Micro businesses failing to bill £11.3 billion a year

Additional research by FreeAgent also reveals that for every hour billed by micro businesses, they will on average work an additional 30 minutes of time that they could – but don’t – bill their clients for. FreeAgent estimates that this could amount to an additional £218 million a week or £11.4 billion a year in unbilled hours across the UK micro-business sector.

The survey carried out by YouGov for FreeAgent – which provides a multi-award winning cloud accounting system for freelancers and micro-businesses – also showed that a third of respondents claim to have felt overwhelmed by their business accounting, which includes financial reporting, invoicing and payroll.

In addition, the poll, which surveyed more than 500 micro-business owners and was carried out to mark FreeAgent’s £1m crowdfunding drive through Seedrs, revealed that almost a quarter of micro-business owners personally spend more than one full working day every month on their business accounting while nearly one in ten spend at least three full working days on them. FreeAgent believes that this extra time equates to around 2.4 million unnecessary days spent on accounting per month across the whole of the UK’s micro-business sector.

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “The UK’s small and micro-business sector is the lifeblood of our economy and needs all the support it can get. At times it can be a struggle to survive and our research reveals the extent to which these businesses are going the extra mile often without being paid.

“From our own internal data, we’ve discovered that for every hour a micro-business works and bills their clients for, they will on average work an additional 30 minutes that they could – but don’t – charge for. That’s a third of a typical micro-business owner’s time where they’re essentially working for free – which UK-wide adds up to hundreds of millions of pounds worth of lost earnings.

“But that’s just the picture for those people who are actually recording their time in the first place. Our YouGov poll found that almost two thirds of respondents didn’t actually track any of their working time, so that potentially means that millions of UK micro-business owners don’t know how valuable their time is or how profitably they’re using it.

“The reality is that, although many micro-business owners work hard for their clients, they also spend long hours doing business-related tasks that they don’t get paid for – and that includes managing, and sometimes feeling overwhelmed by, their accounts.”

FreeAgent believes that the results demonstrate the need for its multi award-winning cloud accounting system among the UK micro-business sector – and the value of the business to investors interested in its crowdfunding drive. More information about FreeAgent’s crowdfunding campaign can be found here: https://www.seedrs.com/startups/freeagent