More than half of all tradespeople and small construction business owners throughout Australia are being forced to sacrifice sleep to meet reporting and administrative requirements, the latest survey has found.

In a questionnaire involving more than 1,300 small business owners conducted by accounting software provider Reckon, 78 percent of all building tradespeople surveyed said they were being forced to make lifestyle sacrifices to handle the administrative aspects of running their business.

Indeed, 52 percent reported sacrificing sleep in order to meet their reporting requirements.

The survey also found that:

  • 41 percent of all small business leaders in trades agree that pressures associated with administrative tasks makes it difficult for them to get ‘in the zone’ where they operate at their best.
  • On average, burdens associated with administrative tasks are costing small business tradespeople 525 hours in lost time and $13,589 in money each year.
  • Across all sectors of the economy, small business owners derive an average of just 4.5 hours of sleep per night – well short of the recommended amounts of sleep at seven to nine hours.
  • 47 percent of all tradespeople report that burdens associated with red tape are ‘killing the dream’ that made them start their business in the first place.
  • Across all sectors, 13 percent of small business owners report performing administrative tasks before 6am.
  • Across all sectors, 58 percent of all small business leaders surveyed say that pressure associated with red tape and administrative tasks has led to errors which have financial implications. These include over or under payments of suppliers and employees as well as transferring payments to the wrong people.
  • Across all sectors, more than one in five (21 percent) of small business owners are unsure whether or not their business meets all of their existing compliance requirements. One third do not use accounting or payroll software.

The latest survey comes as small businesses face new ‘single touch’ reporting requirements for payroll starting from 1 July.

Under this system, information regarding tax and superannuation software is sent from payroll and accounting software automatically to the Australian Taxation Office.

Whilst businesses with twenty or more staff are doing this already, those with fewer than twenty employees must adopt this system on or before July 1.

The survey also comes as Reckon has launched an ‘In the Zone’ hub containing information about compliance, industry-specific research findings and practical suggestions to generate peak performance.

Reckon chief executive officer Sam Allert says the benefits of operating at an optimal state of mind should not be understated.

Most people can relate to the self-motivation idea of being ‘in the zone’ – that is, a flow state of heightened focus, efficiency and productivity,” Allert said.

“Whether building a house, connecting a new local building to power, or fixing a burst pipe, every trades business owner knows the feeling and benefit of being ‘in the zone’ or operating at their peak – they’re just held back by distractions, and worrying about things like admin, payroll and compliance that can impact work efficiency.

“Those that can streamline work for peak performance are not only more profitable, but they can invest more time and money in staff, marketing and innovation, to get ahead of the competition.”