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Self-employed spend two weeks on book-keeping

Self-employed workers spend an average of 15 working days a year getting their finances in order.

A new poll of more than 5,000 self-employed workers by Intuit Quickbooks has found that managing expenses - and unpicking personal and business income in particular - makes book-keeping very time-consuming.

Three-quarters (75%) of the UK's self-employed workforce use the same bank account for personal and business income.

On average, sole traders spend more than two hours every week separating business and personal finances, the equivalent of 15 working days a year. One in five (19%) said that poor financial management of processes like expenses has nearly put them out of business.

The study found that of the major challenges faced by self-employed workers, the biggest were:

  • not having a predictable income (58%);
  • the uncertainty of the future (44%);
  • setting boundaries to stop work becoming 24/7 (23%);
  • managing and scheduling tasks (14%).

Dominic Allon, Vice President and Managing Director of Intuit Europe, said: 

"When people make the decision to become self-employed, they often focus on their idea, how to monetise it and the prospect of growing it into something brilliant. The reality of managing the business's finances can be an afterthought when compared with the complexities of getting a plan off the ground.
"Our research shows how damaging this approach can be. We still see many self-employed manually tracking expenses on paper or spreadsheets. No self-employed worker can afford to spend significant time unpicking personal and business expenses when there are business critical activities to focus on - and get paid for. Financial management needs to be at the heart of any strategy, right from the start of any business endeavour, otherwise there is a real risk of failure."

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