The amount of time that small and medium sized businesses have to wait in order to get paid is getting shorter, a new ISME survey shows.

According to the association's most recent credit watch, SMEs were waiting on average 58 days for payment in the second quarter of 2015. That compares to an average of 65 days in the same three month period last year.

The survey also showed that 21% of SMEs are experiencing delays of three months or more, down from 23%, while 4% are waiting 120 days and over.

Construction businesses have to wait on average 70 days, while wholesale businesses face the shortest payment period at 46 days.

It also noted that Munster businesses continue to wait longest - at 62 days - while Connacht is the most prompt at 50 days.

The improvement was welcomed by ISME but it wants the introduction of a mandatory statutory 30 days payments regime for all businesses trading in Ireland.

"While it is encouraging that the late payments is reducing, this has more got to do with better trading conditions than any great change in culture, especially among state agencies and big business," commented ISME's chief executive Mark Fielding. 

"The fact that SMEs are unable to charge interest on late payments clearly shows the weakness of legislation and the dominant strength of big business when it comes to supplier payments," he added.