Is your admin adding to the bottom line?

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Is your admin adding value? What's below the radar?What’s happening below the radar?

Private sector losses through fraud have been estimated at £140bn per annum in a recent survey*.   Many fraud prevention measures also reduce losses through innocent error or sloppiness; the total cost to business of not ‘minding the back office’ must be mind boggling.  With the potential to reduce leakage in its various forms, admin functions need to be in the spotlight.

How good is your radar?  

In many smaller businesses, it’s only when something unusual happens that admin gets full attention:

  • It could be because of something nasty, like a fraud, a large bad debt, an unexplained drop in cash or seriously bad decisions through poor information.
  • Alternatively, it could be because someone else is looking at the business and is asking awkward questions (eg: if there is fundraising).

As well as dealing with the day to day nitty gritty, a strong admin function will also support decision making, providing great information and insights.  If you answer ‘yes’ to some or all of these questions then a review of the back office could be especially worthwhile.

  • Is too much time spent firefighting?
  • Has there been any ‘mission creep’?  (Someone’s role has changed and they are doing work outside their core skills).
  • Are spreadsheets used widely for admin tasks?
  • Are you and your senior team too busy to think about how the admin side can be improved?

Wrapping up

Fraud may attract the headlines but it’s just one type of loss.  With that in mind admin should be expected to add value leading to less leakage and a more robust and cash generative business.

Strengthening admin is in the first instance about improving skills, techniques and information, with hiring more people a last resort.  Getting someone to impartially look in from the outside can helpIf you know of a business where the admin side is simply ‘going through the motions’ and  is not adding much value then do feel free to get in touch.

*Crowe Clark Whitehill Annual Fraud Indicator 2017
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