The number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK is on the up, but more than three quarters (78%) of managers say the business is being held back by admin and red tape, according to virtual PA company, AVirtual.

From payroll to diary management, there are a huge number of tasks that business managers need to handle on a daily basis; even staying on top of email can take up an inordinate amount of time, and it seems that for many these small tasks are keeping them away from the important business of growing their company.

On average, CEOs are spending a whopping 20 hours per week on administrative tasks – that’s the equivalent of 16 full working weeks per year – so it’s hardly surprising that this pulls managers and CEOs away from focusing on the matters that could help their company to flourish. Out of the survey respondents, only ten per cent of CEOs stated that they didn’t view administration as having any impact at all upon the growth of their company.

With the majority (57%) of business owners working more than sixty hours per week, and more than half (51%) of those stating that their working hours were having a detrimental effect on their work-life balance, it seems extraordinary that so few have employed a PA to take care of the chores that are keeping them at their desks for so long.

"The management of resources is always going to be a difficult task as a manager or business owner. We are constantly pulled in a multitude of directions and inevitably, as our survey respondents attested to, end up doing a large amount of administrative work," said AVirtual founder and CEO, Richard Walton.

"It’s easy to think that doing everything yourself is the most cost-effective way to work, but you’re usually underselling yourself and if you’re able to offload the tasks that need to be done, but don’t necessarily need your personal attention, you find that you can get far more from your business."