SMEs spending too much time on administrative tasks, says study

New research suggests that UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are spending an average of more than four hours a week completing administrative and finance-related tasks – and losing approximately £8.72billion every year as a result.

The figures come from a comprehensive survey carried out by YouGov, which claims to have revealed the true extent of the ‘administrative burden’ that UK SMEs who fail to seek specialist assistance can expect to face.

According to the study, which quizzed as many as 1,200 businesses, the average SME spends 4.10 hours on administrative tasks every single week. This includes accounting, expenses, budgeting, forecasting and invoicing.

The research found that start-up businesses were finding administrative tasks the most difficult on a day-to-day basis, with 15 per cent claiming that they struggle with managing financial outgoings.

Meanwhile, YouGov’s study suggests that SMEs at the larger end of the scale tend to feel out of their depth as their business expands, and cash flow management becomes more complicated.

Commenting on the research, Carlo Gualandri, study co-author and founder of online payment network Soldo, said: “The time and money taken up by day-to-day management of a company’s cash flow is astonishing but not surprising.

“If staff were freed up to dedicate their time to the activities that made a big difference to the company, productivity levels would rocket”.