The Admin Trap

The Admin Trap

  • Date: Tuesday 18th June 2019
  • PDF: Download

In a recent survey, UK’s freelancers reported they spend an average of 8.5 days per year on admin, costing the economy an estimated £28.1bn! Most common time-suckers are filing taxes (44%), clearing emails (30%) and fixing IT problems (28%).

But even if you are not one of the five million freelancers, most of us know what it feels like to spend time on seemingly useless paperwork, when we would much rather focus on making our business more successful.

The common misconception is that admin is keeping us from doing our jobs, when in fact we should be viewing it as the very foundation of our business functions.

Because let’s face it: businesses with a poor administrational stronghold often show cracks within the first few years of operating. You can do the best job in the world, for example building someone’s house extension, but if you do not invoice it correctly, maintain your Health and Safety paperwork and keep track of your expenditures, your company will not be returning a sustainable income.

So, it is time to view admin like we view Health and Safety and HR: set up properly, it can help us make operations safer, slicker and more profitable.

The key? Sharpen the saw. This concept, developed by Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989), recommends making time for tool maintenance, which will help maintain effectiveness and efficiency in the long run.

Top Tips:

  • Review your filing system. If you have undertaken a GDPR audit, you may already have the basics in your toolkit. Ask yourself if you are storing and maintaining records in the most efficient way. Consider cloud-based applications, that will give you more flexible access. Consider burning that outdated paperwork. Involve others in giving you advice on how to best organise things most logically.
  • Review your IT applications and do not be afraid to make changes. Shop around if your current set-up does not make you more efficient or causes frequent grief. Sometimes however, processes need to change to fit a system – and that is ok. Do not forget that the way you do things is not necessarily the best or only way.
  • Clean-as-you-go… because it will only get worse! Those tax receipts in a shoe box would be much easier processed if you file them on a weekly or monthly basis. Having a filing pile is counter-productive, because you’ll have to do it eventually and chances are you will be looking for that piece of paper right near the bottom between now and then. Deleting emails as you deal with them is not only more efficient but also a safer method of data processing.

All these basic admin ‘bits’ should form part of your operation, not be an add-on.

Source: Manuela Grossmann

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