Over the last few years, I've developed an informal, diverse network of very capable freelance accounting and financial professionals, primarily to help facilitate the growth of my own solo accounting and consulting practice. Earlier this month, I began formalizing this concept by launching the Atlanta Financial Professionals Network, also referred to as AFPN.
Several factors have fed my desire to establish and grow AFPN:
Atlanta is home to increasing numbers of quality financial freelancers - The trend towards freelance, work-from-home consulting practices continues to grow. This growing talent pool comes primarily from three broad groups: Baby-boomers leaving the full-time work force; young professionals desiring the flexibility and other benefits of self-employment; and traditional career-seekers who find themselves in-between full-time jobs.
Retaining others for client engagements is a "win-win-win" scenario - When clients look to me to help with specialized consulting assignments, I must assess whether my personal schedule, skill-set, or higher billing rate is the best fit for their needs. In many instances, the right thing for me to do is arrange for a JE Moore associate to fill the specific needs. If I can retain a quality freelancer to expertly meet the client's needs when I'm busy with other commitments, or at a rate significantly less than what the client would be willing to pay me...everybody wins. The freelancer earns a satisfactory fee, I earn a fair margin on the JE Moore associate's work, and most importantly, the client benefits from me identifying and coordinating the best, most cost-effective staffing solution for their situation.
I want to help other solo-professionals - I chose a freelance form of doing business for one primary reason...to help enable me to invest significantly in my daughter's upbringing. My practice allowed for this and much more, for the past 20 years. Through the AFPN, I will share what I've learned and will invest in others, with the hope that I might encourage and benefit those who wish to pursue self-employment, regardless of their own reasons for desiring this flexible, rewarding approach.
Web-based tools enable cost-effective collaboration - AFPN members have 24/7 access to a private, password-protected AFPN intranet which easily allows them to 1) showcase their credentials via personalized profiles and blogs, 2) connect with other members in niche groups and via online chat, 3) share knowledge with blogs, forums, videos, and training events, 4) refer, engage or hire one another through the AFPN job board, and 5) increase their income under a "finder/minder/grinder" fee-sharing program.
Membership in the AFPN is by invitation only. Sixty (60) professionals have already registered. To-date, twenty virtual groups have been established to organize members in loosely-aligned industry or functional niche teams. In the near future, these teams will be meeting in face-to-face sessions to share ideas on how to individually and collectively pursue and manage client assignments.
If you're an Atlanta-area freelance financial professional who wants to learn more about the AFPN, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.