z May 2022 - Saltare

(April, 2022) A new Bristol Fintech, Saltare, has opened its doors to help businesses across the UK to improve cashflow, strengthen supply chain relationships and give more certainty over their payments, through a series of innovative new products and a different way of thinking.

Saltare was born out of the knowledge that 82% of businesses fail not because of lack of profit, but through lack of cash. Yet, recent studies suggest UK SMEs are currently waiting on almost £200bn tied up in unpaid invoices, and the key to unlocking those payments could rest in incentivising larger organisations to pay early, and in giving them the tools and reasons for doing so.

The fintech is looking to make transformational change in how payments are made and received, developing digitally-based tools to encourage larger organisations to get money into the hands of their smaller suppliers more quickly, and benefit directly by doing so through discounts and other preferential terms.

In re-examining the customer/supplier relationship, the founder of Saltare – Chief Executive Anthony Persse – believes they can turn the late payment conversation on its head: “British business needs to be much more disruptive in its thinking if we are to make real, meaningful change,” Anthony explains.

“By shifting the debate away from the negative commentary around ‘late payment’ and moving it towards a more positive conversation about ‘early payment’, we will do much more than simply improve payment performance. We will help create more jobs, deliver greater levels of investment and generate deeper social value with long-term sustainability at a time when the country needs it most.”

The catalyst for change will be a suite of products that use intuitive, mobile-led technology to enable buyers to manage their entire supply chain in a way that works for them and their key suppliers – giving all parties greater choice, convenience, certainty and transparency. The tools Saltare is developing will especially look to address the needs of some of the more challenging sectors and industries, where big businesses or organisations have an extended supply chain. These range from public sector and local authority bodies through to retail and construction.

Anthony says that a good business can easily fail if they don’t have cash: “Our mission is to develop a series of tools that bring the certainty of payment, and the certainty of cashflow, that support both ends of the supply chain. Bigger than this, our mission is to change the mind-set of businesses once and for all, to embrace a new approach that is simple to make, and yet will have positive consequences for future generations.”

To support the launch, Saltare will announce a number of new senior appointments across its sales and marketing teams in the coming weeks.

The business is headquartered on the Cube M4 Business Park in Bristol.

Having a strong supply chain is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your arsenal. Creating a solid network of all the organisations involved in delivering your product or service to your end customer – from vendors to producers, warehouses to retailers – is critical to keeping things running smoothly. In fact, it can make or break your success.

Here’s why they could be the key to making your supply chain even stronger.

Building confidence and trust

It might sound simple, but don’t under-estimate the importance of having confidence in and being able to trust each and every member of your supply chain. Early payments can help build this confidence – for both suppliers and customers alike.

If you’re a buyer, offering to pay early (for example in return for a small discount), signifies that you’ve got the cash ready and waiting, and are considerate of the fact that your supplier might benefit from a boost to their cash flow before the date their invoice is due.

For suppliers, being able to incentivise your customers to pay early by offering a small discount signals sound financial wellbeing. If you’re able to offer your services or products at a beneficial cost, it implies you’re not stretched to the last penny – which gives customers confidence and reassurance that you’re not at risk and they’ll be able to keep buying from you.

Access to better deals

It goes without saying that, if early payment benefits both buyer and supplier, there could be great deals attached to paying up early. When either side is empowered to use early payment as a tool for negotiation – whether that’s a reduction in price, a speedier delivery, or another mutually agreed benefit – it can help move things along exponentially, and might even lead to longer term process changes in your supply chain that keep things really efficient and effective.

Reputation builder

If you’re a buyer that’s offering to pay early, you’re going one step further than avoiding a reputation as a nightmare customer that your supplier has to keep chasing: you’ll become a preferred choice.

When suppliers are stretched or at capacity, they’ll be in a position to choose who they work with. Customers or buyers with good reputations for paying on time (or, even better, early) are much more likely to make their way up the food chain of preference – and might even attract more suppliers looking to work with them, as a result of word of mouth, too.

Growth on both sides

It’s no secret that, for the SMEs and start-ups that form a bulk of the UK’s suppliers, cash is king. Offering early payment can be a real cash injection that helps SMEs out with their cashflow. And good cashflow means more money to invest and grow.

