SINGAPORE (Jan 18): Small and medium businesses (SMBs) in Singapore spend an average 168 working days yearly on administrative tasks, costing them $160,000 a year.

This is double the cost of $80,000 by global SMEs who spend 120 working days yearly on the tasks.

The tasks also account for roughly 5% of the total manpower of SMBs.

These were some of the findings from Sweating the Small Stuff: the impact of the bureaucracy burden survey commisssioned by market leader in cloud accounting software Sage.

Undertaken by Plum Consulting, the research shows that an increase in productivity of as little as 5% in Singapore could lead to an increase in GDP of $8.7 billion. This could be partially achieved through the reduction of time spent on business administration.

Among the different types of SMBs, the research showed that accounting is the biggest administrative task, while invoicing activities – including invoice generation and processing – also represent a substantial proportion of total administrative tasks.

In total, these tasks make up 41%, 46% and 51% of all administrative activities for medium-sized, small and micro firms respectively.

They are also the three tasks that can be carried out much more efficiently using software.

Based on data from the report, Sage has launched a real-time Cost of Lost Productivity tracker to help businesses better visualise the impact of administrative burdens on their bottom line.

Robin Chao, vice-president and managing director of Sage Asia, says, “Cloud-based software solutions can help cut back on and streamline administrative processes, enabling business builders to manage anything from people to money on-the-go. In the face of this fact, any hesitations that businesses have about adopting technology just fall away.”

“The Singapore government is forward-looking and has many initiatives in place to guide business through this transition into the digital age and companies should do their best to capitalise on these opportunities as well,” adds Chao.