Four ways small businesses waste time and how to avoid them

Is there one part of your job that particularly bogs you down? That wraps you up in red tape and endless paperwork, and leaves you tired and frustrated? It might be tax calculations, invoices or expenses.

According to a 2018 survey of entrepreneurs running young UK companies, nearly two- thirds of them said they spend at least one day every month on such administrative financial tasks.

Similarly, 55% of smaller business owners told a Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) survey in 2016 that their company’s growth is being held back by the amount of time they have to dedicate to business administration. And 67% said they felt unable to focus on their primary purpose due to the administrative burden.

Below are some of the common ways small businesses waste time, and some suggestions of tools to help reduce the burden.

1. Accounting

Accounting tasks, such as paying suppliers, consume an average of 15 hours per month for small businesses, according to the FSB, with almost seven hours of that committed by the business owner.

Thankfully, there’s a growing number of tools available to make life easier for businesses. They include accounting software such as FreeAgent and Xero, both winners at the 2018 Accounting Excellence Software Awards.

2. Expenses

Stacks of receipts and over-spending employees: it’s no wonder that keeping track of expenses is a source of real frustration for nearly half (49%) of entrepreneurs, according to a 2018 survey.

Again, though there are tools that can reduce the paperwork and ensure employees are sticking to your company’s rules on expenses. One way to get a grip on staff expenses is by using FairFX’s Prepaid Corporate Mastercard®, which allows companies to manage card balances and monitor staff spending, wherever they’re travelling. Plus, you can even add notes to your transactions and upload receipts on the go with the FairFX Business mobile app.

3. Business banking

According to research from Nesta, the innovation charity, 40% of British entrepreneurs have admitted that managing their finances and banking has become the most stressful part of running their business. Small businesses spend some nine hours on business banking each month, according to the FSB’s research.

Start by considering if you need to change your business banking provider. You can find some simple guidance on what to consider here.

You might need a multi-currency current account, such as Fair Everywhere. These enable businesses to manage all their day-to-day business banking and international money transfers in one place.

4. HR issues

Another essential business function – employee care and HR issues – is also among the most time-consuming. The FSB puts the weekly tally at five hours’ time spent on this each month.

There are now many online HR platforms to help. Some remain lousy, while others will save you lots of time, paperwork and frustration.

PC Mag UK recommends BambooHR for benefits including its coverage of the basics, impressive design, friendly user interface. Alternatively, SAP SuccessFactors is an excellent, small business-oriented entry into HR software, according to PC Mag UK.

 
With the FairFX Expense Card and Platform you can spend for free in the UK and get great rates overseas. You can also keep track of staff spending with ease.
 
FairFX Expense Card and Platform
 

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Mariette Ferreira

Mariette Ferreira

Mariette heads up marketing at FairFX. She loves travelling, scuba diving and South Africa, but she's yet to combine all three in one.

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