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(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.

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.