Daily admin tasks inhibit SME productivity

Productivity is taking a hit at small businesses across the UK due to overwhelming levels of admin requirements, a new study has found.

The Management Pressures and Productivity survey from Immervox questioned senior management from 144 firms on what they think time should be spent on, what it is actually spent on, and what the biggest barriers to productivity are.

It found that although many deem innovation and great customer service as being pivotal to success, they are not able to devote enough time to either.

Some 35% of small business managers said they spent ‘most of the day’ on paperwork and admin tasks, yet only 4% believe it to be essential for growth.

Disorganisation and too much admin, named by 25% and 18% of managers respectively, were named as the biggest hindrances to productivity, while 15% also said that poor internal communications are an issue.

Half of larger businesses listed IT systems as their greatest frustration, although that figure dropped to only 8% among small firms.

Innovation was named as the second most important factor for success while customer service ranked third – yet less than 10% of managers said they spent enough time on the latter.

That figure fell even further for innovation to just 5%, showcasing that managers feel unable to spend time on what they consider central for growth.

The study added that a lack of investment into the correct IT systems, coupled with an absence of innovation, was causing many essential aspects of business to be overlooked.

Given that administration, IT services, customer services and internal communications will often run through such systems, this lack of finance could be holding businesses back.

This can ultimately lead to financial difficulties, more pressure being placed on the workforce and even reduced sales, all of which will ultimately impact on the bottom line.

For those unable to source methods of refinancing, it may eventually result in a firm entering administration if it is struggling to survive.


By Phil Smith


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