The number of freelancers and independent workers in the U.S. workforce has exploded over the past 15 years, and this shift represents a fundamental change to the way business gets done. Before freelancers were as widespread as they are now, businesses didn’t need dedicated platforms to track and manage all the freelancers they worked with. With the new “blended” workforce, however, they do. Spreadsheets and email just don’t cut it as the number of freelancers scales.
The rise of the freelance workforce has given rise to a new category of software—Freelance Management Systems (FMS). A Freelance Management System is a cloud-based solution that helps companies manage their freelance workforce. It streamlines the employer-freelancer relationship from end-to-end. According to Gartner, FMS’s are on the upswing of the “Hype Cycle” and will hit the mainstream in five to ten years. A FMS is a key step towards streamlining the freelance workflow to improve efficiency and productivity, maintaining compliance, and creating a positive working experience for managers, employees, and freelancers alike.
Who needs an FMS?
Any business—from publishing to technology—that manages between 100 and 10,000 freelance workers. Multiple teams within an organization can improve their operations, as well as cross-team collaboration, by implementing a FMS. For instance, Creative/Marketing/Editorial teams use FMS’s to find and onboard freelancers, while the finance team can store freelancer invoices, tax documentation (W-9) and make payments.
Without defined standards and processes in place, the administrative overhead for freelancers gets burdensome and creatives, as well as back office employees, spend way too much time dealing with outside talent. This is a waste of resources, but a FMS can help by transforming the way employers and freelancers work together.
What to consider when buying an FMS.
When choosing a FMS, look for a solution that offers: simple, fast and flexible onboarding; profiles, scheduling, and budgeting tools; platform integrations; invoicing and payments; and worker review and sharing. Also keep factors, like compliance needs, in mind.
As your business ramps up its freelance workforce, implementing a FMS can offer a wide range of benefits, from reducing administrative and IT overhead to streamlining creative workflows and boosting productivity.