But the benefits aren’t one sided. If you’re a buyer that’s looking to grow, you’ll need your suppliers to be able to keep up with your ambitions – which will likely lead to an increased demand for goods or services. By paying them early and helping them grow, you’ll be helping them to help you grow, when the time comes.

Only as strong as your weakest link

When it comes down to it, your supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link – and late payment has a habit of breaking the bonds that the chain relies on. In fact, according to a recent survey of 500 UK decision makers, 86% agreed that one single late payment affects everyone in the supply chain. And, out of the 31% of businesses that admitted paying a supplier late, almost half say it was due to a late or failed payment from their customer.

So, if late payment has a knock-on, negative impact on everyone in a supply chain, imagine the knock-on, positive impact that early payment could have, if things were reversed?

How Early Pay can help

If reading this has convinced you that building early payment into your supply chain is something you should be looking at, you’re in the right place.

Our CEO, Anthony Persse, thinks it’s time to turn the conversation about late payment on its head: “By shifting towards a more positive conversation about ‘early payment’, we will do much more than simply improve payment performance. We will help create more jobs, deliver greater levels of investment and generate deeper social value with long-term sustainability at a time when the country needs it most.”

If you’d like more information, please get in touch with the team at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.

The environmental, social and governance impact and responsibilities that all businesses have – often referred to as the ESG agenda – is a big priority at the moment. Organisations of all shapes and sizes are recognising that they have a duty to try to make the world a better place, whether that’s by lowering their carbon footprint, boosting investment in their local community, or making sure they’re governed properly and fairly.

At Saltare, we think that early payments are one of the best ways for organisations to drive social value – and make a real difference to small businesses in particular. Here’s why.

What is social value?

Social value is essentially an umbrella term for how much value an organisation provides to society. It’s a measure of the impact they have on social factors around them, from wellbeing to efficiency, productivity and profit.

How can early payments create social value?

Late payments cause no end of problems for everyone involved in a supply chain but in particular for SMEs. It’s a huge concern for our CEO, Anthony Persse, and something we’re trying hard to fix.

“Businesses don’t fail because of lack of profit, the primary reason they fail is that they run out of cash.”, says Anthony Persse, CEO at Saltare. “Cash is absolutely critical to business survival and the wellbeing of a business owner. So, it’s unsurprising that a significant part of a small business owners time is spent chasing cash from unpaid invoices.”

“There’s a huge amount of evidence highlighting that many small businesses are paid late. If invoices are accurate and timely, and goods or services are delivered as promised, there should be no excuse for late payment. In fact, what if we could go one step further than just paying on time – and think about meaningful incentives for paying early, instead?

“It’s time to turn the ‘late payment challenge’ into an ‘early payment challenge’ – and reverse the negative impact of late payment into a positive one of early payment.”

Injecting cash into the supply chain

Having a strong and sustainable supply chain, based on solid relationships, is one of the most critical tools any business can have in their arsenal. Late payments cause more problems than just hold ups in supply chains – they stop both buyers and suppliers having the tools they need to succeed and grow.

What’s more, they can cause reputational damage too – and, as you’re only as strong as the weakest link in your supply chain – that’s not a risk worth taking. Early payments could be the key to things running smoothly.

Giving the gift of time

Rather than spending time chasing payments or tracking down customers who’ve gone quiet, imagine if small business owners could focus exclusively on what they’re best at – running their business?

The cost of lost opportunity due to payment chasing is hard to quantify, but a study by Tide in Jan 2020 reported that up to 900,000 hours a day was spent by small businesses chasing payments. If approximately 1 hour a day is spent chasing payments – that amounts to 14% of an average working week.

It works both ways, too. If SMEs are chasing payments, that means their customers’ finance teams or invoice departments are the ones being chased – and spending time fielding and replying to enquiries.

Just think what both busy SMEs, and buyers’ finance teams, could do if they had that time back.

The human cost

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, early payments can hugely reduce the human cost that late payments have for SMEs.

