Tax & admin · 6 October 2017

The five early business investments entrepreneurs most regret not making

Two-thirds of small business owners said managing their accounts was an unrewarding aspect of running a company
Two-thirds of small business owners said managing their accounts was an unrewarding aspect of running a company

Over one in four small company owners have admitted they should have sought out better bookkeeping support when starting out, as new findings reveal the early business investments founders most regret overlooking.

In a survey of over 500 small and micro business owners, by accounting software provider Xero and insurer Aviva, almost two-thirds of respondents viewed bookkeeping as the least rewarding aspect of running their company.

Despite a majority being worried about keeping their accounts in order, small business owners spent on average just three hours and 40 minutes each week managing their finances.

Overall, over a quarter wished they had invested better in account management from day one. However, several other business investments were ranked as more important by respondents.

Technology dominated the results, with a third admitting they should have invested in a website from the start. Further spending on general IT followed, with 29 per cent regretting overlooking this.

Top five business investments founders regret not making

  1. Created a website
  2. Invested in better IT
  3. Bought accountancy software
  4. Employed some help
  5. Sought financial advice

Commenting on the findings, Darren Upson, director of small business at Xero said mistakes were “inevitable” as a first-time entrepreneur, with no set handbook for starting a company.

He added: “The research from those business owners who have been through it has uncovered clear advice – invest in the technology that can help simplify your business admin and allow you to spend more time and energy growing your business.”

Aviva’s SME director, Andy Beswick, said entrepreneurs could be forgiven for overlooking some key administrative tricks due to large amount of priorities that need balancing at the start.

“We all look back on some of the decisions we have made and with hindsight, wish we had done things differently,” he said.

“Listening to what established business owners have to say is a great way of avoiding similar mistakes.”

Xero and Aviva left behind three essential “dos and don’ts” of starting a small business

The ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of starting a small business

  • Make sure your heart is in it and that you have the support of the people you care about, as the journey is going to be tough.
  • Sort out processes and business administration sooner rather than later. Having outstanding and time-consuming administration tasks hanging over you can be distracting. Accounting software that enables you to keep on top of your numbers can help here.
  • Don’t leave your assets and people unprotected – you have a lot at stake. Insurance might feel like a complex decision, but once it’s done, it’s done.

Read more: Five keys that will unlock the cash in your business

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.



Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.