Below the radar of other businesses

Yearly private sector losses through fraud are estimated at £140bn in a recent survey*.  Many fraud prevention measures also reduce losses through innocent error or sloppiness; the total cost of not ‘minding the back office’ must be mind boggling. With the potential to reduce leakage in its various forms, the admin side of business needs 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 difficult questions (eg: if there is fundraising).

A strong admin function should prevent unnecessary leakage and support decision making, providing great information and insights.  If the answer is ‘yes’ to some or all of these questions then the chances are your business radar could be improved:

  • 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 what’s going on below the radar?

Wrapping up

Strengthening your business radar should add to the bottom line.  In the first instance it is about improving skills, techniques and information, with hiring more people a last resort.  Getting someone to impartially look in from the outside can help.  If 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