Business process

How much time do Australian businesses waste on admin?

For Australian business owners, having an extra 81 days a year could be a dream come true.

A recent global Sage Survey of over 3,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) reveals the average Australian business spends this much time per year on admin tasks.

Based on a seven-hour working day, that equates to an enormous 567 hours spent generating invoices, paying taxes, chasing payments, and more.

Reducing this admin burden is something businesses of all sizes could benefit from. And organisations that adopt technology to automate these processes can divert manpower previously spent on admin to tasks that help grow the business.

Let’s take a closer look at the results.

How much does admin cost Australian businesses?

While Australian SMBs spend far less time on admin than the global average of 120 days per year, the financial cost they incur is markedly higher than most countries. Australian SMBs boast the third highest average admin costs out of the 11 countries surveyed, at just over $79,000 per annum – higher than the global average of $64,000.

For microbusinesses – those with five or less employees – the costs are even starker. Australian microbusinesses suffer from a disproportionate cost of admin, equivalent to 14 percent of total turnover, second only to the US where the figure is 18 percent. To put this in perspective, the nation with the highest admin costs after Australia is Spain, where they equal only four percent of turnover.

What if we could redirect hours spent on admin tasks back into attracting customers and increasing revenue? Australian business owners could make real headway in growing their business.

The digital shift is happening at a slower rate

As businesses become more digitally savvy, the opportunity for technology to take over much of this admin drain is huge.

Yet, our data shows this digital shift is happening slower than expected. Only 19% of Australian SMBs have fully digitised their accounting, with 62% having no software solution in place at all.

Cost, time, and complexity were the top three reasons delaying Australian SMBs from digitising their admin processes. While the top three reasons cited in favour of adopting technology were cost savings, consistency, and freeing up staff.

Increasing productivity could lead to an overall improvement in the economy

Finally, our research in Australia shows that a boost in productivity by just 4.9% percent could lead to an increase in GDP of at least $31.8 billion per year.

Increasing the use of solutions and technologies that automate basic admin tasks could help business owners and their teams boost productivity and – according to research – the overall economy.

In summary, technology is the key to helping employees work on more strategic priorities that will help grow the business. But to do that, they need our help. At Sage, it is our mission to help business builders big and small grow and succeed through the power of technology – and give back those 81 extra days.