According to a report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), small business owners spend over 33 hours a month dealing with internal admin duties while 55% say that it holds back business growth. How can they save time on business admin?
First, what takes up the most time? No surprises here. Accounting tasks top the list (14 hours), followed by business banking (9 hours), taxes (6 hours), HR issues and employee care (5 hours), and more.
For the general contractor community of plumbers, landscapers, window and commercial cleaners, construction companies, and so on, the burden of admin can be particularly tough because the nature of the job requires the business owner to be out in the field serving customers.
Here are some timesaving tips and tricks for reducing the burden of business admin on your general contracting business.
6 Ways General Contractors Can Save Time on Business Admin
1. Have Your Bank Take Care of Accounts Receivables
Because business banking tops the list of admin tasks, talk to your bank about ways you can streamline things. For example, many banks will handle your accounts receivable for you through lockbox services. Simply have customers send checks to a P.O. box, and the bank will collect, process, and deposit them to your account for a small fee (the boxes are checked several times a day). This also ensures that payments hit your account within 24 hours of being received, cutting hours or days out of your collections process while reducing the risk of theft or missing checks.
2. Ditch the Personal Credit Card
Separating your business and personal finances is essential for staying on top of your expenses and tax deductions. If you’re using your personal card for business spend, this can suck up a lot of time. Talk to your bank about getting a business credit card. This will help knock hours off your banking tasks.
3. Use Apps to Track Business Expenses
To save time on business admin like taxes and finances, use cloud apps and accounting tools to easily track your expenses, add the right tax categories, and generate reports.
In the apps market, tools like Expensify, for example, can be synced with your credit card so that reports can be pulled automatically. Other options include Concur Expense or the low-cost app BizXpenseTracker, which tracks expenses, mileage, and hours worked.
If you use cloud accounting tools like Freshbooks, Xero, or QuickBooks Online, you can also import expenses from your bank account or credit card for easy expense management. Harvest, a business productivity tool that helps you track time and bill clients, also includes an expense tracking feature.
4. Automate Invoicing and Payroll
Many of the tools mentioned above can also take the pain out of one of the more tedious yet essential admin tasks that general contractors deal with—billing. By automating your invoicing, it becomes a lot easier to create, send, and follow up on payments than it is if you do it manually.
These tools include many bells and whistles, such as automatic tax calculations, notifications when a client has viewed your invoice, alerts when due dates are pending or past, and more. You can also add credit card options to your invoices so that you get paid days faster than waiting for a check in the mail. Additionally, if you’re still having trouble getting paid on time, consider Fundbox—you’ll spend less time chasing payments and more time focused on business growth.
Payroll admin is another big drain on time. Tools like Gusto, Intuit Payroll, and onpay can help you easily run payroll, calculate and file taxes, and handle W2s and end of year reporting requirements.
5. Hire a Virtual Assistant
If you can’t afford to hire employees to help with your admin, consider a virtual assistant. These professional services (often work at home freelancers or contractors) can help with tasks such as managing your schedule; email and phone calls; bookkeeping; chasing unpaid bills; doing basic business research; and more, all of which can shave hours off your workweek. You can find virtual assistants via websites like zirtual.com or upwork.com.
6. Hire an Accountant
As your business grows, the ROI of hiring an accountant can outweigh the cost—an excellent investment that can save time on business admin.
Consider how much time you or a member of staff spends on accounting tasks right now, then decide how much that time is worth to you. If you spend 14 hours a month on accounting, how much could you earn during that time or how much business development could you be doing instead? The cost benefit can quickly be realized.
A good CPA can help you set up the right business structure, balance your books, take care of the daily transactions that you don’t have time for, provide counsel, stay up-to-date on tax laws, and help you reduce your tax bill.
What steps have you taken to save time on business admin? Leave a comment below.