25th Feb 2020 in Business

Northern Ireland’s small and medium sized businesses are suffering from bad debt, yet there are steps they can take to stop it being a burden, according to solicitors Edwards and Company.

While the overall bad debts owed to UK businesses was over £920m in 2016 in Northern Ireland two years later SMEs had the highest level out of all UK regions, owing three times the national average.

Philip Gordon, head of litigation at Edwards & Co explained: “The Small Business Commissioner has warned that bad debt represents one of main issues facing SMEs and has the potential to stifle growth and investment.

“Many simply write off the bad debt, making it a hidden cost to their business.”

Philip says that businesses can act, firstly to stop it becoming an issue and then when bad debt occurs.

He added: “The first action is to establish regular and thorough debtor reviews, seeking advice on contract terms and putting in place credit control measures. These should be included in financial and administrative procedures.

“When faced with a debt that is under £3,000 it can be pursued through the Small Claims Court, without the need to instruct a solicitor.

“The Northern Ireland Court Service has a helpful guide to taking such action, and the entire process is designed to allow individuals and businesses to bring their own actions.

“If successful when bringing a case to the Small Claims Court you will be awarded a judgement, which can then be enforced against the debtor.”

Edwards and Company’s Debt Recovery Team are on hand to advice and provide guidance to local SMEs who require assistance across all aspects of managing and recovering debt.

For more information log onto edwardsandcompany.co.uk or call 028 9032 1863

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