Are back-office demands the biggest threat to your startup business?

Business Plan | Office | Back-Office

If you’re relatively new to the recruitment industry, the Small Business Association statistic that 50% of companies fail within their first five years will no doubt weigh heavily on your mind. But all too often, the threat of failure comes not from external factors, but from critical problems within the back-office of your recruitment agency.

When back-office gets in the way of business development

Startups need to run a lean operation to keep overheads to a minimum, and this can make it hard to balance business development activities with your back-office operation. It’s particularly challenging for new recruitment businesses, because our industry is very admin-heavy. To secure clients you need contractors, but this workforce comes with a swathe of paperwork and payment chasing – all of which eats into your time.

For many new recruitment agencies, the demands of back-office can be fatal. The process of manually checking timesheets and expense claims, making sure they are consistently formatted, and pairing them with invoices can take many, many hours every single week. And that’s before you’ve wasted time chasing up missing documents, or nudging clients that haven’t settled their invoice by the requested deadline.

Taking tech from big recruitment agencies, and giving it to startups

Traditionally, startup agencies have had little solution to this back-office problem – other than growing your company until you can afford additional members of staff to share the burden. Technologies that standardise and automate operational processes have been complex and expensive, meaning they are only affordable to major international recruitment companies.

However, the recruitment tech industry is realising that growing agencies are struggling with the same issues as big businesses and creating versions of their software that are accessible to startups.

These tools offer the same functionality as their sister solutions, but at a fraction of their price tag. Not only that, they are set-up to be used by entrepreneurs with little technical expertise, with support systems in place should you require training or assistance.

Focus on business development – and let the back-office take care of itself

With new back-office management technologies arriving on the startup market, new recruitment agencies now have a unique opportunity to make timesheets less time consuming, and payments less painful.

By automating these all-consuming but essential admin tasks, your business will have more time to focus on value-add activities – which will help your business to grow and thrive, where others without the support of technology may flounder.

By Guest Contributor
Nick Woodward

Nick Woodward is Founder and Executive Chairman at recruitment tech specialist ETZ, which recently launched Startup 20/20, back-office software for startup recruitment agencies. For further advice call him on 0800 311 2266 or email ETZ at

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