Expenses Cost UK Small Businesses 13 Days a YearBy 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. According to the data, UK SMBs spend an average of
13 business days 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.
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.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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% Creativity/brainstorming 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
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%
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
 Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Statistics for the UK and
Regions 2009 (Wednesday 13 October 2010)
 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
Tags: April 18, Concur, London, United Kingdom