Are you spending too long on your own bookkeeping?
Britain’s 5.3 million 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%) admit leaves them feeling ‘stressed’ and half (50%) say they lack confidence in doing.
That’s according to new research from business management software specialist KashFlow, which commissioned the study to get a better understanding of the pressures self-employed people feel when it comes to things such as balancing their books, managing cashflow and doing their annual tax returns.
The research also asked micro business owners and sole traders what they liked most and least about running their own business. Nearly half (48%) of those surveyed ranked being their own boss and not having to answer to anyone as the best thing about being self-employed, while a fifth said not being able to switch off was the worst aspect of running their own business, followed by 15% 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% said they feel ‘in control’. 42% also rated themselves as ‘really good’ at managing their business finances and said they feel ‘totally confident’ in their abilities.
Among those who said they didn’t rate their financial management abilities highly and lacked confidence, or even left it to someone else to do, 43% said they feel frustrated with themselves and 54% 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, said: “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.”
The research was carried out by OnePoll on behalf of KashFlow. Hundreds of sole traders and business owners with 1-9 employees were surveyed in April 2017. Businesses covered all types from creative arts and design to property and construction.