Almost two-thirds of invoices paid by cheques are late, with a significant portion more than a month overdue, according to a survey.
The research, conducted by business software group Sage Ireland, highlights the impact that late cheque payments have on company cashflow.
A late payment culture in Ireland has been blamed on widespread cheque usage coupled with low take-up e-payment solutions.
The survey of 919 SMEs found 59 per cent of businesses said invoices paid by cheque were late, with 21 per cent of payments more than a month overdue.
It also revealed that the majority of businesses (54 per cent) use bank records to track cashflow, with only 44 per cent using a management solution to centralise information.
"Cashflow is the lifeblood of businesses, especially for SMEs. There are a number of measures that can be taken to alleviate the effects of late payments and ease the worry of cashflow issues. It is vital that businesses keep on the front foot with payments and understand the full extent of their outgoings," Simon Bell, commercial manager at Sage Ireland said.
The Central Bank-led National Payments Plan aims to double the level of e-payments in Ireland by next year to bring Irish use of cash and cheques in transactions down.
Ireland has one of the lowest users of e-payments is Europe, with 133 e-Payments per capita per annum versus the EU average of 273.