CUT THE ADMIN BURDEN ON SMEs
If you feel you are constantly wading through admin tasks, with too little time left for your core business activities, you’re not alone. A new survey by Sage has once again underlined just how much time UK SMEs are losing through red tape – an estimated 120 working hours per year on average. Other research has put the level even higher.
Where Time is Being Lost
Keeping on top of accounts and cashflow often presents a problem for small businesses. Business banking and tax both also take up a lot of time, and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has estimated that, together with accounts, these financial activities together take up 31 hours of the average small business’s time per month.
Another major admin area is keeping up with HR issues, employment law and pensions are related fields which have become increasingly time-consuming over recent years. Health and safety compliance can also take up a lot of staff time.
Outsourcing – As a business owner, you may feel you are saving money by doing things yourself, but your time is a valuable business asset and needs to be costed. There is a risk of spreading yourself too thinly by getting caught up with admin which someone else could do.
Consider delegating routine tasks to someone inhouse or get some extra input from outside.
Alternatives to employing someone could be finding a virtual assistant or an online accountancy or book-keeping service. Outsourcing all or part of your accounting means you can be sure that your tax returns will be filed on time and your company will meet all its legal obligations, avoiding the risk of fines.
Partially outsourcing HR is another popular option, either by signing up to a support line which can offer advice as and when it is needed, or by finding a provider who will get to know your business. Pensions and legal services are among the HR areas where companies often look for outside support.
Technology – Digital and automation are increasingly taken for granted in many types of business. With new apps and digital tools constantly being developed, there is no doubt that technology can save a lot of time.
Companies are now moving into using smartphones and tablets for more of their business. This is especially useful if your staff travel out and about or sometimes work from home and other locations, such as clients’ premises.