3 Ways Small Businesses Can Cut Administrative Burdens

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Looking for a way to save time and keep your focus on the bottom line? You might want to take a closer look at how you’re handling administrative responsibilities for your business. Building a better product, a stronger team, or better relationships with clients can all have a huge impact, but if you’re stuck doing paperwork in the back office, it can mean you’re not spending enough time on the things that move the needle.

According to a TAB Time Management survey, 56% of small business owners say that delegating administrative duties would increase productivity. Of course, freeing up the time spent on day-to-day tasks like bookkeeping can be easier said than done if you don’t have the right staff in place or wiggle room in the budget.

You’ve got enough to stress about already, so don’t stress about this! Here are three ways to trim your admin duties workload without missing a step. 

1. Outsource your most routine functions

Worker training, payroll processing, bookkeeping, or even customer service. These are all areas that can be fully or partially outsourced. By moving these responsibilities to a professional third party, you can free your staff’s time (and their minds) to get out of the weeds and work on more strategic initiatives.

Take your payroll duties as an example. The average small business owner who handles payroll themself spends about 18 hours a month paying employees and wrangling payroll taxes. That’s about half a work week each month that you could be getting back by outsourcing. 

While taking a step like outsourcing payroll adds a new line item to your budget, it can relieve a lot of the stress of calculating, tracking, and filing payroll taxes throughout the year — as long as you’re careful to pick a quality provider. Start your search with bigger names like ADP, Paychex, and OnPay to get a sense of what’s out there, then compare ratings and reviews to find the perfect fit. If you play your cards right, it could cost less than $1000 a year for a business with 10 employees to offload this responsibility.

No matter which routine function you think about outsourcing, you’ll definitely want to be sure the partners you choose are as reliable as your current process. 

2. Automate known repetitive tasks.

Every week, you can anticipate that more than half of your supervisors will spend around eight hours on repetitive tasks. Nearly one-fifth of their time is eaten up doing the same thing again and again. The workaround for this problem is simple: Identify and automate all duplicated duties. 

You’ll want to start by knowing where your workflow gaps exist. Sit down with your team to talk about their daily routines. You may discover that a worker has to transfer data from one location to another location by hand. This isn’t efficient and leaves room for human error. Could a software integration make it possible for instant data transfers? Or could you migrate both systems’ information into a single portal?

For example, if you have a hard time managing customer lists and sending out emails to clients, leads, or followers, spending money upfront on a comprehensive CRM system like Salesforce or Hubspot can keep you organized and make your efforts more effective. Thoughtful digital transformations can produce tremendous ROI. Just crunch the numbers and see where automation makes sense. Then, do a little homework to find the right solution for your company’s needs.

3. Staff flexibly with independent contractors and seasonal hires.

Labor costs are some of the biggest investments you’ll make. For a typical business, Deloitte estimates that paying staff may swallow up to 60% of your budget. But adding help doesn’t have to be a permanent commitment because you can simply tap into the millions of independent contractors who have joined the gig economy.

Hiring independent freelancers and consultants can be a huge help to your company with staff who can hit the ground running. Many bring decades of expertise and have flexible working schedules. You won’t have to worry about benefits or taxes, either. And if the relationship doesn’t work out, letting go of a 1099-employee can be straightforward and fast.

If you’re looking to supplement your workforce with a higher volume of less skilled temporary workers, you might consider a staffing agency. You’ll get people eager to work without having to conduct interviews, background checks or drug testing. When your short-term needs end, your contractual obligation to keep paying temporary workers will, too. 

Regardless of how large or small your organization is, you can’t ignore administrative duties. But you don’t have to let the time and expense of staying organized and compliant eat into your bottom line. If you identify a few problem areas and look for more efficient solutions, you might be surprised at how much of a positive impact a few changes can make.