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How to Reduce the Time You Spend on Business Admin

One of the biggest pulls on your time is completing your business admin. In this article, we'll help you reduce the amount of hours you spend each week on administrative tasks.

You will learn

  • What digitisation is
  • How you can outsource your business admin
  • Tips for using cloud computing

What could you do with an extra 71 days of resource per year? That’s how much time the average small business spends on admin, including paperwork, accounting and recruitment. These tasks are taking up time that could be spent focusing on the real, valuable work of making business visions a reality.  

Let’s be completely honest - nobody starts a business because they want to spend their time billing clients and endlessly chasing unpaid invoices. While these tasks might seem small at a glance, they can sometimes turn into a heavy load. 

To understand how owners of small and medium businesses can make use of technology to lower this burden, Sage recently carried out a survey of more than 3,000 businesses across 11 countries. It also considered how governing bodies can encourage enterprises to embrace technology.

The study found that UK SMEs spend 71 days per year on business admin tasks, totally a Herculean 14 working weeks or around three months every year.

40% of the people surveyed said that they found it hard to make cost savings on their administrative workload. What’s more, only 39% of businesses said they were currently looking into reducing their admin costs through technology.

What’s the solution? How do you reduce your business admin time so you can focus on developing your business? The good news is that there are effective answers out there for businesses of all sizes. Sage outlines some valuable tips for the uptake of two solutions - outsourcing and cloud computing.

Outsourcing your admin

Whether it is an accountancy firm or a freelancer, subcontracting someone to do the work is the quickest way of cutting down your business admin time. This is the basic principle behind outsourcing. Many people still equate the concept of outsourcing with specific jobs, such as IT, but in truth, pretty much any task can be outsourced.

To make planning of outsourcing easier, take the following steps:

Identify which tasks you need help with

Take the time to work out which tasks need to be outsourced, and how much of each task needs to be covered. For example, a growing business might benefit from outsourcing the management of its human resources process, while staying in charge of running the payroll. Similarly, accounting can be resourced to an accountant or bookkeeper while a business retains control of sales expenditure accounting.

Preparation is key

You’ll need to share data with the person or company that you’re outsourcing to, so it’s a good idea to schedule in some time to prepare this. For example, if outsourcing bookkeeping, you’ll need to tidy up and prepare your accounts for third party access. You’ll also need to put some extra time aside for taking your new accountant through these.

Do your homework

Asking for recommendations from your peers is the most effective way to find professionals to outsource to. You can also ask the firm or freelancer to share their references. In addition, sites like Trustpilot and Sitejabber can be useful as they offer reviews of a wide range of businesses and their services.

Embracing cloud computing

Using “digitisation” or moving all your information into a digital format can go a long way in helping to reduce your bureaucracy burden. There are lots of different cloud accountancy options to help you go digital and if you’re not already online, it’s worth taking the time to research your options to help you increase your accuracy and save yourself time.

If your business is already using the cloud, follow these tips for making the most of it:

Take your time

Although cloud-based apps and services are designed to be easy and intuitive to use, you still need to put in some time and effort to learn how to get the most from them, and to incorporate them into your daily routine.

Collaboration is important

Cloud apps and services are built to encourage and benefit from collaboration and sharing. For example, you might want to give your accountant access to your data by connecting their cloud software to your cloud accounting solution.

Embrace new technology

We live in a world where you no longer need to use a desktop computer to run a business, and you can do so on the go or from home using a laptop, tablet or mobile. Most businesses find that using cloud services in conjunction with new technologies tends to make life easier in the workplace.

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Written by:

Scott McLay

Marketing executive with Sage

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