Business Efficiency & Process Optimization Consultant 
What to Expect When Working with A Contractor or Consultant

Most business owners run into disputes because many business owners misunderstand the process to reach the agreed-upon goal.  You will need to understand how to work with a contractor or consultant work for the best outcome of services.  Many confuse the expectations of an employee with a contractor.  I cannot express enough the importance of understanding the difference because how you process payments, tax reporting, and the compliance for employees are different and the governing bodies take it very seriously.  Your terminology is important, and the process will go much easier when you keep things straightforward.

Determine The Type Of Contractor You Need

  1. Do you need a professional consultant to advise, create systems, and train you?  Such as an accountant.  This person is professionally trained to advise and train you.  I am a professional accountant.  Financial
  2. Do you need a professional contractor or firm to complete a specific task? Such as a bookkeeper. (This company is trained to complete the service)
  3. Do you need someone to perform the task for you but would need training?  (You understand the correct process and the person performs the tasks for you (delegation), but this person does not necessarily have formal training.

Blog References to Help You Understand

  1. When you seek to hire a contractor in this blog “What to Do When You Hire A Contractor.”  I will explain the steps and the paperwork.  I can tell you it is less paperwork than hiring an employee and depending on the job the cost is less as well.
  2. Your contractor is a business owner.  You can read this blog here: “Contractors Are Business Owners.”  Regardless of our business structures we are business owners.
  3. Read Employee or Contractor Blog to learn more.
  4. Accounting or Financing Clearning The Confusion
  5. Clearing the Confusion of Accountants and Financial Managment

What should you expect when working together?  Determine what you need before you hire a firm.  If you are not sure what you need such as with accounting, you should hire a professional consultant, like me, to help you understand the requirements for compliance.  You can read more in these blogs about accounting.   When it comes to accounting most people do not understand what is needed in the business. When you hire me unless you have already consulted a professional firm that has given you the correct processes I help you to understand and implement the correct processes.  If you already have a process in place but still are having issues, we will review those issues to see how to improve the process.  In this instance, I understand what is needed and the time it takes to complete the tasks or to complete your deliverable. Accounting is a foundational process. We have to set foundational routines that build on from there. So it is not a drop-in and go. You will need to implement an accounting process over time.

The Consultant Tracks Their Time

If you hire a consultant to help you with social media such as editing your blogs, you will most likely pay them by the hour.  You would have them work on a blog and they would track their time and bill you.  A professional firm would understand the time it takes to perform standard tasks.  The service provider will track their own time and invoice you after the service is completed or invoice you ahead of time for the hours and then attach the timesheet with the final write-up explaining the deliverable. Beware of "value" pricing. Learn more about pricing "Ask The Accountant How to Build a Fair and Profitable Pricing Plan."  

When do you track time?

You do not track time but you need to be realistic about the time it takes to perform a project. If you hire someone to help you for 5 hours but your project takes 15 hours and they told you upfront you can not expect this person to work more than 5 hours.  In the past, I would have to guess if the client was giving me full disclosure (often negotiators are not open about what they need because they are trying to get a lower price) or if the client does not understand the work.  Sadly, most of these people falsely accuse accountants of overpricing because they do not understand the work.  Often, these people cheat us out of payment and time.  Now I charge for the assessment in advance with a write-up of how to correct the issues.

The client can hire me to perform the actual services or hire someone else but the accounting assessment will give them a starting point for the person they will hire.  Hopefully, you will see the importance of and the cost of not getting and giving a proper understanding for your agreements and sticking to your scope of services.  You will find most people just have different or a lack of understanding more than an actual cheat or negotiator.

When to Expect A Deliverable?

A completed service or product is a deliverable.  The contractor normally does not charge by the hour but charges by the project or job.  The contractor understands the time it takes to deliver the service or create the product and would include this in their pricing.  The person receiving the services would seek the deliverable and would not track the hours of the person.  The contractor is responsible for giving you the price and the expected date of delivery.  Keep in mind this person does not work unlimited amounts of hours to deliver your services or custom-made products.  You will need to keep the scope of services in mind and if you change the scope of service you need to expect a price change.  

What is the scope of service?

Your scope of services is what the contractor will provide to you.  You as a business owner should have this for your clients as well.  I can tell you if you do not have it in writing people will change the work all the time.  Check what you should receive and if you change the scope of services you must expect a price change.

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