Sage Advice UK

Three ways to spend less time on business administration

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As an introduction to Sage Advice, I’d like to share a handful of my favourite articles that you can put into practice right now to help solve a growing problem for many entrepreneurs – how to spend less time on business administration.

Digging down into admin

In our research report, Sweating the Small Stuff, we asked 3,000 small and medium-sized companies across 11 countries to name their most time-consuming administrative tasks.

Here’s what the UK-based businesses told us:

Over the last 12 months, UK businesses estimated they had spent a huge 71 days on these tasks.

Here’s a selection of Sage Advice blog posts that provide some answers.

1. Prioritise!

“It may feel like you need more time,” writes Grace Marshall in her blog Seven productivity tips for the small business owner, “but the real battle is for more attention.”

Grace is a productivity coach and trainer, so has spent a lot of time looking into this issue. She goes on to suggest some fantastic tips to help you prioritise time during the day – everything from getting to know the hours when you’re at peak energy, to scheduling meetings for just yourself.

You should also take a look at leadership coach Frederique Murphy’s inspiring advice to help isolate and protect your priorities – everything from learning to say no, to narrowing your focus.

2. Outsource

Put simply, why not get somebody else to do the admin work? Accounting is the admin task that our report identified as eating up most of a business’ time, so it might be time to hire an accountant, bookkeeper or assistant – or some combination of those roles.

“Getting the right support is crucial,” writes Keir Thomas-Bryant, our accountancy and accounting content specialist here at Sage. He recently provided a checklist of things to consider when finding or choosing an accountant, and this includes preparing a shortlist and keeping an eye out for accountants who offer added value such as holding regular networking events or business workshops.

If you remain unconvinced you might also look at entrepreneur and business consultant Alex Jordan’s recent post explaining in detail how an accountant can help a small business. It’s about more than just the numbers nowadays.

3. Head into the cloud

A lot has been written about cloud computing. Not only can it help eradicate or alleviate many common time-consuming admin tasks, but it frees you up to work on tasks at any time. So why not take care of those little admin tasks on the train home from work, for example, ensuring your day is free for building and growing your business?

“It’s a good idea to put together some questions when assessing which cloud accounting solution is most appropriate for your business,” writes Nicky Larkin, Managing Director and founder of Goringe Accountants. In her blog post Is cloud accounting right for your business?, she honestly evaluates whether it’s right for your business to head into the cloud – and gives some tips on how to do so. You might also take a look at Keir Thomas’ infographic, showing at a glance 10 ways cloud computing can improve your business.

I hope these tips help you cut down on admin and return to your true passion and the reason you decided to become an entrepreneur. Or if you’re looking to make the leap, these tips will stand you in good stead!