I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the ‘gig economy’, an economy that relies heavily on independent contractors or freelance workers. There’s a growing trend in the marketplace for this type of work in western economies especially. It is estimated by some commentators that this type of work already makes up about 25% of the workforce, and is growing. There have been some controversial companies that have embraced this model with the major complaint being the exploitation of these workers (Uber being an example).
That begs the question, ‘If it’s so bad why are 25% of the workforce (and growing) doing it’? There are a few reasons, mainly around people having more freedom and flexibility in their work to gain a better work/life balance. Here at The Back Office Company we also embrace this model with most of our bookkeepers being contractors. We did this to allow them the flexibility to be able to work the hours they desired and to do that from home because this was what they wanted. However, we also recognised that they wanted to have a support network and access to training and development opportunities so we provide that, amongst other benefits, too. Why would we do all this? Well we believe that the most important thing our contractors want, is to work within a supportive and caring team environment and from our perspective if we provide that then they will stick around. Our research has found that one of the major drawbacks for clients engaging with a bookkeeping service is constantly have to deal with a new bookkeeper. We feel that if we look after our contractors they stay with us longer term, and that keeps our clients happy.
Our model also allows our bookkeepers to focus on what they enjoy and what they are good at without having the worry and time commitment of running their own business. If they had to do that they would need to do all their own admin, marketing, business development and training without the access to our support network, so by working with us it takes away a lot of hassle. They can then focus on their clients and learning the latest tips and tricks to ensure they are being the most efficient bookkeepers in the market.
I believe success in the gig economy is to ensure your contractors are well looked after because ultimately they are the ones working for your clients. Keep them happy and you keep your clients happy also.
By Arran Finlayson