Leadership

Small businesses buried under daily chores

Michelle Hammond /

A new report reveals three quarters of small businesses wish to spend more time pursuing growth opportunities, but are held back by the daily demands of administration.

 

The Better Business survey, conducted by the Commonwealth Bank, surveyed 469 financial decision-makers in small businesses across the country, with an annual turnover of less than $2 million.

 

The report reveals 73% of small businesses want to spend more time pursuing growth opportunities, but identify a myriad of reasons holding them back.

 

Two in five respondents want to spend more time on generating new sales while over a third of respondents want to engage in more marketing.

 

However, almost half say day-to-day duties take up the bulk of their time. More than a third of respondents want to spend less time on supplier management and cashflow management.

 

Matt Comyn, CBA general manager of local business banking, says small businesses are being compromised by the daily tasks they must complete.

 

“For many small business owners, there is little question over the importance of processes like cashflow management,” he says.

 

“However, the survey has highlighted that day-to-day activities are taking up a large proportion of their overall resource. This means that there is little remaining time to focus on growth plans.”

Comyn says small businesses should consider simplifying processes such as banking because “having your finances spread across multiple financial institutions can be time consuming and cost you more than you think.”

 

Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, says small businesses are reaching a “crisis point” with regard to red tape.

 

Strong says rigid banking systems have exacerbated the problem, calling on the Government to introduce portable bank accounts as one way in which to ease some of the pressure on small businesses.

 

“Small business owners are sick and tired of being treated as cash cows and many of them want to switch banks but we know that it is far too time consuming and also confusing for our suppliers and customers,” Strong says.

 

“A portable account number would cut the cost of changing banks and improve business owners’ ability to provide better services to consumers.”

 

Strong has also criticised the Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme, which requires employers to act as paymaster for any eligible staff.

 

Describing the scheme as the “final straw”, Strong says the added red tape has the capacity to “break the collective backs” of small business.

 

COSBOA has also raised questions about the government’s carbon tax, to be introduced in July next year, with Strong expressing his concern about the level of compliance businesses may have to adhere to.

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