Small business owners spend too much time working ‘in the business’

Modern technologies are meant to make life simpler, but Australia’s small business owners are yet to see the benefits of automation. Is there a solution?

Three in five Australian small business owners spend more than 75 percent of their time doing business admin tasks, according to research produced by the MYOB Business Monitor.

That’s a clear majority of SME operators who spend most of their working lives doing things like invoicing, paying bills and other accounting or bookkeeping-related tasks. Ever hear someone say they need to spend more time ‘working on the business’ rather than ‘in the business’? This is what they’re talking about.

Despite the sheer amount of time being sunk into getting the business admin right, a recent audit of 1,385 Australian businesses by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) found 43 percent weren’t compliant with all workplace relations laws and 21 percent weren’t staying on top of payroll and record keeping compliance.

So no matter how much time is being spent chipping away at critical business admin, a certain amount is still falling through the cracks – and it’s costing businesses big time.


We have the technology


Of the non-compliant businesses picked up by the FWO audit, nearly half (48 percent) were unaware of their workplace law obligations, indicating that awareness and education may lie at the heart of the problem.

Which may explain why small business owners are dedicating so much of their day to business admin when affordable solutions already exist to reduce or eliminate them.

READ: HR for small business – not to be overlooked

Chief executive of HR Central, Damien Gooden, agrees that education should be every business owner’s ongoing priority.

“Fair Work have made no secret of the additional government funding to crackdown on underpayments and sham contracting, educating vulnerable workers and influencing non-compliant industries,” said Gooden.

“I don’t believe that every employer is out to stitch up their staff, and while you may be great at your trade, understanding HR and good process doesn’t always come easily or naturally.

“Therefore, it’s always best to engage in professional support or advice to ensure you’re compliant and follow best practices.”

For Tanda’s head of partnerships, Rod Schneider, the availability of on-demand, cloud-based software solutions should be making life better for all business owners.

“It’s not just multi-venue operators or celebrity chefs that should take heed,” said Schneider.

“All business owners should look into the vast array of options out there proactively.

“Software like Tanda, a platform for workforce management that helps ensure staff pay is calculated correctly, are invaluable investments for business. They come with no long-term obligations, operate in the cloud, and can be implemented with ease.”

It’s with this in mind that Gooden, Schneider and eight other prominent business experts are headed to Melbourne this month to speak with local business owners about all things compliance, tech and scaling up.


The time is now


The full-day event, hosted by The Small Business Lounge at One Roof Melbourne, is designed as a crash course to best business practices, and will cover topics including marketing, HR, entrepreneurship, bookkeeping, accounting and PR. It will also feature wisdom from the likes of One Roof founder Sheree Rubenstein, restaurateur Sam Peasnell and chief executive of Creative Cubes, Tobi Skovron.

For managing director of The Small Business Lounge, Brooke Arnott, the need for bringing together this level of expertise across such a broad array of business topics has never been greater.

“You only need to check the news to see how badly some businesses are failing to keep up with compliance and productivity – most notably in the recent case of George Calombaris falling foul of Fair Work for underpaying staff,” said Arnott.

“We need to help business owners avoid these sorts of scenarios and, ultimately, to succeed.”

READ: 3 surprising areas of support for business owners

Arnott has some experience in success herself, having built her advisory business to support over one hundred clients per year, despite launching just 2.5 years ago.

“The way to help business succeed in the long term is to target all aspects of the business and improve them through educating and providing the right tools.

“It’s about taking what a business already had in front of them and inspiring them to work on it.”

For Arnott, the results are clear.

“We have a client who had a unique product idea but was struggling to get her business of the ground.

“After a long period of consultation, The Small Business Lounge went to work in providing this client with digital strategy, website development, bookkeeping and even help in securing critical funding.

“That client has now tripled her revenue in 12 months and is exporting her products internationally – that’s what success in small business should look like.”

 

Payroll for 1 to 4 employees.

 

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