UK SMEs spend over 600,000 hours a year on company administration rather than core business activities

18th June 2015

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

These range from tasks such as fixing IT issues (26 %) to dealing with HR (23 %).

According to the survey, conducted by Populus, a quarter of SME leaders spend time on finding insurance and 26% find themselves dealing with IT issues, which cost them on average 52 hours a year. A further 27% 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% of SME’s spent over 60 hours a year managing. This research shows that leaders of a quarter of UK SME’s lose out on nearly three hours of valuable time completing tasks which are not core to their business. If we incorporate the UK’s 5.2 million SME’s, then 624,000 hours are wasted each week on non business critical tasks.

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

Steve White, Chief Executive of BIBA commented on the research saying: “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. 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”.

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.”

Customers looking for suitable insurance can use BIBA’s Find a Broker service either on 0870 950 1790 or at

Notes to editors

1. For further information please contact:

BIBA press office:
Leighann Forsyth, Head of Communications
020 7397 0223
[email protected]

Hanover Communications:

0207 400 4480

[email protected]


2. About British Insurance Brokers' Association

The British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) is the UK's leading general insurance intermediary organisation representing the interests of insurance brokers, intermediaries and their customers.

BIBA membership includes just under 2,000 regulated firms having merged with the Institute of Insurance Brokers (IIB) in November 2011.

General insurance brokers contribute 1% of GDP to the UK economy and BIBA brokers employ more than 100,000 staff.

54% of all general insurance is sold by an insurance broker and they arrange 79% of all commercial insurance business.

Insurance brokers put the client’s interests first, providing advice, access to suitable insurance protection and risk management.

BIBA helps more than 400,000 people a year to access insurance protection through its Find a Broker service, both online and via the telephone.

BIBA is the voice of the industry advising members, the regulators, consumer bodies and other stakeholders on key insurance issues.   


3. Methodology

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

Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more information see