How Time is Being Wasted

In the 8 years I have been working as an Accountant for the Construction and Trades industry; I have noticed a recurring theme amongst businesses operating within this particular sector. Business owners often took time off the jobsite or worked long hours in the home office in their ‘downtime’ to catch up on quoting, invoicing, organising future jobs or answering emails and telephone enquiries. This got me thinking how much time are business owners wasting on admin tasks?

On average Australian small business owners spend one third of their time on administration tasks. Now I know what you are all thinking this is what’s expected of a business, this makes sense if you are working with the Amish, without the use of the internet, tablets, automated procedures and cloud solutions. Why on earth would a business willingly spend 83 days1 a year on admin tasks? I’m disgusted by these numbers, technology is so easy to use and implement why cart office supplies up the stairs when you can use the elevator? Time is money and every hour spent on administrative tasks is an hour taken away from your family or from the business hindering the business’s ability to grow. In order to put a value on the hours spent on administration tasks we needed to assign a value to that time, the average tradie earns $60 per hour2. On a basis of 83 days a year at 8 hours per day that’s 664 hours a year on admin tasks equating to a recurring cost of $40,000 every year.

 

“On average, Australian Small business owners spend one third of their time on administration tasks.”

 

There is fear of change; then there is Submission to the Familiar

I know technology is often thrown around as the silver bullet that will save the construction industry, we have been hearing it year after year for decades. All business like to say they have embraced technology and innovation, they even have those words plastered on posters around the office to show how innovative they are. It’s not technology or innovation that will save your company, it’s how you integrate them into your business processes.

Let me provide an example for you. There’s a celebrity, we shall call her ‘K’ nobody quite knows what she is famous for but she makes the most of her limited skills and more power to her. K was in the city for a fashion show with a lot of expensive jewellery, so she made sure to book into a prestigious and secure hotel equivalent to her celebrity status. Unfortunately for K she was robbed by 5 men that were able to walk off the street into the hotel, is the security technology to blame? No, it is how the technology was implemented that caused the lapse. That is the key, you must be able to measure the benefit implementing the technology. Otherwise you are throwing darts at a dartboard with a blindfold on, sure you might get lucky but why take that risk?

Why take my word for it? IBM conducted their own research into the benefits of cloud computing. I summarised some key improvements from real implementations below: 

 

IBM Findings

 

Capability

Are of Saving

Hardware

Utilizing resources by using virtual serves

System Administration

Reduced system administration and operating costs in cloud infrastructure

Processing Efficiencies

Labour savings from request management, automation and standardisation

Improving Productivity

Reduced Idle, waiting time and increase flexibility

The same report found that cloud technology can decrease operating and labour costs by 50% through automated provisioning and standardisation; reducing admin costs to 16.5% for Australian Small Businesses (previously 33.33%), that is a saving of $20,000 by implementing cloud technology. By implementing cloud technology you haven’t just saved money you have created more time 41 days3 to be precise.

 

“…cloud techonlogy can decrease operating and labour costs by 50% through automated provisioning and standardisation.”

 

Now what have we learnt from K? That we should keep valuables off social media? No, that if we are going to be implementing new technology we must be able to measure the benefit to the business. How do we achieve that by implementing a technology infrastructure that is built for scale and will evolve as your business grows. Resulting in streamlined processes, workflows and timely data that will leverage your business for growth and save you money. A fully integrated tech deployment will cost around $15,000 to implement, that’s a return of investment of less than one year. The savings are compounded and the return on investments increase with each year.

To sum it all up, Cloud Technology and its integration into today’s businesses operations is – and should always be considered – an investment. Like any other investment, when we start to notice it being successfully leveraged by other businesses and competitors, we do not sit idly by as we watch others succeed. Cloud Technology is no different. The question we must ask ourselves is no longer ‘Whether we will Adopt the Cloud,” but rather, “When do we start; and are we too late?”

 

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One Final Note from Josh

If you are toiling away year after year striving to grow your business but not getting anywhere are you suffering from the Taylor Swift effect? No Taylor, you can’t make them stay but repeating the same process over and over will lead to the same effect, a change is needed. I practice what I preach, I have implemented this process with my clients and I actively work with them to grow their business. With the right accountant you will know the difference between and expense and an investment. The norm right now might not be the norm in the future, complacency can kill a career just ask Seann William Scott.

 

 

Joshua Gloede
Accounting Partner

 


 

Written By: Joshua Gloede

 


References

  1. Melanie Burgess. (2016). Plumbers, electricians Australia’s richest tradies, charging more than the average lawyer. Available: http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/careers/plumbers-electricians-australias-richest-tradies-charging-more-than-the-average-lawyer/news-story/4fee7c5920ff4624e53c5ca20f99e3cb. Last accessed 27/10/2016.
  2. Mike Ebbers. (2009). Cloud Computing: Save Time, Money, and Resources with a Private Test Cloud . Available: http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redpapers/pdfs/redp4553.pdf. Last accessed 27/10/2016.
  3. Yolanda Redrup. (2013). Small business owners wasting time on administrative tasks, research finds. Available: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/business-advice/strategy/32187-small-business-owners-wasting-time-on-administrative-tasks-research-finds/. Last accessed 27/10/2016.

 

Calculations

  1. 5(days) x 52(weeks) = 260(Trading days), – 10(Public Holidays) = 250(days working per year), x 33% = 83(Working days lost from admin).
  2. 83(Lost days) x 8(hours in standard trading day) x 60($ per hour wage) = $39,840(Lost per year).
  3. 5(days) x 52(weeks) = 260(Trading days), – 10(Public Holidays) = 250(days working per year), x 16.5% = 41(Working days lost from admin after cloud integration).
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