The annual capital working survey found that suppliers were now getting paid 10.5 days slower than they were a year ago, potentially creating a liquidity crunch for smaller contractors.
In its survey of 160 listed Australian companies across a broad range of sectors, McGrath Nicol found that most big companies were now taking longer to collect cash and pay suppliers.
MGrathNicol estimates the cash impact of the payment delay at $1.5 billion.
The delays have been attributed to tougher competition, the centralisation of procurement slowing down the processing of invoices and businesses now dealing with more small clients, making the collection of payments more time consuming.
McGrathNicol partner Jason Ireland says this could lead to problems further down the track.
“If you have got to resort to stretching creditors to conserve cash, you’re either going to place liquidity pressure on your suppliers or your suppliers will leave,” Mr Ireland told the Australian Financial Review.