Customer case B-Street: ‘Reliable businesses are based on reliable systems’
By Mark Bassie (Flex-Beheer)
Although I am accustomed to visiting Carerix users, this time I find myself in a well-known street in the Netherlands, certainly among people in the insourcing business. I am in ‘Flex Alley’, or the Marconibaan in Nieuwegein, where various providers of insourcing services are located within very close proximity.
One of them is B-street one of the so-called ‘brokers’ for external insourcing.
I’m having a chat with Jurjen Punt, who has been the director at B-street for several years. A broker is a business that offers a variety of services and assistance when insourcing self-employed professionals and freelancers.
In my eyes, what makes B-street special is the fact that its parent company is stock market-listed in the Netherlands. Novisource NV has been listed on Euronext in Amsterdam since February 2014.
Jurjen explains that being listed on the stock market is also accompanied by high expectations. ‘This means not only thinking about your obligations when publishing your quarterly figures, but that your whole organisation must be predictable and transparent. And that means all your administration and record-keeping must be well organised. But this leads to strict requirements as far as business operations and systems are concerned. And when you consider that B-street is responsible for 80% of Novisource’s turnover, and 50% of its final result, then the internal organisation at B-street becomes extra important. In fact, our stock market-listing serves is a seal of quality for our clients and contractors’.
Organisation with a credo
B-street only employs 9 people in its front office, who have all been displayed on the company’s site along with their photos and hobbies. Other activities are carried out by internal departments at Novisource.
B-street’s credo is ‘Sourcing the outstanding’. In 2014 and 2015, it was voted as the best broker for self-employed people in the ‘Financial services’ sector by ZZP Barometer. The business model adopted by B-street is clear, certified and familiar. But how is this credo incorporated into their business model?
Broker and intermediary
B-street not only refers to itself as a broker responsible for contract management between clients and contractors, but also as an intermediary. What is the difference between the two services?
When performing contract management for insourcing, we ensure that contracts are signed between clients and candidates. Candidates are normally self-employed people, but can also be agencies that deploy personally selected employees at the client. Besides arranging such contracts, candidates must also be screened; the client’s rules and regulations must be read and approved and, of course, administration activities must be carried out for time registration and billing. And everything from onboarding to offboarding. Brokers arrange all these things for their clients. B-street does this using the Carerix platform.
Intermediaries go even further in terms of the services they offer. This means, besides all the mentioned broker services, also performing the recruitment process for clients. B-street makes sure clear profiles are created for the ideal candidate and the concerned assignment. It then goes on the look-out for several suitable and available candidates. After a pre-selection process, the most suitable candidate is then contracted by establishing a contract between the candidate and B-street. In addition, a contract is also agreed between B-street and the client, which states, for example, the conditions under which the candidate will be deployed at the client. And this process flows smoothly thanks to the software offered by Carerix.
Mediation or intervention
Within insourcing jargon, the first approach is referred to as a mediation model. Brokers work with a mediation contract between the client and the contractor (read: the candidate). In this case, brokers are not one of the contracted parties.
The second approach is referred to as the intervention model, where a three-party contract is established.
The difference between both services and both contracts is, at this moment in time, very important due to the arrival of the DBA Act (Deregulation for Assessment of Working Relationships as of 1 May 2016), which follows on from the VAR. Depending on what kind of service is offered, B-street selects the appropriate contract template from the Tax Authority, in order to avoid future disputes with the Tax Authority about whether the candidate is actually being secretly employed by the client.
Via the sector organisation for brokers and intermediaries, the Bovib, of which B-street has been a member from the very outset, work is currently under way to create a special contract template that will arrange this three-party agreement.
The business model and the stock market-listing have been based on very solid systems. Carerix is one of the most important cornerstones for B-street as well as Novisource. Besides Carerix software, the partnership with Carerix as an organisation is also very important.
Partnership with Carerix
‘What do you actually do with our Carerix software?’ I ask. Jurjen says that almost the whole range has been implemented for the past 2 years.
Before this, B-street had had its own CRM solution built using Microsoft ERP software. It was an expensive, rather inflexible and laborious solution, which constantly needed to be modified. ‘The insourcing world does not stand still, and you’re always changing’.
So we had to find something different. B-street then decided to look for alternatives via a tender procedure. After several rounds, the number of potential suppliers dwindled because they were unable to offer what B-street needed: a lot of flexibility and very little customisation.
Carerix caught our eye because they could already offer a great deal in terms of creating an effective demand and supply profile (features for specifying what you are looking for, and effective insight into the available range of candidates and what sets each of the candidates apart). They also allowed this info to be shared via social media, and with suppliers, while also supporting the selection (matching) process.
However, at the time, they had less experience with the ‘logistics of the contracting process’. Jurjen explains that B-street processes around 350 professionals through its system every month. As far as they are concerned, things like audit reports, CoC registrations, VAR or VOG, the banker’s oath and many other documents and registrations must be managed digitally. And also including reminders about their validity, so the system provides notifications if an update is needed for a particular candidate or contract.
In addition, all these candidates must be able to register their worked times; their clients must be able to approve or reject these times; invoices must be compiled based on approved times and the agreed rate; and all relevant information must be transferred to the financial administration at B-street. ‘We actually do everything in Carerix; only our record-keeping is based on Exact.
Together with Carerix, we were able to address the whole workflow step-by-step. But the job is never finished, because there are always new rules and regulations, and because we regularly have new insights and new ideas. Carerix regularly surprises me because they always manage to devise something new’.
‘Another important part of the service we offer involves effectively managing our database of candidates. In this case, it’s about professionals being able to personally manage their details and profiles (‘self-service’) in a fast and pleasant manner. But it also involves making this data available to your clients, so appropriate candidates and be quickly and effectively selected and informed. And this takes us towards the subject of customer portals; another area where we use Carerix.
And we shouldn’t forget things like video interviews and job alerts so effective contact can be maintained with candidates’.
Speedboat or tanker
‘What have you noticed in all the years you have been collaborating with Carerix?’ I ask. ‘Their intrinsic motivation to help’ says Jurjen immediately. ‘They are very committed and really want to help you with ideas. But their innovative capacities are also eye catching. They always manage to discover new insights and functionalities. This is normally fantastic, but it sometimes goes so fast that I feel a bit like a large tanker, which is being circled by a little speedboat. That’s when they have to take their foot off the pedal a little bit.
But they always propose ideas and always want to improve. They understand our profession and even the functionality in their standard system is very comprehensive and flexible. And, of course, like most partnerships, you also differ in opinion from time to time. But, on several occasions, their director has seen it as his duty to make the first move in our direction – which we appreciate greatly’……….