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Expenses keeping SME owners up at night

Financial concerns are literally giving small business owners sleepless nights, with 42% admitting that concerns about managing business expenses are keeping them up at night.

More than half of respondents (52%) feel that worries about balancing cash flow disturbs their sleep

A study of 1,000 small business owners commissioned by Allstar Business Solutions revealed that more than half of respondents (52%) feel that worries about balancing cash flow disturbs their sleep, with 41% saying that coping with a long payment pipeline can often pile on the pressure too.

The research for the fuel and expense card provider also found that worries about maintaining a good work/life balance (48%) and thinking about bolstering their business pipeline (61%) are also barriers to having a good night’s sleep.

And the research also found it takes a full two days per week of staff time to reconcile expenses.

The study also looked into the biggest expenses of UK businesses, which include travel and subsistence expenses, with respondents spending on average £1,753 per month on trains, hotels, food or other on the road (OTR) expenses. While flights might be the bigger ticket items, the receipts come in most often for OTR costs, which include everyday items like parking or toll road fees.

Respondents also claimed to pay out an average of £665 per month on fuel alone. Surprisingly though, the research highlighted that many businesses perceive fuel as a small expense, which is primarily why those currently not using a fuel card are not considering one. This underestimated cost could therefore be impacting cash flow much more than some business owners realise, according to Allstar.

Commenting on the findings, Thore Vestergaard, SVP and MD, Allstar Business Solutions, explained: “Managing expenses is a big admin burden for many companies, which can have a significant impact on the overall efficiency of a business – particularly given the fact that it takes a whole two days to reconcile them.

“There are things that can be done to relieve the stresses and strains though, from changing the expense policy, to adopting the latest technologies that minimise admin while maximising efficiencies.

“The Allstar Plus business and fuel expense card serves to eliminate these common problems, by enabling staff to seamlessly pay for any expense they incur whenever they need to, while giving employers complete control of all spending. It also lowers costs for SMEs with discounted fuel, and purchases are interest free for up to 44 days. Crucially, businesses no longer need employees to foot the bill first, to stay on top of cash flow.”

The data also revealed that business outgoings, such as office expenses, equipment or inventory materials, amount to a mighty monthly average spend of £8,212.

Employees are also feeling the business expense burden too, as they are often expected to foot the bill for on-the-road costs before being reimbursed. According to a 2018 Censuswide survey, this has proven to be such a significant burden for employees that 26% admit they have looked for a new job as a result.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.