What is a Freelance Management System (FMS)?

As companies of all sizes continue to work with more and more freelancers in their day-to-day, a way to organize this talent and standardize onboarding and payments becomes extremely important. A Freelance Management System (FMS) is a cloud-based solution that helps companies manage their freelance workforce. Freelancer Management Systems typically cover; freelancer onboarding, assignments, invoices, and payments. An FMS can also be used to track freelancer tax forms and monitor employment risk. The term Freelance Management System (FMS) is often referred to as Freelancer Management Platform, Freelance Management Solution or Freelance Management Software.

Who needs a freelancer management system?

Typically companies managing between 100 and 10,000 freelance workers need a formal system of record in place to keep track of this workforce. By having an FMS in place, it guarantees visibility and standardization of who your freelancers are, the contract they have signed, their availability, the projects they have worked on, the invoices, and the payments that have been made to them.

Within a company, different departments can use a freelancer management system for different reasons.

  • Creative/Marketing/Editorial Teams - to onboard freelancers, track who they are, tag skills, filter by availability as well as onboard them.

  • Finance - to store freelancer invoices, tax documentation (W-9) and make payments.

  • HR - to store freelancer contracts, NDAs and run background checks.

  • Legal - to monitor the employment status of the freelancer worker.

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How does a freelance management system work?

A freelance management system serves as a dynamic, central cloud based platform to organize all your freelancer related activities. Typical capabilities include:

Within a company, different departments can use a freelancer management system for different reasons.

  • Onboarding freelancers

  • Integrating with E-Signature technology

  • Storing contracts and NDAs

  • Managing freelancer profiles

  • Tracking Assignments

  • Managing invoices

  • Sending payments

  • Storing tax forms

  • Reporting on freelancer spend

The Shifting Landscape of Work

The shifting landscape of work

The composition of the workforce is changing dramatically. Globally, there are approximately 77 million formally identified freelancers in Europe, India, and the United States.

Source - Deloitte 2018 Global Human Capital Trends

Top Benefits of Freelancer Management System

  1. Save Time and Increase Productivity

    By switching from an old, outdated often manual methods to managing your freelancers or replacing a homegrown solution your organization should expect to see an immediate and noticeable increase in efficiency and tangible time savings. Every team that interacts with freelancers, from creative, marketing and editorial- to legal, finance and HR will save significant time.

  2. Standardize and Ensure Compliance

    Without a freelancer management system, freelancers are onboarded through a variety of mediums from email, to phone calls, to storing information in spreadsheets meaning there is no guarantee that freelancers are being onboarded correctly and compliantly or signing a contract. This lack of standardized process exposes companies to legal risk. A freelancer management platform allows for onboarding of freelancers to in a scalable, standardized, and compliant way.

  3. Improve your Relationship with Freelancers

    Just like full-time employees, freelancers expect to be treated well. For companies interested in attracting and retaining the best, most highly skilled freelancers, having a seamless onboarding and fast payment experience is essential to building a lasting, positive relationship with your freelancers. By implementing a freelancer management system, your company can monitor the health of your freelancer population implementing initiatives aimed at increasing NPS score and talent retention.

  4. Gain Visibility and Oversight

    A freelancer management system gives your company total visibility of all the freelancers in your company’s network. A searchable database of freelancers with important information such as contact details, rates, work history, performance history and payment history, enables your company to operate smoother. Including the ability to hire quicker, save money, ensure compliance as well as fill talent gaps around your company.

Key Steps of Implementing a Freelancer Management System

  1. Step 1

    Define your freelancer onboarding requirements

    Every company has a different set of requirements when it comes to freelancer management. Are you performing background checks? Signing a contract or NDA? Do you require the freelancer to have professional liability insurance?

  2. Step 2

    Define your freelancer types and organize them

    Every company stores different information on different types of freelancers. To set started with a freelancer management system, you must define the types of freelancers you are going to onboard into Kalo and the information you want to track on each type, organizing them by location,etc.

  3. Step 3

    Define Freelancer Payments Schedule

    Before having a freelancer management system, freelancer payments might have been sporadic and handled by your finance team. When introducing a freelancer management system, you have the opportunity to standardize how and when you pay freelancers. Is it the end of each month? Three days from invoice approval?

  4. Step 4

    Define Integrations

    Your freelancer management system is your system of record for all your freelancers, and it will integrate into your existing systems. From E-signature tools like DocuSign that ensure freelancer contracts are signed, to ensuring onboarded freelancers are given access to your project management and communication tools like Asana and Slack, to providing your invoices are automatically sent to your AP software for reporting purposes; You must determine which freelancer information you want to flow and to what systems.

  5. Step 5

    Configure Branding and Messaging

    Every company has its unique style and employer brand voice. To get started, you must configure the freelancer sign up experience. What is calling your program? What colors will your app be? Does your messaging to freelancers reflect your brand values? First impressions count.

Build Long Term Freelancer Trust with a Great Onboarding Process.

Freelancer onboarding can often resemble a scene from the Wild Wild West—there are few rules, guidelines, or structures in place to give order to the process, and so chaos reigns.

What is a Freelance Management System?

A Freelance Management System (FMS) helps businesses manage their freelance workforce. Traditionally, companies managed freelancers using a patchwork of spreadsheets, emails, and other tools, like invoicing software

Paying freelancers doesn't have to be so difficult.

Kalo simplifies the way you pay freelancers. You receive all invoices into one simple dashboard, ready for approval, then Kalo pays every freelancer up to 3 days from invoice - guaranteed.


Do I need a Freelancer Management System if I have an HR system already?
Yes. The freelancer workforce is very different than the full-time employee workforce. Their work is assignment based, and payments are much more frequent meaning traditional HRIS systems are not fit for purpose to manage the freelancer population. There are also legal implications of storing non-employee data alongside full-time employee data.
Can I integrate a Freelancer Management System with my other tools and systems?
Most freelance management system such as Kalo offer integration with your day to day systems and applications including:
  • HR Systems - Workday, Bamboo HR, Namely, Success Factors
  • Finance Systems - Quickbooks, Workday Financials, ADP, Xero
  • Project Management Software - Mavenlink, Asana, Wrike, Trello
  • Communication tools - Slack, Hipchat, Google Hangouts
  • Cloud Storage - Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, PandaDoc
Do I need to use all the components (onboarding, assignment management, invoice management and payments) of a freelancer management system?
No, it is very common to take a modular approach to your freelancer management strategy. You could use a freelancer management system to onboard and track your database of freelancers while still using your own existing Finance system to pay your freelancers, as made possible through integrations.