Chasing payments most unpopular task among small businesses

The most unpopular administrative tasks among entrepreneurs are chasing payments and processing expenses, research finds.

According to a study of the virtual PAs of small business owners by Time Etc, 72 per cent of virtual PAs rate credit control as one of their clients’ most-hated tasks.

This is closely followed by processing their own expenses (61 per cent) – a necessity for HMRC, but a bugbear for many SME owners.

Formatting documents (39 per cent), booking travel tickets (37 per cent) and managing and organising email inboxes (35 per cent) come next, while social media profiles and blogs, which have to be regularly updated to have any real impact, are also unpopular.

Getting quotes from suppliers (22 per cent), virtual filing (17 per cent) and writing and publishing blog posts (15 per cent) round off the list.

Penni Pike, Sir Richard Branson’s executive assistant for 32 years, and now Time Etc’s special adviser, comments, ‘While a virtual PA will never be able to make you a cup of tea or greet clients for you, they are invaluable for saving both your time and your sanity in taking on all the mundane but essential jobs.

‘They can also answer phone calls when you are unable to, meaning you will never miss new business opportunities and you can screen unwanted sales calls that ordinarily waste precious minutes.’

Time Etc founder Barnaby Lashbrooke adds, ‘My personal pet hate is booking travel – never straightforward as it means researching different connections to find the lowest fare.

‘Outsourcing to a virtual PA team means that, in the early stages of setting up a business, you don’t have to worry about the costs associated with recruitment, such as office space and company pensions.’

Ben Lobel

Delphine Hintz

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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