As technology and the workforce transition and develop, it’s more important than ever to automate processes and streamline workflows.
When you automate your freelancer onboarding workflow, you’ll save time and money, start projects faster, and easily stay compliant with independent contractor rules and regulations. Without automation, onboarding freelancers can be a tedious, repetitive, administrative headache. Jing Gao of Fly By Jing found that switching to an automated workflow saves her dozens of hours each month. On average, people spend 10-20% of their time at work on repetitive tasks that can be automated.
Here are five reasons to streamline the onboarding process with automation:
1. Get the details straight.
When onboarding a new freelancer, it’s essential to get the details straight right from the get-go, including everything from the SOW (Scope of Work) to their contact information. While this may seem like an obvious first step, the more your freelancer network grows, the easier it is for these details to get lost or fall through the cracks, which not only creates administrative headaches but potential compliance risks for your company.
Freelance Management Systems (FMS) automate collecting these contact details, ensuring you receive all the information you need and store the details in one place for easy access. Liquid’s automated onboarding process collects W-9 forms from your freelancers, essential for filling 1099 forms. Your freelancers can easily update their contact info, website, resume, and availability within their dashboard.
2. Automated onboarding streamlines contract signing.
A fully executed independent contractor agreement protects both businesses and freelancers and is essential to maintaining a professional relationship and preventing costly misunderstandings. Creating and executing contracts, non-disclosure agreements (NDA), confidentiality agreements (CA), can take hours (or more) if you are developing these documents freelancer by freelancer. Plus, there’s also more potential for errors and lost documents.
When you automate your onboarding process with an FMS, you can set up standardized contracts and other agreements that freelancers must complete and sign before being able to work. Work with many different types of freelancers? You can create custom onboarding packages specific to the types of freelancers you hire, such as a Content Writer, Developer, Graphic Designer, etc. since each of these roles may require different contracts or documentation.
Standardizing your onboarding documentation helps avoid risks, saves you time, and gets projects started faster.
3. Simplify project management.
When creating SOWs for your projects, make sure to break down each project into multiple deliverables and/or tasks. Using an FMS or a project management system, you can use these details to easily track and monitor the status of each project, with automated notifications and reports. With multiple freelancers, utilizing one system to record, monitor, and report on all your projects saves you time – plus makes it easy to keep tabs on all the deadlines. You can also easily replicate details for similar projects.
Your freelancers also benefit from simplified and automated project management. All the project details are at their fingertips, with easy document sharing and communication of project status.
4. Standardize your offline processes for onboarding freelancers.
Want to help your freelancer get started more quickly? Prepare a welcome packet that not only has any project-specific material, but also information about your company. For example, you could include an overview of the company and its goals, brand guidelines, team structure, or how to set up access for any software or file-sharing systems the freelancer will need. A standard template for your packet can help you easily switch in and out content as it is relevant for the particular project and freelancer.
Communication is critical when working with any new employee but especially when working with a remote freelancer; having standardized processes for onboarding helps to ensure your relationship gets off on the right foot.
5. Streamline your invoice processing workflow.
Everyone wants to get paid (and preferably on time)! When onboarding a new freelancer, discuss how and when they’ll get paid. Will you pay bi-monthly, monthly, or when the projects finish? Will you pay a percentage upfront or in full upon completion? Who will be in charge of approving the invoice for each contractor? What payment method will be used?
Managing freelancer payments can be a major pain point for your accounting department when handled manually, requiring hours of work each month to validate, approve, and authorize payment. Manually processing invoices can cost companies up to $50 per invoice. The probability of errors, late payments, and duplicate payments increases. Plus, financial forecasting can also be impacted when your business doesn’t have comprehensive and accurate tracking of all of its freelancer activity.
An FMS can help you streamline and automate your invoice processing and payments, with invoice approval workflows, verification of invoices against SOWs, notifications, and automated reporting. Accounting teams can save many hours each month — plus have better financial reporting and fewer errors — when you capture and set up all these financial details upfront with your onboarding workflow.
More and more companies are relying on freelancers to move their business forward – which means we all need to develop new processes to manage our liquid workforce. Your company has processes and systems for onboarding employees – now it’s time to do the same for your liquid workers.
Download this guide that breaks down the components of an independent contractor agreement and serves as a handy guide when reviewing your agreements.