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Top 5 Questions About Freelancers and Remote Workers: Answered

by Kristina McMenamin, on Nov 12, 2018

Freelancers & Remote Employees

Freelancers are able to start contributing 40% faster than a permanent hire. It takes an average of 75 days to recruit and hire non-executive positions in the finance & accounting industry. We can match you to a freelancer with your industry and tech experience in less than 48 hours.

Even with such compelling statistics, there is still a lot of uncertainty around working with remote freelancers.

We took the top 5 questions and concerns we get from clients about freelancers and remote workers and answered them here!

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  1. Does remote mean 'heavy ramp-up'?
    Depending on whether you’re using a virtual bookkeeper, accountant, financial analyst (FP&A), or fractional CFO, the ramp up process can look a bit different. What's consistent is the quality of talent and the specificity of the match—by industry, need, and experience—you'll get with Paro.

    Because of this, onboarding the freelancer is simple. Once you provide your expert with the agreed upon information, data, and access, they can get started.

    This is often the number one thing that holds up projects, so to make sure your freelancer has everything they need, ask them to provide you a list (most will provide this on the kickoff call) and give them a commitment by when you'll send them the necessary information. 

    For more information on how the ramp-up process looks like for specific service lines, check out our series of articles on this topic:

    How long does it take to ramp up a remote controller?
    How long does it take to ramp up a Paro FP&A?
    How long does it take to ramp up a Paro bookkeeper

  2. What happens if my freelancer goes on vacation, is sick, doesn’t get back to me, etc.?

    This is all about expectation setting on both the client and freelancer side. Just like with full time employees. It’s really hard for people to read each others’ minds, and every client has different expectations, communication preferences and cadences. We recommend having an open and direct conversation the very first meeting you have with your freelancer. If it’s important for you to have a heads up when they’ll be on vacation, what hours they’re working each week, or to speak directly once a week or twice a month, tell them!

    But also keep in mind that many of these experts left corporate life to have more flexibility, so often, their schedules change day-to-day. Thus, it can be helpful to come up with guidelines for both parties to follow, such as “We agree to respond to emails within 24 hours and texts the same day. If something is marked urgent, we will acknowledge receipt of the communication and a plan to respond more fully within 5 hours.” Etc.

    And, don’t forget to talk through the how. Are you communicating via email, Slack, text, phone, Trello? If there are specific tools you want to use, communicate the easiest method to chat. At Paro, for example, we use freelancers for many different projects and give them access to our Slack so we can communicate with them as easily as anyone on the team and in real time. It removes barriers and helps get small questions answered quickly. And it feels like a conversation with a person rather than another to-do to check off the tasklist (the way an email can feel).

    Finally, if your freelancer isn’t meeting your communication expectations, let them know! All their clients are different so they may have success working one way with one client, but that MO isn’t working with you. It’s only through consistent feedback that they will learn to work with you best. And, be open to their feedback too. They may have ideas for more efficient processes and communications; listening goes along way to building trust on both sides.

  3. How do I know the freelancer is doing the work?
    This again comes down to communication and expectation-setting. What did you agree with the freelancer? That they would update you weekly? Monthly? At the conclusion of a major milestone?

    Our Account Managers have heard frustrated feedback from clients when they haven’t heard from their freelancer for weeks; meanwhile the freelancer has been working diligently for weeks on the project and is surprised when the client is frustrated. The freelancer didn’t want to bother the client as they chipped away at the project, but the client wanted progress reports.

    So, what went wrong? They hadn’t established a communication cadence or specific touchpoints. The freelancer was doing the work but the client didn’t know.

    Paro's platform offers an easy one-stop-shop to view the agreed upon deliverables and your freelance team's progress in real time. 

  4. How do I know I can trust this person?
    The experts in Paro’s network are the highest quality finance and accounting professionals available. We truly believe our talent is our unfair advantage.

    We conduct hours of due diligence vetting applicants for their skills, communication style, and ability to execute a project in a timely fashion (more on how we vet our finance talent here). We accept only 2% of freelancers who apply and our algorithm matches you to the best people for your specific project so you don’t have to spend hours of your time interviewing. If you trust our process, we think you’ll also trust the people.

    But like my dad always says: trust, but verify. So, give Paro a shot! We have thousands of clients who trust Paro freelancers with their finances.

  5. We are building an amazing office culture; won’t having someone remote impact that?
    What we would say is that culture is created by the people, not the place.

    And here’s the thing: culture means nothing if your employees are burnt out. The fact is that burnout is responsible for 20-50% of the annual workforce turnover in the general workforce. In the finance industry, the effect of burnout is greater and far more pervasive than other industries; workplace stress and burnout has actually caused 42% of respondents in a recent study in the finance industry to consider resigning and 40% to seek new jobs elsewhere.

    Hiring remote, virtual, freelance talent to support your team with day-to-day tasks or to take on projects you’d have to stretch the team’s bandwidth to tackle, or extra arms and legs for certain times of the year when you know things get busy… that’s protecting your team from burnout. Hiring remote is helping you manage time and resources. Hiring freelance is mitigating attrition. Hiring virtual is giving your team balance.

    And that’s creating a great culture.

    For more info on how to Create the Optimal Remote Work Setting, read this article by our CEO in the American Management Association playbook. 

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Topics:FAQs