Small business owners are regularly losing sleep over financial worries, a report by KPMG Small Business Acccounting has found. Here, we explore what they can do to sleep easy.
It’s fair to say that owners of small businesses shoulder a lot of responsibility and financial worries, and it’s no surprise that it sometimes keeps them up at night – but the extent of the problem may surprise you.
Around 54 per cent of small business leaders believe that they routinely suffer from sleep deprivation as a direct result of work-related finance worries, according to a report commissioned by KPMG Small Business Accounting. Of those leaders, more than one in eight say that they are tossing and turning most nights – and the more financial problems a business has, the more those at the top suffer.
The finance-related matters that seem to worry a small business owner the least are those that fall into the traditional accountants’ role – for example, only 29 per cent cited the correct filing of tax returns as a current or previous concern.
Where small business owners start to feel out of their depths is with those financial concerns that do not typically fall to an accountant. The greatest concern was managing cash flow, which was cited by around 74 per cent of survey respondents, with maximising tax efficiency a close second, with 66 per cent flagging this as a worry.
Understanding the profitability of the business, not having an up to date picture of business performance and raising finance for growth or expansion were also listed amongst top concerns.
Tackling the issue
The survey respondents were asked to explain in their own words what measures they have implemented in their businesses to alleviate their money worries, and get a better night’s sleep. Three themes seemed to be recurrent – deploying new technology, seeking additional accountancy support, and changing internal business practices.
In addition, analysis of a set list of approaches found moving to online/cloud-based accounting was the best at alleviating the burden of finances – 55 per cent of respondents that had tried this tactic deemed it “extremely successful” and a further 21 per cent called it “quite” successful.
Around 68 per cent of business owners that asked their accountants to take more of a leading role reported success with this tactic, and 76 per cent reported success with switching accountants altogether.
Getting a decent night’s sleep
Small business owners that were successful in moving to an online or cloud-based accounting system, changing accountants or asking their accountants to do more for them tended to report lower than average sleep interruptions compared with the average sample.
These respondents reported sleep interruptions only occasionally, which suggests that taking on these measures can really help you get a better night’s sleep.
Interestingly, the most successful tactic to help alleviate financial worries – cloud or online accounting – was also reportedly the best tactic for reducing routine sleep deprivation. In addition, cloud and online computing was also found to be beneficial to helping grow or expand businesses.
Being your own boss means taking on the burden of financial worries, and it’s really no surprise that small business owners feel under a lot of pressure and have trouble sleeping at night.
But getting a good night’s sleep and feeling well rested will give you a better chance at tackling tomorrow’s problems – so don’t bury your head in the sand when it comes to financial worries, see what you can do to get on top of your accounting.
KPMG Small Business Accounting will be releasing its Sleeping Easy report in full on 17 March. Stayed tuned in the next week when Business Advice will be building on the subject of financial worries to see what pressures businesses in sectors including tech, telecoms and marketing face.
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