FIRMS across Yorkshire and the Humber are estimated to be wasting nearly £88million pursuing late payments of bills.
According to recent statistics companies in the region are wasting a total of 762,000 staff days a year chasing customer late payments and at least half of the businesses said the problem has got worse in the past year.
New research by Bibby Financial Services indicates that each firm on average spends 775 per year chasing up unpaid accounts.
Considering that the UK economy is claimed to now be growing, the problem of getting outstanding bills paid is a worrying one for the region, according to the report.
But it claims the situation could soon deteriorate for firms in the region if the Coalition Government repeals former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling's March 2010 Budget pledge and increases the Government's payment terms on invoices from five days to 30 days.
It is claimed such a move would hit small businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber which supply the Government with products and services.
The firms would no longer be able to rely on the earlier timely payments from the Government which could badly affect their cashflow.
Graham Cooper, Bibby Financial Services spokesperson for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: "Our research demonstrates that late payment continues to be one of the biggest challenges faced by the region's small and medium-sized businesses.
"Firms cannot keep stalling payment and expect it to have no consequence because a delay in collecting in outstanding monies will have an effect on any business regardless of its size. This will only get harder if the Government's payment terms are extended to 30 days."