Australian SMEs time poor - miss out on weekends

14 Aug 2015

Full time small business owners are on average working seven hours over time per week, equating to almost six out of seven standard full time working days. This is the latest findings from a poll of over 1,000 small and mid-sized business owners by leading accounting solutions provider MYOB.

The research highlights that 59 percent of local business operators’ work more than 35 hours per week, with almost a quarter working over 45 hours, and 3 percent of SMEs working more than 65 hours per week.

Yet, 39 percent of business owners reported in the poll that flexibility was their long term goal, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle framework was far more attractive than financial benefits of operating a business.

MYOB General Manager SME Solutions James Scollay says the amount of time required for business owners to manage the day-to-day running of their business is impacting their business and lifestyle aspirations.

“What’s interesting is that although so many SMEs start their business as a lifestyle choice prioritising flexibility, they are so overworked with running their business, they end up working almost six days per week, giving them no flexibility at all,” says James Scollay.

“And, it gets harder for SMEs during peak times such as End of Financial year (EoFY). Our research indicates that 37 percent of SMEs worked weekends to meet their recent EoFY demands, and 22 percent were working past midnight for the same reason.”

One of the key findings of the survey was that a significant portion of SMEs want to develop their business, but almost half (46%) spend less than two hours or no time at all on business activities that were not related to the day-to-day operation. For sole traders, it’s even more challenging with 65 percent spending two hours or no time at all on non-core business activities each week.

“That’s very little time business owners have available to focus on key development areas like business planning, training and networking. We asked our SMEs what business activities they would invest in if they had the gift of time, and more than half of the respondents wanted time back for general administration tasks – that is, cleaning out their inbox, organising files and upgrading systems,” says Mr. Scollay.

“MYOB is here to make business life easier, and our online accounting solutions dramatically reduce the time needed for manual tasks such as data entry by up to 10 hours a month. That time saving can be re-invested in growing their business, or training programs for staff.”

The survey asked business owners what they would do if they had one day of free time in the next week to spend on their business. The most pressing tasks weighing on time-poor business owners are the administrative ones they struggle to get to, followed by 23 percent wanting to learn more about the industry and attend work related training programs.

For others, the gift of an extra day’s time to spend in their business would be spent on networking with new clients (27 percent), staff engagement activities (16 percent) or developing a plan to grow their business (24 percent).

For small business owners, having limited time also spills over to their non-work lives, with 30 percent of respondents wanting to outsource their cleaning. When asked what non-work related activities they’d like back with extra time, top activities included more quality time with family and friends, and taking on more leisure and relaxation activities.

“In today’s fast paced, always-on business environment, it’s hard to find time to recharge,” says James Scollay. “And I think everyone would appreciate the gift of more time to focus on the things that matter – whether it is pursuing your passion or spending more time with family and friends.”

“Finding ways to create even an extra day in the calendar on local business owners could make a real difference not only to the health of their business but the opportunities for the small business sector to reach its potential for growth – with flow-on effects for all of Australia.”

For MYOB product information, research results, business tips, discussions, client service and more visit the MYOB website, or its blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube sites


For further comment or other information please contact:

Saba Chowdhury, MYOB PR Specialist

P: 2 9770 9055/ M: 429 605 963/ E:

Note to Editors

To help local SMEs by providing them with more time to focus on their work aspirations, MYOB is launching the Gift of Time competition from 17 August 2015. For tips and tricks on saving time in business, visit MYOB’s Time Saving Centre.

About MYOB

Established in 1991, MYOB is a market leading provider of business management software solutions in New Zealand and Australia. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across New Zealand and Australia, by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory, mobile payments and more. MYOB also provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and has spent over $100 million in the past three years on research and development. For more information, visit