Given that cash is so important to small businesses, it’s no surprise that having the confidence that you’re going to get paid (and knowing exactly when) is a big priority for business owners. Not knowing causes stress, worry, and anxiety – which can ultimately damage overall wellbeing, according to Pay UK.

That uncertainty also makes it harder to make decisions about investment and recruitment – and even paying your suppliers, too.

How Early Pay can help

Early Pay works for the entire supply chain – and effectively levels the playing field. It’s all about transparency, with simple, clear communications for both buyers and suppliers. Knowing when and how people will be paid is a great start, but Early Pay also offers the chance to be paid early, too – in exchange for a small discount. If that sounds like something you’d like to implement into your ESG agenda, get in touch with one of our team.

Our NED Philip King wrote an opinion piece for the Director of Finance [Making the case for Early Payment – Director of Finance Online (dofonline.co.uk)] about making the case for Early Payment.

Getting paid on time can be a lifeline to levelling up and supercharging growth. Cash is like oxygen; the problem is that many businesses are still gasping for air. The challenge is well known, and the facts speak for themselves: an estimated £200bn is currently tied up in unpaid invoices and more than nine out of every ten small businesses is owed money beyond their agreed payment terms. Eight out of ten businesses that fail do so because they run out of cash, and that’s despite an estimated 900,000 hours that SMEs spend every day in chasing overdues.

But while the conversation has tended to focus on the damage caused by companies paying late, isn’t it about time that conversation was inverted, and we started talking about the benefits of paying early? Has the pandemic given us the opportunity and the appetite to challenge the status quo, to think differently, and be braver in the way we tackle the cashflow conundrum?

Invest and grow

It is easy to see why a small business supplier would benefit from being paid early. The certainty of cash in the bank breeds a confidence that makes a business more sustainable, that enables them not simply to survive, but also to grow, to invest in the people, processes and technology required to support their longer-term ambitions.

It is perhaps more difficult to see why a larger customer should part with their cash sooner than their stated terms. It is easy – and for some pressure groups convenient – to forget that these firms have responsibilities too, to their own employees and wider stakeholder groups, and have their own cashflow challenges to address.

But what if they could be persuaded that by paying their suppliers early, they would not only strengthen those supplier relationships but also enhance their own cash position rather than weaken it? And what if also they could be convinced that in paying their suppliers early, they not only support a growing UK economy, but could also bring about positive societal change?

Early payment may seem counter-intuitive but for customers and suppliers alike, it drives much-needed cash more quickly into the supply chain. It reduces the hours that small businesses spend in chasing payments, and larger businesses waste in fielding payment calls, bringing benefits to both parties in enabling managers or credit teams to focus on more valued-added activities. It enables customers to negotiate and agree better discounts with their suppliers, and in doing so benefit those suppliers who have even greater visibility and certainty of future business. Conversely, it makes the larger business – the buyer – the customer of choice and enables both entities to collaborate in developing new products and services knowing that the investment in time and resource will bring long-term benefit.

Societal benefits

Knowing not only that an invoice will be paid, but also when, similarly delivers wider, societal benefits. It has a direct impact on mental wellbeing, for example, reducing the stress and anxiety that many small business owners have in worrying about where the next penny is coming from. In doing so, it also gives customers the satisfaction of deliver a tangible ‘S’ in their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, supporting the supply chain and doing social good.

There will be some, indeed many, who will take convincing that early payment is really a good thing. But if we are to really change the customer/supplier relationship, and remove the late payment scourge, then repeating the tired mantras of the past won’t get us to where we want to be. To change the world of payments, and transform the entire economic landscape, we need to be more radical, and give suppliers and customers the time, space and tools to breathe.

Our CEO, Anthony Persse and our NED, Philip King spoke to Mark Hart, Deputy Director of the Enterprise Research Centre (UK) on the ‘Exploring Enterprise’ podcast. The podcast, titled ‘Changing the late payment culture’ is a topic very close to our mission and one that we are very passionate about.

In this snippet our CEO Anthony Persse discusses how uncertainty around payments causes huge amounts of stress and anxiety to suppliers.

Listen to full conversation between Anthony PerssePhilip King and Mark Hart on the Enterprise Research Centre (UK) website here: https://lnkd.in/e3nySfkg