SMEs spend 19 million hours each month on managing their finances

Britain’s army of sole traders and micro businesses are spending 19 million hours each month; the equivalent of 2.5 million working days, managing finances.

Britain’s 5.3 million strong army of sole traders and micro businesses are spending 19 million hours each month; the equivalent of 2.5 million working days, managing their finances, a job that almost a third (32 per cent) admit leaves them feeling ‘stressed’ and half (50 per cent) say they lack confidence in doing, according to new research from KashFlow, the business management software specialist.

The study was commissioned to get a better understanding of the pressures self-employed people feel when it comes to things like balancing their books, managing cashflow and doing their annual tax return.

The research also asked micro business owners and sole traders what they liked most and least about running their own business. Almost half (48 per cent) ranked being their own boss and not having to answer to anyone as the best thing about being self-employed, whilst a fifth say not being able to switch off was the worst aspect of running their own business, followed by 15 per cent who counted managing their business finances as the thing they like the least about self-employment.

Despite the research highlighting the perceived challenges of accounts and book keeping among the self-employed, not all of those surveyed expressed negative feelings. When asked how they feel when managing their business finances, 34 per cent say they feel ‘in control’.

Nearly half (42 per cent) also rated themselves as ‘really good’ at managing their business finances and said they feel ‘totally confident’ in their abilities.

Conversely, among those who say they didn’t rate their financial management abilities highly and lacked confidence, or even left it to someone else to do, 43 per cent said they feel frustrated with themselves and 54 per cent are constantly worried they’ve made a mistake. A quarter admitted to relying heavily on other people like friends and family, or their accountant, for help.

Oliver Shaw, CEO of KashFlow, says, ‘It’s clear that even those who feel confident managing their accounts still find it challenging at times, and that the overwhelming majority of sole traders and small business owners would like to spend less time on it. Although half a day a month sounds reasonable for such a task, almost a third of those surveyed are spending longer than that, which is time they could be spending on doing what they love or, exploring growth opportunities.’

Further reading on managing your finances

Nominations are now open for the British Small Business Awards, the leading event celebrating the brightest stars in the SME sector. Click here to enter, and make sure you get involved today using the hashtag #BSBAwards. Good luck!

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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