January 14 2004. According to a poll conducted on the Better Payment Practice Group (BPPG)
website during December, 75 per cent of firms will be using the new year as
a good opportunity to update their credit management practices.

The poll, of more than 400 businesses of all sizes, also revealed that most
firms are expecting their late paying customers to continue with their bad
habits during 2004, with only 18 per cent expecting their customers to turn
over a new leaf in their payments behaviour.

In light of this research, the BPPG would like to remind all businesses of
the importance of having a good credit policy which should be clearly
communicated to every member of staff in the business. Many of the measures
that need to be considered are basic techniques, but they can significantly
reduce the likelihood of being paid late.

These include proper credit vetting of new and existing customers, the need
to make terms and conditions clear at the outset, and the importance of a
well thought out credit management/collection strategy in case of default.

Dominique Vaughan Williams, member of the BPPG representing the Association
of British Insurers commented: "It's never too late to improve credit
management practices. As our survey shows, it's highly unlikely that late
paying customers are going to change their tune without any pressure to do
so from the supplier. Businesses need to take preventative steps to minimise
the impact of late payment, and not be afraid to protect their cash flow."

Businesses wishing to know more about adopting sound credit management can
visit the BPPG website, www.payontime.co.uk, for free advice.