Protect your cashflow with tips from the Small Business Commissioner

The Prompt Payment Code and how it can help your business.


Research carried out last year discovered that 84% of small businesses had suffered from late payments. This often results in cash flow issues. The Office of the Small Business Commissioner (OSBC) ensures fair payment practices for Britain's small businesses. It can also help them resolve their payment disputes with larger businesses and bring about culture change.


Fed up with late payments? There’s help available

If you haven’t been paid within 30 days by a Prompt Payment Code signatory, you can make a complaint to the Small Business Commissioner. You can also check if your customer is a signatory by checking the OSBC website.

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner also has lots of guidance if you have problems getting paid, from how to deal with an unpaid invoice to how to calculate interest on an unpaid invoice. You can also read our top tips on how to deal effectively with late payments.


Here’s how the Prompt Payment Code works

The Prompt Payment Code (PPC) is a voluntary code of practice for businesses. It's administered by the Office of the Small Business Commissioner on behalf of government. It sets standards for payment practices between companies of any size and their suppliers.

Signatories agree to:

  • pay suppliers on time, within agreed terms

  • give clear guidance to suppliers on terms, dispute resolution and prompt notice of late payment

  • support good practice throughout their supply chain by encouraging adoption of the Code.

Companies that have signed up to the Prompt Payment Code need to pay small businesses within 30 days.

Being a Prompt Payment Code signatory isn’t just for big businesses. Any size of business can sign up and make the commitment to pay their small business customers promptly. This gives smaller customers payment security.


Need more reasons to sign up to the code?

There is a clear reputational advantage in signing up. But there are also some helpful wider ethical benefits to Code membership. Placing your company at the heart of good payment behaviour is a statement of good practice. It can help build trusted business links.


Thinking about signing up to the Prompt Payment Code?

There’s information on how to sign up to the code on the PPC website.

You can also read our top tips on how to deal with late payments.