A member of the Brisker Group, Tentoo has been active in Belgium for the past 20 years. “At that time, many artists had huge problems in invoicing clients for their performances,” explains Marketing Officer Anke Bormans. “A company was founded to give these artists a legal status, even when they were only working on short-term contracts. That’s how it all began.”
Today, Tentoo specializes in managing the financial activities of freelancers in a broad range of sectors, from artists, copywriters and marketing and IT consultants to stage builders. “We support 3,000 freelancers working in almost every industry, from school children with a great business idea to retirees who want to boost their pension,” says Ms. Bormans.
Tentoo’s mode of operation is extremely simple. Freelancers secure their own work, and register each assignment with Tentoo via the company’s internet portal. Tentoo issues invoices to clients on their behalf, and pays the value of the invoice to the freelancer. “In general, invoices have longer payment terms than we do,” Ms. Bormans points out. “We pay the freelancers within seven days.”
The company also checks assignment contracts for validity, and organizes social security contributions, ensuring that freelancers are health insured and eligible for holiday and sick pay. “We take a commission for our services,” says Ms. Bormans. “There are no fixed costs; our freelancers only incur fees when they work.”
In January 2018, Tentoo launched a new service aimed at small, independent companies, for whom financial administration is also challenging and time consuming. Tentoo’s service includes bookkeeping, invoicing and credit control, and guaranteed payments to its clients.
“We deduct and deal with VAT, taxes and social security contributions, and clients receive the net amount,” explains Chief Finance Advisor Kimberley Hengels, who is responsible for the new service.
For freelancers, it is not only the time necessary for financial administration that is a burden, but also the risk of invoices not being paid, and the prospect of losing their income if they fall ill. “Our service alleviates many of our freelancers’ greatest concerns,” stresses the Marketing Officer. “The benefits are huge. Their salary is paid quickly, even if their clients don’t pay, and they have the security of knowing they are entitled to unemployment benefits as well as holiday and sick pay. From a legal perspective, every aspect is clarified.”
We support 3,000 freelancers working in almost every industry, from school children with a great business idea to retirees who want to boost their pension. Anke BormansMarketing Officer
Tentoo is headquartered in Zaventem near Brussels. Until recently, all contact with clients was conducted online, but following the acquisition of a small firm in Antwerp, the company now has an office, where clients can discuss their needs with Tentoo staff in person. “Personal contact is important to our freelancers, and the new office has been very positively received,” notes Ms. Bormans.
The market for Tentoo’s services is booming. The trend for working on a freelance basis is increasing, in particular with younger people who do not fear self-employment; freelancing is often the first step. “We sense strong growth and acceptance in the market for self-employment,” Ms. Bormans reveals. “Young people today are more flexible, and the old model of permanent employment is less desirable from both an employer and worker point of view. Nevertheless, the status of freelancers is not yet sufficiently protected; there is still work to do on the legislation in this area.”
Tentoo is planning to launch several new services in the fairly near future. A secretariat service is on the agenda, which will undertake personnel and payroll services for small businesses. The company is also planning a back office operations service for staff agencies.
“Many foreign agencies who place staff in Belgium don’t have a presence here,” explains Ms. Bormans. “We will provide the mechanism for a successful placement by taking care of the workers, contracts and payments.”