By: Chrystal Kuchcinski, Business Consultant for T2 Management Solutions, LLC
This year, the loss in productivity for small US businesses due to inefficient administrative management will be a whopping $335.3 billion (Miller & Wongsaroj, 2017). Does your firm contribute to this loss? What can be done to reduce the amount of time spent on administration and increase the amount of time that can potentially be spent on operations and revenue generating tasks? How can you work smarter?
With technological advancements, automation is a significant time saver for small businesses and sole proprietors. Unfortunately, resistance to automated processes and lack of awareness for how to begin more automated and time saving methods of administrative management can result in a significant loss of time. As a result, productivity is hindered due to time lost that could be spent on other areas of business such as revenue generation and operations.
In 2017, Sage, an enterprise resource planning software supplier, funded a study to assess the amount of potentially revenue generating time that small business owners spend on administrative tasks and the significant benefits of automated processes. Plum, an independent consulting firm, conducted the study of over 3,000 companies across 11 countries to assess whether technology can be used to reduce administrative burden.
(Miller & Wongsarof, 2017)
In the United States, 4.9% of small businesses’ work-time is lost to administrative management resulting in an implied productivity loss of $335.3 billion dollars annually. For the sake of this study, administrative tasks have been narrowed down into the following 8 areas: talent acquisition, tax accounting, generating invoices, payroll, processing invoices received, HR, chasing late payments, and general accounting. The simplest resolution to a business owner spending too much time on administrative functions without employing a dedicated staff member to handle them is to automate as many functions as possible in an effort to make administrative work more streamlined and easier to manage. With hundreds of automated programs available, much of the routine administrative functions that small business owners typically take upon themselves to perform can be done automatically or with little effort and time required.
Many firms are resistant to implementing an administrative services management software for a variety of reasons, most commonly business owners may dislike change, distrust automated software, or be hesitant to take on the initial cost and time. Additionally, many firms may not know where to start or what products are available. However, businesses do not need to go into automation blindly. Administrative services firms and ASO’s can refer businesses to automation products, aid in getting the business set up for automation, offer training on implementing automation software, or even take it on completely. It is advisable to conduct an audit of time and money spent on administrative tasks and compare to the cost and time required to implement a new program and especially the cost and time required as automation is streamlined. With a wide variety of programs for administrative services available, the failure to implement a more streamlined business strategy through the aid of automation oftentimes results in business owners wasting their most valuable resource, their own time.
Miller, Tim & Wongsaroj, Sarongrat. Sweating the Small Stuff: the impact of the bureaucracy burden. September 2017.