Insight

What is a Freelance Management System? The benefits of a FMS

As your organization engages more freelancers, you may find that your existing processes for hiring, onboarding, invoicing, and payments start to consume more of your teams’ time, and pose more of a risk when it comes to keeping compliant with regulations.

Managing a growing freelance workforce can be challenging – which is why many companies choose to implement a Freelance Management System (FMS). 

Using a Freelance Management System such as Worksuite can streamline the hiring and management of independent contractors, and help your organization overcome many of the problems associated with scaling your freelance talent pool.

Let’s take a look at how an FMS works, and the top benefits of using an FMS when you work with independent contractors.

What is a Freelance Management System (FMS)?

A Freelance Management System (FMS) is a cloud-based solution that enables companies to manage their freelance and contingent workforce efficiently. 

It is an all-in-one platform that takes care of everything from sourcing talent, to onboarding, to project management, invoicing, payment, tax requirements, reporting, and more.

Having robust systems in place is essential when you’re working with independent contractors, as the processes for hiring, onboarding, and payment is different from the processes you use for your in-house employees.

Implementing an FMS solution in your organization can streamline every step of your contractor engagements – saving you valuable time and money, and giving you the freedom to scale easily as your freelance workforce expands.

How does a Freelance Management System work?

An FMS is a centralized technology platform that lets you manage your independent contractors and their projects.

Using a flexible, customizable FMS like Worksuite enables your various departments and teams to handle everything from hiring talent and assigning projects, right through to payment and reporting.

Having a robust FMS in places means you can easily:

  • Find the top talent for every project
  • Onboard new freelancers
  • Create specific talent pools
  • Assign projects
  • Manage every freelance project from start to finish
  • Process freelancer invoices
  • Pay your freelancers
  • Store freelancer information in a centralized, searchable database
  • Generate tax forms
  • Create expense reports
  • Keep compliant
  • Integrate with apps you already use

Freelance Management Systems are designed to be customized to the specific needs of your company – whether you’re working with 10 freelancers, or 10,000. 

They’re also designed to be incredibly user-friendly – even for the less tech-savvy people in your teams. 

A good FMS provider will help you implement their platform, adapt it for the way you work, integrate it with the tools you already use, and ensure your users get personalized training. This ensures rapid adoption of the new FMS technology across your organization.

What problems does a Freelance Management System solve?

A Freelance Management System helps you to eliminate many of the various challenges that come with a using a freelance talent pool, such as:

  • Struggling to find the best talent for every assignment
  • Limited transparency into whether a freelancer is available at any given time
  • Slow onboarding processes
  • Time-consuming invoicing and payment systems
  • Uncertainty about compliance with tax and legal regulations

As your company grows and expands its freelance network, your old ways of managing your independent contractors won’t be enough. 

If your current processes are manual, or scattered across spreadsheets and emails, there is a risk of non-compliance with tax and employment laws, which can result in heavy penalties for your organization if you get audited.

An FMS solves all of these problems and more, making it easier to scale your freelance talent pool.

12 benefits of using a Freelance Management System

Whether you’re a small, fast growing startup or a large enterprise company that works with hundreds of freelancers, there are many benefits of implementing a Freelance Management System.

1. Save time and increase team productivity

Many companies don’t have standardized, robust processes in place for managing their freelance network – or they’re working with software solutions that don’t completely solve the challenges posed by hiring independent contractors.

By switching to an all-in-one solution like Worksuite’s FMS, teams can work faster and more efficiently, saving valuable time every week that would otherwise be spent writing and sorting through endless email threads, raising timesheets, processing manual payments, and tackling compliance documentation.

With an FMS, many of these tasks can be fully automated – meaning people can focus more on growing their business, and less on wrangling emails and paperwork.

2. Source and hire the best talent

One of the major problems team managers regularly face is finding the top talent for each project, and then gauging the availability of those freelancers.

Companies are often reliant on spreadsheets to store freelancer details, and there’s no way to tell who’s available or who’s already working on another assignment.

With an FMS, your managers can easily create searchable talent pools from their centralized freelancer database. This enables them to search freelancer profiles and availability with a few clicks. 

Advanced search features also enable managers to filter talent based on location, skills, pricing, reviews from previous assignments, and more.

By reducing time spent on a manual talent selection process, plus eliminating the back and forth of emails trying to find out who’s available at the right time – top talent can be sourced and hired in hours, instead of days.

3. Standardize your onboarding process

Every organization has a different process for bringing new talent on board. This onboarding process might include things like:

  • Background checks
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Contracts
  • Freelancer indemnity insurance
  • Previous work history

In addition to these things, companies have to ensure they have the correct personal details, bank details, and tax details for every freelancer. 

If your company is hiring fast – it’s all too easy for many of these details to get overlooked during onboarding, causing potential security and compliance risks.

