business. At the Credit Protection Association, our debt recovery services free up cash flow through the recovery of residual debt and bring our Members back from the brink.

BDO said that the results for June had capped the end of a "crippling" six months in which negative like-for-like growth was recorded in lifestyle goods (-0.3 per cent), fashion (-2.3 per cent) and homewares (-2.4 per cent). Non-store sales rose by 10.4 per cent but this was the lowest annual increase since December 2015 as retailers struggled to cope with a further erosion in consumer confidence.

Ms. Michael said that sales last month had been particularly hit by torrential rain and localised flooding, with overall year-on-year store sales falling by 6.5 per cent in the first week.

July 09: CPA On-Line Limited : BoE Urges Firms to Focus Cash Flow on Cyber Defences

As technology starts to play more of a role in everyday lives, its prominence has filtered down into the business landscape. Financial services have been transformed by technological advancements, introducing mobile and online banking to ease the process for consumers. Retail and service sectors have also acquired self-service ticket machines and automated help desks to help customers as well as simplify the daily grind for employees. Of course, a greater reliance on digital processes also increases risk, gauging the interest of hackers and swindlers.

For every artful dodger and fraudster, there is a firewall and anti-theft software. The one true antagonist to a modern business is complacency. There remain businesses who dismiss the digital age, refusing to purchase new computers as well as data protection defences. Nevermind how innovative the business, criminals can still steal information and threaten the business in the process.

In a recent discussion paper, written following the disastrous Visa meltdown last month, the Bank of England urged tech firms to mount their defences against cyber attacks. The paper was also written by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and was published one month after TSB also botched its software upgrade, which led to thousands of customers to suffer fraud attacks. Both of these financial disasters have illustrated the importance of possessing a backup plan to combat such crises.

At the Credit Protection Association, we encourage our Members to plan ahead. Our debt recovery services free up cash flow and provide our Members with the extra cash to invest in new technology, as well as the software to protect themselves from it.

Visa was thrown into chaos last month when its payment system crashed across Europe, causing thousands of people to have their cards declined at supermarkets, major retailers and on public transport.

July 06: CPA On-Line Limited : Retailers Should Refocus on Cash Flow as Sales Plummet

It will come as no great surprise to anyone that British retail has once again been dealt a bad hand. British high streets have been wrecked with low profits and plummeting sales figures, leading many household names to declare insolvency or cling in desperation to restructuring procedures. While the weather warms up and other sectors show signs of strength, retailers desperately try to inspire an upturn in consumer confidence.

New figures released by the consultancy BDO revealed how year-on-year sales fell by 1.7 per cent last month. This is the fifth successive month of in-store declines, signifying the severity of the problem. The retail sector has been in distress since last year's holiday season, which gifted the sector with disappointing sales figures and an unprecedented lacklustre Black Friday. High costs, tough online competition and stunted consumer spending have further weakened retailers since the beginning of the year.

While many businesses have viewed insolvency and Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA) as their only options, there is a multitude of alternatives to firms who are in financial distress. Rather than allow an insolvency practitioner to reshape the whole business' structure, business owners could uncover extra cash within their business. At the Credit Protection Association, our debt recovery services free up cash flow through the recovery of residual debt and bring our Members back from the brink.

BDO said that the results for June had capped the end of a 'crippling' six months in which negative like-for-like growth was recorded in lifestyle goods (-0.3 per cent), fashion (-2.3 per cent) and homewares (-2.4 per cent). Non-store sales rose by 10.4 per cent but this was the lowest annual increase since December 2015 as retailers struggled to cope with a further erosion in consumer confidence.

Ms. Michael said that sales last month had been particularly hit by torrential rain and localised flooding, with overall year-on-year store sales falling by 6.5 per cent in the first week.

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