Running your own business necessarily involves a certain amount of administration. But though much of this may feel difficult and time-consuming, often there are various ways of getting help. Here are the three main administrative chores which take up your time as a consultant - and which you would rather be without!
1. Time tracking
Time tracking may not be so difficult - but it often takes a lot of time to do it manually. Time which you would have preferred to spend doing your assignment better (or maybe being with your family!). One common scenario is not managing to do your time tracking while you're out on an assignment, but having to do it in the evening, the next day, or even a week later. The difficulty with putting off time tracking is that you later forget exactly which day you worked overtime or how long that lunch break actually lasted. Your salvation could be as simple as one of the convenient time tracking apps, where you just press play and stop - but which also allow you to define the project, add travel time, etc. The only thing you have to remember is to make a routine of it...!
Got to grips with time tracking? Great. It's important to have it under control right from the first day of the assignment, as hours worked are the basis for your invoicing - which in turn is necessary for you and your business to be successful and profitable. The main reason why you are a consultant, obviously! Invoicing can often give a fine feeling of reward for your efforts but can also take a long time (and be frustrating) if you don't know how. Many consultants who want full control download templates from the net and set up their invoices manually. But there are also digital invoicing services such as CoolCompany and FrilansFinans, which will make the process easy and simple (and save you loads of time). You don't even need your own business to use these services. But you will still need to be sure that all the invoicing details are correct - the crucial point for getting paid!
Bookkeeping is the part of the business which most often causes both frustration and anxiety among newcomers to the sector. The fact that the books have to be correct right from the start may be why many hesitate to start up on their own as soon as they would have wanted. You not only have to have full control over your vouchers, outlays and tax payable, but also make sure you record your VAT and file on time. To prevent bookkeeping becoming too much of a headache, it is a good idea to invest in a digital bookkeeping program right from the start and to get help for every step which bothers you or feels unfamiliar. Accountants are there for a reason!
Consultant brokers will often have access to advisors and services which can help you through many of the administrative processes. At Ework, for example, you only need to think about time tracking - they will then arrange all contacts with the client and make sure you are paid regularly.