It is estimated that the self-employed market contributes £275 billion to the UK economy. Freelancers and contractors play a vital role in helping businesses to deliver their product or service, with many companies choosing to hire from a pool of talented freelancers rather than take on permanent employees.
Running a company with a core, lean team and then bringing in freelancers offers some clear advantages such as the flexibility to scale the workforce up and down easily across busy and quieter periods, as well as selecting freelancers based on their experience and expertise, allowing for highly skilled hires as and when required.
The self-employed scene today
The Office of National Statistics reports that the number of self-employed workers has increased from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017. This growing ‘gig economy’ represents a significant shift in the structure of the workforce, however, what businesses are also telling us is that alongside the benefits there are some challenges.
The red tape and the issue of compliance with the ever-changing legislative landscape is proving to be a real headache as well as the amount time required to manage freelance contracts by the internal team.
Pick the right tools…
Carefully managing freelance contracts can be achieved by picking the right tools – online management services like Flime.com can streamline the process, meaning businesses have time to concentrate on what they do best – focus on driving their growth, profits and market share.
Here’s how you could help streamline the management of your freelance contracts with the use of an online management system.
1. Save time
The various steps required for onboarding a new freelancer may not seem significant, but they can be time taking for both the employer and the freelancers. Simple issues such as not having the right details in the contract, scanning or taking a photo of identification, finding and storing social security numbers and filling in your bank account details may be repeated every time a new contract starts.
Instead, with an automated service, inbuilt functions result in no repetition and without employers or freelancers giving the process a second thought. In addition, onboarding can be done before the first working day. Freelancers have all the necessary steps completed in advance and can start working on the projects for the time they are paid for.
2. Agree and implement a unified approach to working with freelancers
By adopting a unified approach across the company, employees have clear guidance on how to onboard new freelancers, pay them for their services and keep all paperwork centralised. It is also worth implementing a clear briefing system to get the most out of your freelancer’s time.
Cash flows can also become a headache as you have to decide on how much to pay freelancers then allocate the money. There can be scenarios involving refunds and paybacks which can get difficult to manage.
A well-considered brief with objectives, timeframes, budgets and expectations will reduce the back and forth at the start of a project and should provide solid background detail to give your freelancer a clear scope of what is expected. Creating template briefing documents and outlining processes will save time in the long run.
3. Comply with data security requirements
Since the introduction of GDPR, many larger companies have employed a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to write policies, conduct audits and manage how data is handled. For smaller companies, hiring a DPO may not be feasible and the responsibility is shared among employees, but this takes them away from their day to day work.
A freelance management system that takes care of GDPR as part of its core business means that companies no longer have to worry about being compliant or dedicate time and money to the process such as data capture and protection. This saves designated DPO employees’ efforts from making sure that all the data is securely contained and regulated within the company.
4. Save money
Using a freelance management service creates a centralised company-wide approach to managing and hiring freelancers. This allows companies to track exactly how much is being spent and on what, resulting in more accurate evaluation of budget spent on freelancers. Cash flows can also become a headache as you have to decide on how much to pay freelancers then allocate the money. There can be scenarios involving refunds and paybacks which can get difficult to manage.
What I do in my own company…
With Flime, companies add the funds they have decided to spend onto the platform directly and once they have approved the work handed in by the freelancer, they can send the money with just one-click. Paying at scale is also possible via API, this can save a lot of effort to finance department employees.
Savings can be significant when you deploy automation software for a business and return on investment can be rapid. Numbers, of course, will vary with each situation, but well-thought-out automation is one of the smartest ways to increase productivity and lower costs.
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