Tax & admin · 1 March 2018

Are you spending too much time on business admin?

Make way for strategy time by reducing business admin
Make way for strategy time by reducing business admin

No business owner wants to waste their time fiddling with business processes and admin when they could be working on growing their business.

As with so many things, it’s all about finding the right balance – if a business owner is finding themselves snowed under with accounts, it’s probably time to look at delegating, or exploring technology and software that could help ease the burden.

We asked some small business owners how they can tell when they’re spending too much time on business admin. Here’s what they had to say:

When mistakes start happening

Nayna McIntosh, CEO and Founder of women’s fashionwear brand Hope, said: “The typical signs that we’re spending too long on business admin is when numbers from one document to another do not add up or are different.

“This often happens when systems are not automated and means there is still an element of ‘hand cranking’ the numbers.”

Repetitious tasks

Harry Molyneux, CEO at BuildUp, added: “When you think that a piece of software could possibly do what you’re doing. If a task you’re doing is taking over your day to day duties (unless these are your sole duties) and it feels like you’re repeating it day in, day out, then you’re clearly spending too much time doing that task.

“That’s why I’m setting up a free professional network for the construction industry – it’s solving a business admin issue that felt like it was just taking up too much time. If the software is already out there, great – if not, have a serious think about how you could maybe try to create it, as chances are there might be other people out there thinking it too.”

Not having time to improve

Rob Liddiard, Co-founder and CEO of messaging app Yapster, told us: “Any time you run out of time to do something you believe will improve customer or employee experience because of your administrative obligations that’s a clear sign that you’re spreading yourself too thinly. Whenever I find myself in this position I now ask myself ‘what can I delegate or outsource?’”

Doing any admin – at all

Marianne Page, founder the McFreedom method and author of Simple Logical, Repeatable, draws a firm line. She explained: “As a business owner, my role in the business is to ensure its continued growth and development, it is not to do admin.

“As such, I would say that any time that I find myself doing admin is too long. That’s why I have a book keeper, an accountant, and a PA/administrative assistant – to allow me to focus on growing the business, while they focus on managing the necessary admin.”

The signs that admin is taking over may vary business to business – but ultimately if you don’t have time to grow and improve, that’s probably a red flag right there.

There are plenty of ways to free up time to grow a business, from delegating to investing in software – stay tuned to this series to find out more.

Want more help with your company’s year-end payroll? Learn more about how Sage could help with its suite of services.

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Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Business Advice. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

Tax & admin