Small UK businesses are wasting 120 working days A YEAR on admin… Is yours one of them?

by | Aug 10, 2018 | News

These shock findings – reported by technology firm Sage – support what Spire HR have long suspected: time spent tackling the daily onslaught of admin can account for nearly half the working year, which has devastating consequences for productivity.

“In any business, but especially those without an in-house HR function, responsibility for simple tasks like managing annual leave requests often get delegated to the Finance Team or Office Administrators,” explained Ellen Parkin MCIPD, Managing Director of Spire HR.

“In some smaller organisations, we’ve even seen Finance or Operations Directors processing changes to employees’ personal details simply because there is no-one else to do it. It deflects time and attention away from their actual job of providing direction and strategy, as well as negotiating lucrative new deals – all of which impacts on growth and profitability.”

The same study found that staff at small UK-based businesses spend nearly six percent of their time doing back-office tasks simply because they don’t have systems in place to cope with them. Increasing productivity by the same amount would boost British GDP by an additional £33.9bn a year!

Ellen commented: “I completely agree with Sage’s Managing Director, Alan Lang, who said: ‘No-one started their business with a desire to spend hours carrying out admin’. That’s why at Spire HR, we offer a Cloud-based HR Toolkit that employees can access securely from anywhere using their username and password.

‘For example, instead of writing out a paper-based annual leave request to physically place on their manager’s desk, the whole process can be completed online in a matter of minutes. The attendance chart functionality even shows users who else has already booked leave – pre-empting conversations about availability in companies where only a set number of people can be off at any one time. In terms of time-saving functions, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using the HR Toolkit to manage day-to-day admin tasks that, let’s face it, most of us dread!”

Once a holiday is booked on the simple web-based system, it is automatically deducted from the employee’s total annual allowance… no more calculators needed! Employees can also update their own personal information such as a change of address and next of kin details without completing physical paperwork for their managers to then process.

From a HR point of view, Contracts, Handbooks and Policies can all be stored on the HR Toolkit – requiring employees to accept that they have seen and read the documents, which is great for record-keeping. Following the introduction of GDPR, it is also reassuring to note that access is controlled at three levels: employees, who can only get access to their own information; managers, who can also get access to people they manage; and controllers, who can get access to all information and set managers’ specific rights.

“Updating endless Excel spreadsheets has now become a thing of the past, as the HR Toolkit houses all your key HR-related admin in one secure place; promotes personal accountability among employees; and – crucially – frees up time,” concluded Ellen.

For up to 10 staff, the HR Toolkit costs £25 per month. To start your free trial today, telephone 01925 626253 or email

As we had recently come up against some difficult staffing issues which we had not experienced before, Ellen Parkin at Spire HR was recommended to us by one of our business partners to guide and assist us with the complex HR legalities we needed to adhere to.

Ellen was very efficient and professional and gave us instant confidence that she would be able to competently provide the help we needed. Ellen was readily accessible via email or telephone throughout the whole process and gave us the vital lifeline we needed during a very emotive and stressful time. Spire HR realised that as an SME, we had to balance the commercial viability for HR consultancy with the expertise and guidance we needed and Ellen was open and honest from the outset, providing a cost-effective and professional service. I would therefore have no hesitation in recommending Spire HR to anyone.


We are too small to justify a full-time HR employee; yet we cannot afford to ‘get it wrong’ The excellent service offered by Spire HR Solutions is the perfect solution for us


AGP have used Spire HR Solutions Limited for numerous matters relating to HR issues for both ourselves and clients of the practice. I have always found them to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful and to be very responsive to our needs.

Spire is now the practice’s first point of contact for any HR issues we encounter and I would certainly recommend them to anyone in need of assistance with any HR matters.


Ellen has helped streamline procedures and provide greater controls through her extensive knowledge and professional dedication, which has enabled me to concentrate on my main objective, growing the business.

I would say ‘key’ to her service is the confidence she provides with the HR guidance, I know without doubt that when dealing with my employees I follow the correct procedure and staff feel confident that they have the right HR support. The guidance on our bonus structure and appraisal scheme is one of many examples in which Ellen’s guidance has been invaluable.

I have been pleased with work Ellen has done for us and would not hesitate to recommend her to others. She provides a high quality, professional service and is very responsive to the needs of a small, growing organisation.