Get In Touch +44 (0)1254 915 187


Impact of Carillion Collapse Highlights Need for Payment Change

Last Updated by openecx-admin

This week it has been announced that construction giant Carillion is to go into liquidation, owing up to 30,000 businesses around £1bn in unpaid costs, as well as putting thousands of jobs at risk.

What is clear from the collapse of such a seemingly untouchable giant such as Carillion is that there is a wider review needed for the way the industry is operating under its current business model. As part of that, the traditionally long and uncertain payment terms facing many construction subcontractors needs to be reviewed.

The payment processes in place across many businesses within the industry are still manual and complex. Changes are needed to modernise and protect the sector against the impact of cases such as the Carillion collapse.

Current reports state that Carillion owed money to between 25,000 and 30,000 businesses, some of which had bills which were equivalent to 10% of their turnover. The knock-on effect for subcontractors and the industry as a whole could be catastrophic.

“Looking at previous cases where large contractors have collapsed, you typically see that around 17% or 18% of businesses who are creditors to the company don’t make it through the next five years”, states Suzannah Nichol, chief executive of trade body Build UK.

It’s clear that steps are needed to improve cash flow between contractors and subcontractors – for the benefit of all.

Automated payment processing systems are shifting from “nice to have” to an essential item for businesses to remain viable.

For contractors, they benefit from increased efficiencies and a much more accurate understanding of their liabilities at any given time.

For subcontractors, they gain visibility of the progress of their various applications for payment – something that will help them with their business planning.

With the right technology, payment processes can become efficient, standardised, transparent and quick. Most importantly, the automation of these processes can allow for tracking and management across the whole supply chain which reduces risk and helps to build a clear and transparent picture of the finances affecting the business. Such disruptive technologies means the industry is facing a future of dramatic change.

‘With more and more businesses having taken the first key step towards automation (Application generated PDF documents), it’s time to discuss the next time-consuming, labour-intensive and error-prone element to overcome’, writes Matthew Jones at Open ECX.

The easiest and most efficient way to send documents such as invoices and orders is via email as a PDF document. Billing systems create the PDF documents and email them directly to the recipient. (more…)

Construction industry must overcome the late payments problem

Last Updated by John Vasili, Director of Business Development at Invapay

The UK construction industry as a whole tends to cling on to outmoded and inefficient payment practices even when presented with more effective ways of working – a point that is particularly valid when it comes to working capital management and payment processing, writes John Vasili, Director of Business Development at Invapay.

The construction industry has a long-standing problem when it comes to B2B payments. The NSCC & FMB Payment Survey revealed that 40 per cent of businesses are not paid within contracted terms, a third of payments due are late – representing 4.4 per cent of turnover on average – and that subcontractors write off £200 million in late payments and retentions. (more…)

Building Platform for Future Growth with WebContractor

Last Updated by Mark Mitchell, Operations Finance Director at Osborne

Osborne Van Keeping on top of the paperwork generated by even the most straightforward project-based contract with a given subcontractor can prove an arduous task, with various documents coming in and going out throughout the works requiring actioning. Managing this process in a timely and efficient manner becomes increasingly difficult as the number of ongoing projects and subcontractor contracts increase, something we have first-hand experience of at Osborne.

We utilised the services of more than 1,200 different subcontractors last year – from major businesses working on our behalf on a number of projects right down to small, niche companies working on one-off projects.

As you can imagine, processing payment-related paperwork for each of these subcontractors without error or issue is no easy task. That’s why we’re working with Open ECX to build and implement a bespoke system called WebContractor to increase efficiencies.


The 2016 Farmer Review, or ‘Modernise or Die’ report, by the Construction Leadership Council provided much food for thought in terms of adapting and reorganising traditional onsite business processes in order for firms to remain viable in future. What the report doesn’t consider so explicitly however, are the numerous efficiencies to be gained by adapting processes in the back-office.

The Review suggests that ‘business as usual’ is not an option while the industry faces an uncertain post-Brexit future. Instead, rigorous thinking and planning, moving to more efficient ways of working on site, and employing the right quality and quantity of skill are important. (more…)

FAQs – Construction Industry Payments

Last Updated by openecx-admin

There is a lot of discussion in the industry relating to construction financial management and the construction payment process. Here, we try to answer some key questions…

The UK construction industry is notoriously challenged by delayed and late B2B payments. Why is this sector struggling more than others?

In the majority of industries and in everyday life, we usually pay immediately and in full for any goods and services received. In the construction industry however, projects can be lengthy and interim valuations and applications for payment are necessary to ensure that materials and labour used on the job so far are paid for. (more…)

UK Construction Act Overview: Take Control of Subcontractor Payments

Last Updated by Colin Darch, Business Process Consultant, Open ECX

The UK Construction Act Begins to Bite

The payment provisions in the UK Construction act have been designed to impose structure, clear timelines and defined areas of responsibility into what is one of the most contentious parts of the contractor – subcontractor relationship.

This framework, in combination with a revamped dispute resolution process designed to give both sides access to rapid adjudication, means that contractors need to develop a firm understanding of the payment process and their responsibilities within it.


The new ‘Duty to Report on Payment Practices and Performance’ legislation comes into force April 2017

Last Updated by Colin Darch, Business Process Consultant, Open ECX

Why businesses should treat the new ‘Duty to Report on Payment Practices and Performance’ legislation as more than a tick box exercise

Under new Government legislation coming into force in April 2017, large companies will soon be asked to report on their payment practices, policies and performance every six months. While compliance is mandatory, there are commercial incentives available to those businesses that treat the new Government legislation as more than just a tick-box exercise.

The new duty to report will make a whole host of large companies’ payment-related information publically available for the first time.


Simple e-Invoicing via PDF

Last Updated by openecx-admin

Open ECX provides a supplier-friendly way to send and receive electronic invoices. Non-disruptive to your supply chain and simple to use – Open ECX guarantees high adoption rates. As most finance applications can automatically generate and email PDF invoices, suppliers are finding this approach an easy-to-use and low-cost way to automate, reduce costs and go paper-free. However, most receiving organisations still have to print the invoice in order to process it. Open ECX solves this problem for you. Invoices that are received via email are automatically converted into e-invoices, ready for processing.

View PDF Here