Businesses face £8.7bn ‘inertia penalty’

SMEs are, on average, overpaying £1,508 a year for business energy, insurance and telecoms – a combined bill of £8.7bn. And they are spending the equivalent of a month sorting out their business admin.

They’re the findings of a new report by Bionic, the business services platform which also discovered that one in three firms have not reviewed their energy, insurance or telecoms in the last year, missing out on potential cost and efficiency savings.

Bionic’s Business Efficiency Index suggests that UK SMEs are significantly overpaying on services such as energy, insurance and telecoms. According to analysis of Bionic’s 200,000 customers, businesses are, on average, overpaying on their energy, insurance and telecoms bills by nearly 40 per cent.

Businesses are paying over the odds at a time when they are already battling rising costs. Since 2011, the cost of taxes, rates and employment costs have spiked 15 per cent – an increase of £60,000 a year, per business. Inevitably, some SMEs are really struggling to pay for their business-critical services. More than a quarter say that it is difficult to meet the costs for their energy, insurance and telecoms.

The admin burden is creating a drag on operations. Two thirds (66%) say their business admin impacts their ability to spend time on other activities, with 8% describing it as “significant”.

Bionic CEO Paul Galligan, said: “The findings paint a picture of Bureaucracy Britain: up and down the country, what should be simple business decisions are eating into SMEs’ time, productivity and resources – they need a break from the bills.

“The good news is that many SMEs have not yet taken the first and easiest steps to trim their spend and cut the faff. Our analysis suggests that SMEs stand to save over £1,500, on average, by getting the best deal for them.

“We believe that the best businesses are driven by clear human decisions, backed up by tech. This research shows that, positively, SMEs have a huge amount of open road when it comes to adopting technology to make their lives easier. Most SMEs are at the very beginning of their tech journey and the scale of the opportunity is huge.”


The findings were based on YouGov poll of 2,010 UK SMEs between September 3 and 20 2019.