Using an FMS means your onboarding is customized and streamlined for your needs – and freelancers can ensure they’ve provided everything your company needs to complete the onboarding procedure.

4. Organize your freelancers

An FMS provides a central database to store all the necessary information about your individual freelancers. 

Within the database, different talent pools and categories of freelancers can be easily created – enabling your teams and managers to find the right freelancers for the right projects, and communicate with them easily inside the FMS platform.

5. Standardize freelancer payments

Paying freelancers on time is key to building a strong relationship with them. With manual payments, invoices can get lost or overlooked, and bank details might be entered incorrectly. 

This is the recipe for unhappy freelancers, and can give your organization a bad reputation within the contractor community as an unreliable payer.

An FMS enables you to standardize and automate invoicing and payments for your contractors. 

This means individual and bulk payments can be made with a few clicks, and it eliminates the risk of incorrect bank details being used. The result? Happy freelancers!

6. Streamline project management

Project assignment and management all happen with the Freelance Management System platform. 

This gives your freelancers and managers complete transparency about every project from start to finish, and ensures projects are always on track and on budget.

7. Integrate with tools you already use

A good FMS should integrate smoothly with the tools that you already use. This ensures faster adoption of the new FMS technology, and it causes minimal disruption at implementation time.

Worksuite’s FMS integrations include leading tools such as:

  • Google Sheets
  • Xero
  • Quickbooks
  • PipeDrive
  • Basecamp
  • Slack
  • Asana
  • Salesforce

8. Greater control and transparency

Using an FMS gives you greater visibility into your freelance network. 

With user permissions, advanced search functions and filters, and a detailed database of individual freelancer profiles and portfolios – teams and managers are able to make faster decisions about contractors, and save hours of time every week.

9. Ongoing compliance

It can be tough to ensure complete compliance when you work with a large pool of freelancers. Legislation is always changing, and if you’re hiring freelancers overseas it can be even trickier to keep up with international rules and regulations around privacy, employment, and tax laws.

With an FMS like Worksuite, freelancers are onboarded in a standardized way, meaning there is total peace of mind that every individual contractor is fully compliant with the necessary tax and employment rules before they begin a project.

10. Improved freelancer relationships

The key to finding and keeping top freelance talent is to treat your freelancers well. This means treating them as you would an employee, paying them on time, and respecting them as professional individuals.

When you use an FMS, communication, project management, onboarding, and rapid payment make it a smooth, enjoyable process for freelancers to work with you – meaning you can build a positive, long lasting relationship with them.

11. Better budget forecasting

Worksuite’s FMS allows you to get better insights into your freelancer management. This enables you to get a clearer picture of:

  • Time to hire
  • Cost per hire
  • Freelancer spend
  • Budget reports
  • Spend reports

With in-depth reporting, it’s easy to make more accurate predictions about future spending and hiring.

12. Flexible and scalable

A good FMS should work for your company in the present, and have plenty of room to scale alongside you as your freelancer network grows.

Worksuite’s FMS is able to be customized to fit your specific needs today, while giving you the flexibility to expand in the future.

How your organization can benefit from using a Freelance Management System

If your company regularly works with freelancers, and is planning to hire more in the future, an FMS will have multiple benefits across your departments.

Freelance Management Systems can help your employees in many different areas to streamline the way they work with your contractors:

  • Marketing and PR – can speed up the onboarding process, quickly source talent, and hire the right people faster.
  • HR – can create and store contracts and tax documentation
  • Legal – can ensure ongoing compliance for all contractors
  • Managers – can build a database of top talent, streamline workflows, assign projects, and track project spend
  • Operations – can manage projects and track timelines and deliverables
  • Accounts – can easily get W9s and simplify invoicing, payments, and 1099 processes
  • Executives – can run reporting and get in-depth insights around budget spend and future forecasting

A Freelance Management System has applications across your entire team, making everyone’s job more streamlined – and less stressful.

In Summary 

Using a Freelance Management System means you can easily source, onboard, manage, and pay your freelancers in one centralized place. 

An FMS takes the stress out of every aspect of working with a growing freelancer network, and ensures the information you need is always at your fingertips.

The freelance gig economy continues to grow globally, which means many previously employed workers are now independent contractors. If your company is looking to hire more top freelance talent as it becomes available – spreadsheets, emails, and outdated technology won’t be enough. These methods aren’t sustainable or scalable, and can put you at risk of expensive non-compliance issues.

With an FMS, your company has the ability to remain agile, hire freelancers at scale, and increase productivity and efficiency across all teams. And most importantly – an FMS will help you develop positive, long-lasting relationships with your top freelance talent.

Author,
Aaron Anderson

To learn more about how Worksuite’s Freelance Management System can streamline hiring, management, invoicing, and payment for your freelance workforce, talk with one of our experts today.

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