Clients are taking longer to pay small and medium sized consultants with 90 days now the norm before clients settle bills.
Leaders at the Association for Consultancy and Engineering said the pay delays risk driving firms out of business.
But larger firms saw payment times improve to an average of 70 days – down from 80 days in last year’s study.An ACE study showed payment times for smaller consultants had lengthened to 90 days this year up from 78 days last year.
Revenue per fee earner among companies with fewer than 50 staff rose 9% to an average £79,100 with a similar figure at larger practices.
ACE chief executive Dr Nelson Ogunshakin said: “These figures show there is a long way to go to ensure clients pay promptly for the work our industry does, even at a time when financial constraints have hit small companies hard.