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The Cost of Time Spent by Leaders on Administrative Tasks….it’s more than you think!

Leaders in organisations, whether they be CEOs, managers, or department heads, often find themselves bogged down by admin tasks, and while these tasks are essential, they can consume a significant portion of leaders' time, detracting from strategic activities that drive organisational growth. This article explores the untapped potential locked within the hours leaders spend on admin duties and how saving this time can translate into substantial financial wins for organisations.

The cost of leaders performing admin work can be substantial, calculated at £54.35 per hour (based on a salary of £100,000 per annum). This significant expenditure includes not only their hourly rate but also the missed opportunities for engaging in high-impact, revenue-generating activities. The financial implications of time spent on admin tasks are considerable and can greatly affect the overall profitability and efficiency of the organisation.


The Hidden Cost of Admin Tasks

Admin tasks can range from scheduling meetings, handling emails, and preparing reports to managing routine communications and daily paperwork. This activity is necessary to fulfil business operations and to support various stakeholders and department to have the space to focus and deliver to a high standard their individual core competency that drives the business.


Our daily advisement to clients often highlights not only the direct cost of having non-admin/business support colleagues doing admin work but also the hidden cost—namely, the untapped revenue and negative impact on the business:

  • You want your salespeople to be increasing sales.
  • You want your client experience teams to delight customers, thereby enhancing customer lifetime value (LTV) and growth opportunities.
  • You want your legal team to be ensuring compliance and mitigating risks effectively.


Our intel and experience tells us, leaders spend at least 1 hour per day on admin tasks (although this can be much higher in some circumstances), which means for a typical 5-day workweek, this translates to a minimum of 5 hours per week. The time spent on admin tasks is time not spent on strategic activities such as deal-making, innovation, and leadership development.


This equates to a very highly paid administrative or PA resource, essentially costing the organisation at the leader’s hourly rate of £54.35 (based on example) and this is excluding ancillary costs, plus the significant missed opportunity cost of not engaging in strategic, high-impact activities.


Let’s look into the Financial Impact

There are two factors to consider:

1. The direct cost of a leader doing administrative work—hourly rate and potential inefficiency due to it not being their core strength.

2. The untapped growth and revenue due to distraction and not playing to strengths.


To understand the true value of saving a leader's time, let's delve into a hypothetical scenario:

  • Leader's Annual Salary: £100,000 (£54.35 per hour) excluding ancillary costs given vast variables
  • Hours Saved per Year: 234 hours (1 hour per day, based on 234 working days per year)
  • Conversion Rate: 10% (The rate at which time saved translates into revenue-generating activities)
  • Revenue per Deal: £100,000
  • Number of Deals per Year with Time Saved: 5 additional deals per leader

The Value of Saved Time for 10 Leaders:

Revenue impact


The Impact on Revenue for 10 leaders:

Revenue impact 2



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Implementing Time-Saving Strategies

To capitalise on the untapped potential, organisations can adopt several strategies to reduce the admin burden on their leaders:


1. Outsourcing Business Support:

Outsourcing your business support and PA function to service providers, like SmartPA, delivers organisations three key benefits:

1. Growth and revenue accelerator

  • Delegating administrative tasks to professionals allows leaders to focus on strategic activities that drive growth and additional revenue. Outsourced support ensures routine tasks are handled efficiently, enhancing overall productivity and performance across the organisation.

2. A fixed cost base

  • Outsourcing transforms variable costs into predictable fixed costs, simplifying budgeting and financial planning. It eliminates expenses related to recruitment, training, and office space for administrative staff, resulting in significant cost savings.

3. Insights from experts to ensure you have the correct admin / PA model for your specific needs

  • Service providers, like SmartPA, offer tailored solutions based on industry-specific knowledge and comprehensive assessments. They recommend best practices and provide continuous monitoring and feedback, ensuring administrative functions align with organisational goals and adapt to evolving business needs.


2. Automation Tools:

Implementing software solutions for scheduling, email management, and report generation can significantly reduce the time leaders spend on these tasks. Automation tools increase efficiency in handling routine tasks, allowing for more streamlined operations, while these tools provide real-time data analysis and decision-making support, enabling leaders to make informed decisions more quickly and effectively.


3. Delegation:

Hiring admin assistants or forming support teams to handle routine tasks can free up leaders' time for more critical activities. By delegating these tasks, leaders can focus on strategic goals and innovation, whilst better task management and workflow efficiency are achieved, leading to a more organised and productive work environment.


4. Process Optimisation:

Streamlining workflows and eliminating redundant processes can enhance overall organisational efficiency. Process optimisation reduces bottlenecks and facilitates faster decision-making, and improved productivity across teams results from a more efficient and effective operational structure, allowing the organisation to respond quickly to market changes and opportunities.



The true value of a leader’s time goes beyond their hourly rate, by reducing the time spent on admin tasks, organisations can unlock significant financial gains and strategic advantages.

In a competitive market, where the ability to make quick and effective decisions is crucial, freeing up leaders to focus on high-impact activities can be a game-changer for sustained growth and success.


About SmartPA

SmartPA leads the transformation of admin and business support services through technology and education, while our mission is to unleash potential by supporting young people and women to become business role models for future generations. Powered by a global team of passionate and accredited SmartPAs, we accelerate the success of over 5,000 businesses worldwide, delivering impactful outsourced support that allows organisations to focus on what they do best. With a Centre of Excellence in the UK, near shore hubs in South Africa and Uganda, and an offshore hub in Malaysia, we are dedicated to making a difference.

Find out more

Click here to find out more about how partnering with SmartPA can help your organisation improve profitability and resilience by outsourcing non-core business support or administration services to SmartPA. Alternatively, contact us directly to discuss your requirements.


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