With almost 5 million self-employed people in the UK, 64% of British businesses admit to relying on freelancers1. Despite this, many companies still do not have a comprehensive strategy to manage and organise their contingent workers. 

Manually managing freelancers can only get you so far — even if your team grows from 2 to 10 freelancers, you would start noticing the time and effort it takes. For instance, you’d have to:

- Arrange relevant documents, contracts and NDAs for each
- Devote time to onboarding and training them for each system you use
- Manually update their details on a spreadsheet
- Coordinate with them individually over various platforms
- Process individual payments

This is when you probably start looking for more sustainable ways of handling freelancers. You may already be familiar with Freelancer Management Systems (FMS), and how they help manage people, projects and payments. But switching to a new system can seem complex and overwhelming. You have to weigh the time, effort and cost required to set it up against the ROI it will bring you, and consider the risk of potential data loss or system incompatibility.

Let us go through each of these considerations in detail.

1) Minimal setup time with a Freelancer Management System

Switching to a new system need not always involve lengthy downtime and intense effort by your operations team. The process of setting up TalentDesk.io, for instance, is so simple, it takes less than an hour. You don’t need to have multiple IT and operations personnel devoted to it either. We assign a dedicated account manager who guides you through the entire set-up process over a screen-share call.

Now weigh this against the benefits you reap over time. An FMS like TalentDesk.io lets you filter freelancers based on their experience, skill, ratings and the amount they charge. It also lets you view the talent available on PeoplePerHour’s freelancer pool of 1.5 million. This makes it easy for your managers to choose the right person for a new project, without having to spend hours on preliminary discussions with various freelancers first.

The platform also offers a centralised view of all your projects and deadlines, making it easy for your managers to assign and coordinate tasks. Moreover, the FMS helps you automate payments by collating all approved worksheets, and generating just a single invoice for you.

Even if you work with just 10 freelancers a month, you could save up to 70% in invoice processing costs. These time and cost benefits compound over time, giving you a fantastic ROI on the hour you spend setting it up.

2) Intuitive and user-friendly

Another valid concern about embracing a new platform is the amount of time and training it will take to get your staff up to speed. Even a couple of hours spent per person adds up fast, if you have to train each new employee or freelancer who joins your team.

With an intuitive FMS like TalentDesk.io, the time you spend on training your staff is very limited. The user-friendly interface ensures that your team needs no special guidance to navigate the platform. Your dedicated account manager is always on standby, ready to walk your team through the process if needed. Onboarding new freelancers too, is a simple task — all you need to do is create a set of onboarding questions, based on your company’s requirements. The new freelancers simply fill these out, and they’re good to go. 

3) Easy integration of systems

If your firm has been operating for a few years now, you may already have a few tools and systems in place — a preferred document storage platform to share information, a Project Management tool to keep track of your project data, and a database that stores all your freelancers’ details. You might think twice before switching to an FMS (no matter what the benefits), if it means having to replicate all that data you’ve accumulated through the years.

TalentDesk.io makes this transition easy for you. It supports most document storage platforms like OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive, so your team doesn’t have to completely change the way they work. While our platform has inbuilt Project Management capabilities, if you already use a tool that has a lot of data on it, we can help you integrate that too. Your finance department can also be added to the system, so they receive the comprehensive invoice directly. This effectively helps you bring all systems and capabilities in one place, and lets your team function with minimum disruption.

4) Security & Data Compliance 

No company today can afford to slip up on security and data compliance. As per GDPR guidelines, a strict protocol needs to be followed while collecting and storing personal data pertaining to the individuals you work with. This data needs to be securely stored, and regulations need to be put in place to ensure it cannot be misused. In preparation for IR35, you also need to have contracts and documentation that clearly define the status of your contingent workers and the nature of work they do.

With an FMS, you can rest assured on the compliance front. Every detail about your freelancers, including their personal data, sensitive payment information and all the contracts and NDAs they have signed, are stored securely, in one location. No unauthorised person or entity has access to this information — the only people who will be able to view this, are the managers in your organisation whom you personally add to the platform. Every invoice raised leaves behind a clear audit trail, reducing the risk of security breaches.

Adopting a brand new system is never an easy decision. But when you opt for an agile platform that almost functions like a plug-and-play solution, the process becomes way more simple, straightforward and hassle-free than you initially thought it would be.