Freelancers come with very different benefits than full time employees. They help keep your business more agile so you can easily scale your workforce up or down and ensure you can always have the precise skill set you need for any given project. And, as more and more companies start to understand this, many of them don’t have the right reporting and tools in place to manage their freelancers.
You know you can’t manage your freelancers the same way you manage your FTEs, so you default to trying to manage the freelancers individually. The problem with this isn’t just the lack of scalability. It also doesn’t allow you to optimize your spend, processes, or your freelance workforce as a whole. And wasn’t the whole point of moving to a flexible workforce that you’d be able to make optimizations on the fly?
If you don’t know where to start, putting a freelance strategy into place here can seem really daunting. But once you know where to start and what to look for, it can be surprisingly simple. There are 4 big areas that you want to keep an eye on and, depending on your current process, you might need better tools or reporting to give you easy visibility into these aspects. Once you have a system in place where this information is easy for your teams to find and monitor, you’ll finally have the agile workforce that can help you be ready for anything that comes your way.
Monitoring your freelancer spend
As the global spend on freelancers continues to increase each year, it’s really challenging to manage — let alone optimize — your freelancer program if you’re not sure how much you’re spending and where you’re spending. Without a centralized view into freelancer spend, you’ll never be able to make optimizations or improvements to your workforce that could end up really affecting your bottom line. But once it’s easy to see exactly where you’re currently spending, you can look at the future and be more strategic about your resource planning, instead of just being reactive.
And if your teams are tracking their freelancer spend separately, they might be wasting a lot of time going back and forth with your finance department to make sure everyone is on the same page about spend, room in their freelancer budget, and more. Time is money, and the more time your teams are wasting reconciling information that could be housed in one centralized location, the more money you’re losing.
Keeping contracts up to date
Anyone who works with contracts knows that not properly tracking them can get really messy really fast. Do you know how many contracts you’re creating each month for new freelancers? Can you easily see which freelancer contracts are active and which ones have already ended?
Without an easy way to monitor who is actively working with your business at any given time, you might be wasting money on equipment or access for freelancers who aren’t even working for your business anymore. And with a more organized look at which contracts are active at any given time it also helps you be more strategic about resource planning.
It’s easier to look at what your upcoming freelancer needs will be and how to best fill them when you’re not scrambling to understand what your current situation looks like. You’re able to spot trends at a larger organizational level around when you’ve used the most freelancers in previous years and plan for it in advance, instead of trying to play catch up and onboard freelancers once you realize you’re in need of them.
And with a more accurate understanding of which freelancers are doing what at any given time, you can even consolidate projects with your best freelancers. Instead of giving a few smaller projects to three different freelancers, you could give them all to the freelancer who does the best work. This can minimize contracts and get you better work in the process.
No more billing headaches
It may not be the most exciting topic, but billing and payments consistently come up as one of freelance worker’s biggest complaints. And for the companies that hire them, billing involves back and forth with their freelancers when payments are outstanding, and near constant back and forth between your internal teams to figure out who has been paid and when. This back and forth costs your company time and money, in addition to being a pretty avoidable frustration for everyone involved.
Your finance teams probably feel this pain the most if they’re spending all of their time making sure their reporting for freelancer billing is all reconciled correctly and everything matches up. The better — that is, easier to find and consistent across the board — your view into billing is, the more time, money, and headaches you’re going to eliminate. And with one view of billing for your company, there’s no more back and forth with finance because your different teams can find the information they’re looking for themselves.
Worker classification and compliance
Once you have visibility into your active contracts sorted out, there’s one more big area where contract reporting is key. Especially if you’re managing freelancers in multiple different countries. How easy is it for you to check worker compliance for your freelancers, at any given time?
Many companies treat things like worker classification as an afterthought, once the freelance project has been completed and tax season rolls around. But this can be a big and costly mistake. Sorting it out when a contract is created all of your different teams ensures that you avoid troubles later on. And with worker classification laws gaining traction, chances are the way you’ve considered full time employees and freelancers may be changing where you live. Having easy and accurate access into reporting on this ensures that you can focus on what you need to be focused on, instead of worrying about — or trying to figure out — compliance.
Cleaning up your reporting
If reporting and visibility into these areas is a challenge for your company, you’re not alone. The growth of freelance workforces has accelerated quickly over the past few years and many companies are still trying to catch up.
A freelance management system not only gives your teams an easy look into every aspect of your freelancer management, it also automates things like payments, contracts, and billing so that your teams can focus on strategy and optimization instead of manual tasks. Click here to request a demo and learn more about how Worksome can take your freelance management to the next level.