UK SMEs Fail to Outsource Non-Core Business Activities: Broker Survey

June 18, 2015

A significant number of leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the United Kingdom perform a lot of tasks outside their job descriptions, instead of outsourcing these to insurance brokers, recruiters or IT specialists, according to research carried out for the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA).

According to the survey, conducted by Populus*, a quarter of SME leaders spend time finding insurance and 26 percent find themselves dealing with IT issues, which cost them on average 52 hours a year.

Expense claims and general administration are the two most time consuming activities – with SMEs dedicating 28 percent of their time on processing claims and 27 percent on procuring office supplies, the survey said.

A further 27 percent of SME’s spend nearly over 33 hours each year procuring office supplies – even though these are not part of their core job descriptions. Most time consuming of all was HR, which 23 percent of SME’s spent over 60 hours a year managing, BIBA said.

This research shows that leaders of a quarter of UK SME’s lose out on nearly three hours of valuable time completing tasks that are not core to their business.

By extrapolating these figures across the UK’s 5.2 million SMEs, the survey calculated that 624,000 hours are wasted each week on non-business critical tasks.

“It is challenging to see that SMEs spend so much of their time on back office tasks when they could be serving their customers and generating income. This is where brokers can help,” said Steve White, chief executive of BIBA.

“A quarter of SME leaders handle insurance – a task that falls far outside their core knowledge. Using a broker could help these companies to save time and allow them to focus on growing their business,” White added.

Feroz Bhaloda, Barlow Street Motors, said: “It can be a minefield trying to get the right cover due to the complexity of the policy. Our broker ensures that we understand the policy as it can be difficult to understand and he liaises with the insurance companies on our behalf.”

*Populus interviewed 500 directors, senior managers and owners of British businesses with between 10 and 249 employees online between 5 and 8 February 2015.

Source: British Insurance Brokers’ Association

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