Unnecessary admin is costing SA businesses R229 every second of the day

According to Sage's annual Productivity Tracker, R7.2 billion was lost to admin in the last year.

On 20 August, Sage launched its second annual Productivity Tracker, which investigates the amount of time lost to administrative tasks. The study reveals that the South African ‘Productivity Puzzle’ is far from solved. 

The Productivity Tracker surveyed small and medium-sized businesses across 12 countries, uncovering the percentage of time spent during an average working week on unproductive administrative tasks; time that could be reduced by using technology and digital tools. 

According to the study, productivity losses caused by unnecessary admin are costing South African businesses R229 every second of the day, amounting to R7.2 billion a year. 

The figures were as follows: 

  • The average time lost to admin, which includes tasks such as chasing late payments, processing invoices and HR tasks, is 5.2 percent. 
  • South African businesses lost an average of 3.6 percent of their time to admin tasks. 
  • Spain reported the highest percentage of business working hours spent on these tasks, at 10 percent. 
  • Canada reported the lowest amount of time dedicated to these tasks, at 1.7 percent of business time allocated to admin per year.

Sage AME executive VP Pieter Bensch said: 

“The amount of time South African businesses spend on admin compares favourably to international benchmarks, but there is still more we could do to reduce the time businesses spend on routine tasks like generating invoices, paying taxes, chasing payments and issuing payslips.” 

He concluded: 

“Transitioning to a digital business model and automating more business processes can enable businesses to unlock significant value… Government and big business should also ask how they can help smaller businesses to boost productivity through reducing procurement paperwork, paying them on time, and subsidising new technologies.”