Accounting teams like structure, planning, and continuity. They are the company’s financial gatekeepers. It’s their job to track financial information such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and financial reporting, to name a few.
Given this, it makes sense that this department likely poses the biggest hurdle to your dream of on-boarding a freelancer. The thought of unknown budgets, project costs spiraling out of control, and random invoices gives any serious accountant pause.
With a little planning and budgeting, you can help set their collective minds at ease. Here are a few ways to convince a skeptical accounting team of the value of hiring a freelancer, as well as how to plan a freelance budget for all stages of the project:
Save Money in the Long Run
Although they often charge more per hour than a full-time employee, freelancers end up saving the company money in the long run. That’s because freelancers don’t incur employee benefits or insurance compensation. This saves the company an average of $34.05 per hour or approximately 30% of an employee’s salary.
Freelancers offer tremendous skills in specific areas. This allows them to get right to work with no additional training. By bringing in a person who already possesses the necessary skills to do the job, freelancers cut down on the time necessary to complete the work. Put another way, the freelancer works more efficiently, thereby saving the company money.
Working with freelancers gives the company more flexibility to adapt to the natural highs and lows of yearly business cycles. Businesses can bring on additional labor in the form of freelancers during peak sales periods, and retire their projects or cut back on their hours during slow periods or economic downturns. This flexibility is yet another freelancer competitive advantage.
Budgeting for All Stages of the Project
Presenting a well-thought-out budget to your accounting department increases their likelihood of accepting a freelancer into the company’s fold. Here are a few tips to laying out a project budget for hiring a freelancer:
Project Planning & Initiation
The first phase of any project is initiation and planning.
During this phase, you will solidify the scope of the project and develop the project plan. If you’re planning to outsource some tasks to a freelancer, it helps to get a few quotes from prospective individuals. This helps you to estimate the cost and be better prepared to operate within the proposed budget. It’s also wise to draft a formal contract to serve as an agreement between the company and the freelancer.
Here you will develop and complete all the project’s deliverables. During this phase, you’ll want to track your freelancer’s deliverables with regular status updates. It’s helpful to ask your freelancer to produce smaller deliverables throughout the project, rather than one large submission at the end.
This helps maintain project timelines and fleshes out issues early on, allowing you to deal with them before they wreak havoc on your budget.
At the end of the project, freelancers are usually paid in full and terminated. Many individuals are wary of hiring freelancers for fear the end product will be insufficient and they will have no recourse to fix it. At this phase, you can review the contract to compare the agreed upon service against the outcome.
It’s a good idea to have clauses for revisions and how you will handle any quality issues. This helps keep your budget from spiraling out of control due to poor quality work. Ultimately, the goal is to get what you paid for by drafting a contract that ensures it.
Realize the Benefits of Hiring a Freelancer
For some, hiring nontraditional employees like freelancers can be uncomfortable at first, especially for those who work in the accounting department. If you do your homework and planning on the front-end, the value of hiring a freelancer for project work is undeniable. With your help, others within your organization can realize the value, too.