Small Businesses Still Waste Time Pushing Paperwork

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Despite the increased use of mobile devices and cloud computing, small businesses are still finding that they lose time on unproductive tasks.

A new survey by Sage North America examined how entrepreneurs in businesses with 0 to 9 employees manage their firms and use technology, how many different systems they have in place and how much time they spend on administrative tasks.

“The Sage survey found that these small businesses want to do more with less, as 34 percent stated that they prefer using a single application to manage administrative tasks, or at a minimum, that their applications worked together more efficiently, according to 18 percent of respondents,” said Connie Certusi, executive vice president and general manager of small business solutions at Sage North America. “These results, along with the feedback that we receive directly from customers, allow us to have a better understanding of what small businesses are looking for so we can develop tools that meet the real needs of its users.”

While small business owners have expressed a desire to take advantage of mobile applications or the cloud to help them manage operations more efficiently, the survey found these tools are not widely used. Many small business owners still rely on paper to manage their calendars (13 percent), projects (32 percent), to-do lists and assigning tasks to others (38 percent), and time tracking (23 percent), which is time consuming and can significantly impact their productivity.

The survey also found that 32 of the small business owners surveyed said that they and their staff spend up to nearly a quarter of their time on basic administrative tasks; while another 24 percent said they spent up to half their time on those tasks. Sixty-six percent said that they use three or more different software applications (desktop, web, mobile) to manage their day-to-day operations in addition to manual systems.

Many small business owners experience a number of issues when switching between multiple applications to manage various functions of their business including: finding needed information (27 percent), switching between applications to do invoicing is time consuming (32 percent), and redundant data entry—which leads to potential for mistakes and errors—wastes time (40 percent).
Fifty-one percent of the small business owners who responded to the survey said they wish that their applications were linked together. However, 52 percent of those respondents said their applications don’t have the ability to link together, while 21 percent don’t have the time to figure out how to link the applications together.

Of those small businesses that still rely on paper, 35 percent said their manual system works fine, citing that as a reason for not making the move to software applications.

To view an infographic of the survey, click here.






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