How SME business owners can win the battle against admin overload

In today's fast-paced business world, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners are facing an increasingly common challenge: a relentless battle with administrative tasks that seem to consume their precious time. A recent poll of 500 SMEs paints a vivid picture of the struggles that these entrepreneurs face and in our blog below we provide practical advice on how to overcome these challenges.

The admin conundrum

The survey reported in the Daily Mirror conducted by business insurer Superscript revealed that the average SME owner feels they need an additional four hours in their working day just to manage the administrative burdens that come with running a business. Running a business is no small feat. SME owners are often wearing multiple hats, juggling various responsibilities, and navigating complex landscapes. While the thrill of entrepreneurship and the pursuit of their vision keep them motivated, the sheer volume of administrative work can be overwhelming. According to the survey, a significant 33% of SME bosses feel that there are not enough minutes in the day to get everything done.


The elusive 20 extra hours

In an ideal world, these hardworking entrepreneurs would love to free up an additional 20 hours each week to focus on their core business activities, strategy, and growth. However, the harsh reality is that, on average, they only manage to dedicate a meagre 90 minutes to their administrative tasks each day. To make matters worse, a substantial 43% of business owners admit to taking these chores home with them, blurring the lines between work and personal life.

Beyond the tangible time-consuming tasks, SME owners face a variety of challenges that add to their administrative burdens. Chasing payments, a perennial issue for many SMEs, was highlighted by 14% of respondents.


Tax returns, cash flow, and supply chain – the main admin culprits

The survey also pinpointed the most time-consuming administrative tasks that SME owners face. At the top of the list is the perennial challenge of sorting out tax returns, with 29% of respondents citing it as a major time sink. Managing cash flow came in second, with 20% of business owners struggling to keep their financial ship afloat. Supply chain issues rounded out the top three, with 18% grappling with the complexities of this vital aspect of their operations.


How can business owners tackle admin challenges?

Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Leverage technology: Invest in tools and software that can automate and streamline administrative tasks, from accounting software to project management tools.
  • Delegate wisely: Identify tasks that can be delegated to trusted team members or outsourced to professionals, allowing you to focus on strategic decisions.
  • Set boundaries: Create clear boundaries between work and personal life to prevent burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Continuous learning: Stay updated on best practices and seek opportunities for professional development to become more efficient in handling administrative tasks.
  • Outsource: consider outsourcing specific administrative functions to experts, such as an accountant for tax-related matters.


Accountants are there to help you

Incorporating the expertise of professional accountants, can be a game-changer for SME owners who are grappling with administrative overload. Here's how we can help alleviate some of the burdens highlighted above.

1. Tax returns made manageable

Tax returns topped the list of time-consuming tasks for SME owners. However, with the assistance of experienced accountants, businesses can navigate the complexities of tax compliance more efficiently. Accountants can ensure that you:

  • Submit accurate and timely filing of annual tax and quarterly VAT returns, helping you avoid penalties and compliance issues.
  • Identify potential tax deductions and credits to minimise tax liabilities, saving your business money.
  • Stay updated on and adhere to changing tax laws and regulations.


2. Mastering cash flow

Managing cash flow is crucial for the financial health of any business. Accountants can provide valuable insights and assistance in this area by:

  • Creating cash flow projections to help business owners anticipate financial needs and make informed decisions.
  • Monitoring and analysing financial transactions to identify areas for cost reduction or revenue optimisation.
  • Implementing efficient invoicing and payment tracking systems to ensure that money flows smoothly in and out of the business.

3. Paperwork simplification

Endless paperwork can be a significant headache for SME owners. Accountants can streamline this process by:

  • Implementing digital document management systems to reduce paperwork clutter.
  • Organising and categorising financial records for easy access and retrieval.
  • Utilising tools such as Xero and Dext to minimise bookkeeping tasks whilst also helping to make more informed business decisions with business forecasting tools.


4. Financial insights and decision support

Beyond the specific administrative tasks, accountants offer invaluable financial insights and decision support. Supply chain management is another intricate aspect of business operations. LWA can help SMEs in this domain by utilising our Non-Executive Finance Director service that helps businesses in:

  • Providing financial statements and reports that offer a clear picture of the business's financial health.
  • Offering advice on investment opportunities, cost-saving strategies, and growth potential.
  • Assisting with budgeting and financial planning to help SMEs set realistic financial goals and track progress.
  • Conducting cost-benefit analyses to determine the most cost-effective suppliers and logistics strategies.
  • Managing inventory efficiently to prevent overstocking or understocking of goods.
  • Monitoring the financial health of key suppliers to mitigate risks in the supply chain.


Get in touch with LWA

Accountants play a vital role in helping SME owners overcome administrative challenges, allowing you to better manage your businesses and pursue growth opportunities. Whether it's tax compliance, cash flow management, supply chain optimization, paperwork reduction, or financial guidance, our professional and approachable team at LWA provides the expertise and support needed to thrive in today's competitive business landscape. If you need support to reduce the time spent on business administration, email or call us on 0161 905 1801 in South Manchester or on 01925 830 830 in Warrington.