Say No to Spreadsheets: Why You Need a Contingent Workforce Management Solution

Today, one in six workers are 1099-MISC, or contingent workers per ADP’s “Illuminating the Shadow Workforce" research report. And based on our research, 56% of the workforce wants to be a 1099-MISC. With the trend increasing towards acceptance, and some even arguing with recent events, that it is already here, having an effective way to manage your contingent workforce is essential.

As a professional, you understand the need to accurately check and monitor your talent spend. But have you thought about how to effectively manage your pool of contractors?

Two Ways to Manage Your 1099-NEC Talent

The way we see it, there are two ways you can manage your independent contractors: Spreadsheets or Freelance Management System (FMS) technology.


The mainstay of project management, spreadsheets have been around for decades and have been at the forefront of charting and tracking a large variety of tasks. The allure of spreadsheets for effectively tracking the status of all the moving parts of a project led to the creation of things like SmartSheets, which add even more functionality to the concept than just a straight spreadsheet. But where to start?

Task 1 | Know your data. 

What type of contractors are you looking for or currently have hired? Do they require an NDA, or non-disclosure agreement? What about special certifications? Think through all the different types of workers you may want to contract with and create a column for each.

Task 2 | Know your dates. 

Most contracts have terms, and you need to be aware of when those term limits are coming up for renewal to avoid any delays in productivity with your vendor. Here is a sample flow for setting this up:

  • Enter the formula “=today()”

  • Add conditional formatting - this step will enable you to visually see at a glance whether a contract is coming up for renewal. To do this, create a rule for the date column that says if the number in the cell is greater than 30 but less than 90 to highlight it yellow, and another to change any number less than 30 to red. The color coding and rules can be changed to support your specific need, but this is a general way to get you started.

Task 3: Prevent accidental changes. 

If you are allowing several of your team members to access the spreadsheet, then you will want to lock down portions of it to ensure that changes do not get made in error that can affect your ability to effectively manage your contractors. To do this, check out the following tips:

  • Use data validation with a predefined list. To do this, go to data/data validation in the dropdown menu and then select allow from list. From there you can create the keywords/phrases/etc that you want to use to note the contractor status.

  • Enable track changes so that in the event someone does make a change, you can see what it was and correct the unnecessary change.


Another management strategy involves the use of software to manage all the moving parts of your 1099-NEC. As the cloud has taken hold of almost all facets of technology, software-as-a-service, and online management systems have become commonplace. Here’s how to manage your contingent workforce with a freelance management system (FMS) such as WorkMarket:

Task 1: Identify your talent and create an account. 

You will need to create an account for your business to profile it for any potential 1099-MISC worker you may want to contract with. This way, your potential worker can know you and the benefits to working with you in a contract role.

Task 2: Verify your data. 

Same rules as with excel, only this time you just need to know so you can search the database for the type, location, budget, certification, and other criteria you need to find the right contractor for you.

Task 3: Engage with your worker. 

Once you have searched the pre-vetted pool of potential contractors, contact them through the platform to begin communications.

Task 4: Manage, pay, and rate their worker profile. 

Should you choose to move forward with a particular contractor, you can add them to your talent pool and request things like a background check, NDA, I-9 form, certification records, and other requirements that your business needs. The software will store and automate the process. Additionally, once the work is completed and all of the necessary paperwork is received in order to verify the completion, you can approve the order and complete the payment process all within the platform.

Just Say No - To Spreadsheets

Overall, spreadsheets are a great tool and help individuals and businesses keep track of a wide variety of information. But when it comes to managing a workforce comprised of contingent workers, it can add significant complexity that can hinder your ability to realize the full benefits of this business workforce strategy. ClearVision AV, a global professional services company providing custom installation and integration services solutions for video conferencing, media management, streaming video, and digital signage was spending up to two hours to process a single work order. This severely hampered their ability to grow and enter into the tertiary markets they wanted to. Once they switched from their highly manual dispatch process to the automation built into WorkMarket’s freelance management solution, they reduced their time to dispatch to minutes. You can too, by saying no to spreadsheets and yes to freelance management solutions.