UK SMEs spend over 600,000 hours on admin tasks per week

8 years ago

UK SMEs spend over 600,000 hours on admin tasks per week

It’s easy to get caught up fixing the printer or shortlisting for new recruits, however, research has highlighted that these administration tasks add up within SMEs taking the focus away from core business activities.

A quarter of UK SMEs lose out on nearly three hours of valuable time completing tasks which are not central to their business according to research by Populus for the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA). By their calculations, incorporating the UK’s 5.2 million SMEs, a staggering 624,000 hours are wasted each week on non-business critical tasks.

What other results did the survey reveal?

  • A quarter of SME leaders spend time on finding insurance.

  • 26 percent find themselves dealing with IT issues, which cost them on average 52 hours a year.

  • 27 per cent of SMEs are spending nearly over 33 hours each year procuring office supplies.

  • HR tasks are taking up 60 hours a year managing for 23 per cent of UK SMEs.

  • SME leaders dedicated 28 percent of their time to processing claims.

Commenting on the research Steve White, Chief Executive of BIBA said: “It is challenging to see that SMEs spend so much of their time on back office tasks when they could be serving their customers and generating income.  This is where brokers can help. A quarter of SME leaders handle insurance – a task that falls far outside their core knowledge. Using a broker could help these companies to save time and allow them to focus on growing their business”.

500 directors, senior managers and owners of British businesses with between 10 and 249 employees were questioned by Populus for the survey.

Head of, Philip Brennan says sourcing outside help frees up a substantial amount of time for SME leaders.

He says, when it comes to finding the right insurance package or processing claims, using a trusted comparison service can save businesses time and money thus allowing executives to concentrate on core business tasks that bring in revenue:

As a small business owner, there is a lot of admin from tax returns, ordering stock, compliance or tendering. We are all required to focus our efforts away from our core activity. We need to manage our time effectively and stay on top of our paperwork. Hopefully, the government will keep its promise to reduce red tape for small businesses.

At, we’re here to help you save time by providing you with the information you need to make decisions and drive your business forward.

Lucy Liddiard