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The business dream is dying in the face of excessive admin


Small business owner standing by computer Image: Getty Images

Half of SME owners believe red tape is "killing the dream".

Bureaucratic administrative requirements and red tape are costing Australian small businesses more than $20 billion a year, according to research by accounting software provider Reckon.

Excessive admin costs the average small business $14,857 and 541 hours of time each year, and is also taking a personal and emotional toll on small business owners.

The average SME owner gets only 4.5 hours of sleep per night, well below the recommended 7-9 hours, and 46% suggested the admin of running a business was "killing the dream" that encouraged them to start their business in the first place.

Getting in the zone

58% of small business leaders also reported that excessive red tape and administration had caused them to make an error that resulted in a negative financial implication for their business. According to the survey, 22% also said the pressure of admin makes it difficult for them to get "in the zone" when it comes to work.

The research doesn't make pretty reading for the Australian small business sector, which accounts for over 97% of all businesses and is already bracing for the uncertainty of the upcoming federal election.

Sam Allert, CEO of Reckon, says excessive admin is affecting business productivity. "Whether running a café, building a house or treating patients, every business owner knows the feeling and benefit of being 'in the zone' or operating at their peak – they're just held back by distractions, and worrying about things like admin, payroll and compliance that can impact work efficiency," he said.

"Those that can streamline work for peak performance are not only more profitable, but they can invest more time and money in staff, marketing and innovation, to get ahead of the competition."

While many SME owners spend more time on admin than they do operating at their peak each week, 92% of business owners were taking active steps to improve their productivity and get "in the zone", according to Reckon's research.

According to the research, 46% of respondents were structuring their work day, such as following a strict routine or handling complex tasks early in the day, and 42% were eliminating distractions including turning off their phone or email. In addition, 23% were also adopting mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or trying to live "in the moment", to improve productivity.

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Picture: Getty Images

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