One in three SME owners struggles with accounts

One third of sole traders and owners of micro-businesses admit that they find the job of managing their finances stressful according to new research.

A survey by Kashflow has found that Britain's 5.3 million sole traders and micro-businesses are spending the equivalent of 2.5 million working days managing their accounts each year. It means that the UK's sole traders and micro-businesses are spending 19 million hours every month on looking after their finances.

Half of those polled (50%) admit they lack confidence when it comes to tackling their accounts and 32% say it leaves them feeling stressed. However, 34% said they feel "in control" of their finances; and 42% rated themselves as "really good" at managing their business finances and said they feel "totally confident" in their abilities.

Of those who said they didn't rate their financial management abilities highly, 43% said they feel frustrated with themselves and 54% admitted to "worrying constantly" whether they had made a mistake. A quarter admitted to relying heavily on other people for help, including friends and family or their accountant.

The research also asked respondents what they liked the most and least about running their own business. Almost half (48%) of those surveyed ranked being their own boss and not having to answer to anyone as the best thing about being self-employed. A fifth said not being able to switch off was the worst aspect of running a business; 15% said managing their business finances was the thing they liked the least about self-employment.

Oliver Shaw, ceo of KashFlow, said: "It's clear that even those who feel confident managing their accounts still find it challenging at times, and that the overwhelming majority of sole traders and small business owners would like to spend less time on it. Although half a day a month sounds reasonable for such a task, almost a third of those surveyed are spending longer than that, which is time they could be spending on doing what they love, or exploring growth opportunities."

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