UK Businesses Waste 120 Days a Year on Admin

Admin, it’s the bane of any business owner’s life. No matter how organised you are or how advanced your time management skills, administration is always a time-consuming task and you’re likely always going to have something better to do with those precious minutes, too. A recent study by Sage has revealed that if UK businesses increased their productivity by 5.6%, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country could increase by almost £40 billion.

business admin

Admin: a global problem

Sage’s research surveyed more than 3000 businesses in the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the United States. Every country was found to be losing time to administration. Canada proved to be the most efficient with only 1.7% of their time lost to admin tasks, Spain, on the other hand, was the worst affected country when it came to admin-related time-wasting, with almost 11% time loss being reported, potentially causing a total of €32 billion loss in productivity.

What counts as admin?

Sage placed admin in the following categories:

  • Accountancy: This includes dealing with banks and managing bank accounts  
  • Human Resources: Including staff handbooks and ensuring compliance with company policies
  • Tax: Including VAT registration
  • Chasing late payments: Including issuing reminder messages and dealing with small claims
  • Processing invoices: Including paying subcontractors such as cleaners
  • Generating invoices: Such as sending and creating invoices for work done
  • Talent and training: Including recruitment, staff training and staff advertising

Sage aimed to demonstrate that these essential but time-consuming and often tedious tasks could be made far more efficient with the correct software to streamline or automate the processes. Even in countries where admin times were comparatively low, companies would still need full-time staff to complete their admin needs, which may not always be feasible for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Australia and the US further illustrate the strain admin has on small companies, with micro companies having admin costs that far outweighed those of medium or large businesses. In cases like this, admin was not just time-consuming, it was a huge burden on the business’ overall numbers.

The UK’s Admin Issue

The UK may not have been as wasteful as Spain when it came to admin, but at almost 6% of total time being lost to recruitment, accounting etc. the country has a lot of room for improvement. Sage’s data suggested that if productivity improved by this same percentage, £33.9 billion more could be added to the British GDP each year.

The study backs up the recommendation that SMEs turn to technology to aid in their admin is well-founded in the UK: less than 20% of UK SMEs are using digital tools for their admin, and almost 60% use no software to aid their admin at all.

When asked about obstacles to their implementation of digital aids, companies cited reasons including:

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Incompatibility with their current systems
  • Lack of skills
  • Bad experiences with technology previously

In fact, the UK came up as number one for companies too hesitant about costs to implement digital aids, while it was one of the least likely nations to consider it too time-consuming to use, implying that all the UK’s SMEs are not lacking in will and more so in funding.

The answer? Cost-effective tech, like Square.

How technology can help

Digital aids can help every area of admin; here are just a few tech solutions:

Accounting and tax

Square integrates seamlessly with accounting and tax software like Xero and ONE UP, making keeping track of your numbers easy and able to be reviewed right along with all your other business information like stock, staff, invoices and feedback in your Square Dashboard.

Invoices and chasing late payments

Square Invoices make it easy to create, send and manage your invoicing. Send and track them online to see if they’ve been paid or not, all for free. Select the items you’re charging a customer for and send away, but only after you easily customise your template to best reflect your brand, of course!

HR, Talent and training

Applicant tracking systems can make recruitment incredibly streamlined. Gone are the days of HR staff passing on hard copies of CVs to be lost, digital solutions mean all candidate information is stored in one place, for managers to view with ease and reply to easily. Track the staff you already have with Square’s employee management, letting you keep tabs on staff even in multiple locations.

For the 59% of UK companies worried about cost, Square is the answer – the price of our POS software which combines all the above into one powerful package? Completely free!