Financial admin poses risk to small business growth, IAB survey finds

A quarter of small and medium sized companies believe that getting additional help with their day-to-day administration would help them to grow, according to a survey by the International Association of Book-keepers (IAB).

The IAB survey found that while over a third (36%) are looking to grow and 49% are willing to consider it, well over half of those (67%) found it burdensome to cope with the associated financial paperwork, while 33% saw it as a real problem.

“Day-to-day admin can be a real challenge for micro and small businesses where it often falls to one person to both drive the business and keep paperwork and books up to date. This can be a real barrier to growth,” said Malcolm Trotter, Chief Executive of the IAB.

“That is backed up by our survey, which also showed that of those troubled by financial paperwork, 41% agreed that taking on a subcontractor to handle it would be helpful.”

However, Malcolm added he found it concerning that 67% of respondents didn’t believe a bookkeeping professional would give them all the support an accountant could.

“The experience of businesses that use the services of our members is quite the opposite to that,” he said. “Companies that solely use the services of an accountant will only have meetings with them once in a while. Bookkeepers, however, can be far more hands on.

The survey was conducted for the IAB by the Centre for Micro Business. Director Roger House said: “For a business to grow it must have certain parameters covered and in place. Aside from the marketing elements of business, it must have a robust grip on its cash flow, an understanding of its profit and loss accounts and ready access to them and competent

personnel handling the administrative duties.”

Malcolm Trotter added that it was significant that the survey found that 17% of respondents were unsure of their business’s exact financial position.

“Those businesses would have an exact understanding of their financial position and be in a much better position to grow simply by employing a bookkeeper and receiving monthly reports,” said Malcolm.

“Bookkeepers add real value to small businesses and to their sustainable growth and our survey suggests more small businesses would benefit from using one.”

For more information on how a bookkeeper could help your business, or to find one local to you, visit

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