Expenses Cost UK Small Businesses 13 Days a Year

By Concur, PRNE
Sunday, April 17, 2011

Over 60 per cent Spend Longer Dealing With Expenses Than Working on New Business

LONDON, April 18, 2011 - A survey of over 400 owners of small or medium sized businesses (SMBs)
reveals the impact of filing, sorting and paying out expenses on the 1.2
million SMBs in the UK[1]. According to the data, UK SMBs spend an average of
13 business days[2] per year managing expenses, a significant drain on time
and resource for growing companies. In fact, when compared with other vital
business activities, a large percentage of SMB owners admit that their
company spends more time managing expenses than they do on generating new
business (63.2 per cent), thinking about the future of the business (54.1 per
cent) or investigating new markets (48.8 per cent).

The survey reveals that - in addition to eating up valuable time for more
important activities - the expense reporting process is also a cause of worry
and concern for SMBs. Nearly four out of five (78.6 per cent) express concern
about how much money employees are spending on expenses. Also, with the MPs
expenses scandal fresh in the memory, one in four (27.3 per cent) voice
concerns about staff expensing items they should not. In addition, a quarter
(25.2 per cent) think that employees could be spending too much, and a third
(31.7 per cent) are concerned that some of the expense claims made by
employees maybe unnecessary, but they don't have time to check.

Isabel Montesdeoca, Vice President at online expense management software
provider Concur (www.concur.com/en-uk/) comments: "SMB owners find
that they waste far too much time and energy managing the expenses process.
And yet worries remain among SMBs that all those efforts still leave them
lacking the proper controls and visibility. If the right technology is put in
place, expenses can be straightforward and transparent, giving confidence to
focus on more important parts of running a company."

The survey also reveals one in four SMB owners (27.1 per cent) are unsure
that all of the expense claims they pay out are justified, and one in six
(16.3 per cent) SMBs admit to having no clear written policy for expenses in

Although expenses can be easily streamlined for cost efficiency with an
automated system, only 39.8 per cent of SMBs currently use one. Given the
importance of cash flow to smaller businesses, and the current climate for
small business loans, the expense process is a clear stumbling block for many
SMBs. Montesdeoca continues: "Not only is bad expense management a drain on
resources, it's also an area of company expenditure that can easily escalate
out of control without a proper system in place."

Automated expense management tools can make it easy for small businesses
to submit and track expenses (www.concur.com/en-uk/small-business)
online or via mobile (www.concur.com/en-uk/features/mobile) and
convert paper receipts into digital records. Concur, a global leader in
integrated travel and expense management (
www.concur.com/en-uk/enterprise-software/premier), today launched the
UK version of its SMB specific solution, Concur(R) Breeze (
www.concur.com/en-uk/small-business) which opens up this technology to
even the smallest of companies - down to the one person organisation.
Automated solutions like Concur's enable employees to easily track expenses
incurred on behalf of their company and automatically integrate credit card
information allowing quick submission, approval and complete reimbursement.
In addition, the solution provides visibility and control for SMB owners to
keep track of the money flowing in and out of the business, and the reasons
behind employee spend.

About Concur

Concur is a leading provider of integrated travel and expense management
solutions for companies of all sizes. Concur's easy-to-use web-based and
mobile solutions help companies and their employees control costs and save
time. Learn more at www.concur.com/en-uk.


Survey statistics:

The research for Concur was carried out by Opinionmatters.co.uk between:
03/03/2011 and 23/03/2011 with a sample of 401 SMB owners in the UK. For the
purposes of the study, SMB constitutes any company with 249 employees or

1) If you were to add up all of the hours spent…. how long do you think
it takes you and your staff to file, sort, get all the receipts and pay out
all the expense claims you get each month?

    Less than 5 hours 22.7%
    5 to 10 hours     38.5%
    10 to 15 hours    14.6%
    15 to 20 hours       9%
    20 to 25 hours     2.9%
    30 hours plus      0.5%
    I don't know      11.7%

Average time spent processing claims = 8.7 hours

Multiply figure by 12 (months of the year) = 104.4 hours

Divide figure by 8 (hour working day) = 13.05 days

2) How does this compare to the time your business spends on the

    New business

                                               More  63.20%
                                               Less  14.40%
                                               Same  13.20%
                                               N/A    9.30%

    Meeting with staff

                                               More  22.40%
                                               Less  28.00%
                                               Same  35.10%
                                               N/A   14.40%

    Securing funding & financial backing

                                               More  30.00%
                                               Less  23.40%
                                               Same  36.60%
                                               N/A   10.00%

    Networking with peers & prospects

                                               More  27.80%
                                               Less  27.60%
                                               Same  33.90%
                                               N/A   10.70%


                                               More  20.20%
                                               Less  42.70%
                                               Same  25.60%
                                               N/A   11.50%

    Thinking about the future of your business

                                               More  54.10%
                                               Less  16.30%
                                               Same  18.80%
                                               N/A   10.70%

    Investigating new markets

                                               More  48.80%
                                               Less  17.30%
                                               Same  17.30%
                                               N/A   16.60%

    Reading about your industry

                                               More  37.10%
                                               Less  18.50%
                                               Same  23.40%
                                               N/A   21.00%

3) How do you currently deal with expense claims?

    We hand in paper receipts                     42.4%
    We use a spreadsheet application like Excel   37.3%
    We use an automated expense management system 18.8%
    Other please specify                           1.5%

4) Are you sure your business only pays out expense claims that are

    Yes                      72.90%
    No                        7.60%
    Don't know               19.50%

5) Do you worry about how much is being expensed to your business?

    Yes, I worry about it a lot    26.6%
    Yes, I worry about it a little   52%
    No, I don't worry about it     21.5%

6) If yes, what exactly do you worry about?

    I don't have visibility into what is being spent               40.7%
    That some of the expenses are/may be unnecessary and I
    don't have time to check                                       31.7%
    My employees are expensing items that they should not          27.3%
    My employees are spending too much on expenses                 25.2%
    Nothing specific                                                7.5%
    Other please specify                                            0.3%

7) Does your company have or plan to invest in an automated expense
management system?

    We have this                    39.80%
    We plan to invest in this       11.50%
    We don't plan to invest in this 26.10%
    Don't know                      22.70%

8) Do you have a written policy on what employees can/can't submit as

    Yes   83.70%
    No    16.30%

9) Do you know how much is paid out each month in expenses?

    My accountant knows  36.3
    I have a rough idea  36.2
    I don't know         19.8
    Yes, to the penny    11.7
    Other                 0.2


[1] Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Statistics for the UK and
Regions 2009 (Wednesday 13 October 2010)

[2] Based on a standard eight hour working day

Press Contacts: Stacey Jones, Weber Shandwick for Concur, +44(0)20-7067-0543, stacey.jones at webershandwick.com; Holly Barnes, Weber Shandwick for Concur, +44(0)207-067-0513, Holly.Barnes at webershandwick.com

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