The National Arts Council (NAC)’s Arts Resource Hub (ARH) aims to support arts Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) and freelance practitioners in Singapore to unlock new opportunities and grow meaningful careers for the long term. Here is a glossary of common key terms that might come up when securing a gig, along with samples for reference to adapt and use at your discretion.
Every organisation needs to procure or purchase products and services. The objective of a Procurement Policy, which is a set of principles and procedures, is to ensure all purchases are authorised at the respective approval limits, and that the purchases accomplish the organisation's goals. Hence, each organisation will have its own unique Procurement Policy, where the larger the organisation is, the more complex its Policy.
As part of the procurement process, you will be asked to give a Quotation. A Quotation is how organisations determine who best to appoint, whether on the basis of price, quality or scope. This is an essential part of the pitch and is often a compulsory internal procedure for the organisation wanting your service.
When asked to give a Quotation, please include:
a) Your scope of work or the description of the service you are offering or the item you are selling or renting to the organisation;
b) The fee or price you are hoping to receive; and
c) Any terms and conditions you may want from the organisation.
Please see a sample of a Quotation here to refer to and adapt for your use.
A Purchase Order or “PO” is a document that an organisation will give the vendor, after it has gotten approval to purchase the required service. This is an external document that will stipulate what is being purchased, at what price, and on what terms. Instead of accepting a PO, the vendor can choose to issue an Order Form for the purchaser to accept, with all the Terms and Conditions pre-printed on the Order Form. The PO or Order Form will form a binding agreement when accepted by the vendor.
As an arts freelancer, it is unlikely that you will be issued a PO unless you are selling or renting out an art-making equipment for example. You will also not need to create an Order Form because you can ask your hirer to acknowledge on your Quotation with a signature and company stamp as acceptance of the work or item to be delivered. It is important to ensure that all the Terms and Conditions are stated on the signed Quotation.
If an organisation is interested in hiring your skills and services as a freelancer on contract basis, your binding contract is more likely to be a Letter of Agreement (LOA) rather than a PO, which spells out the salient contract terms between your hirer and you. The LOA should include the following points:
a) The scope of work to be delivered;
b) The period you are given to complete this scope of work;
c) The fee given to you for this work;
d) Other expenses either the hirer or you will need to bear; and
e) Payment details, that is, how and when you expect to be paid.
After delivering your project or service, you will often be required to issue an Invoice before you can be paid by the organisation. An Invoice is a payment demand for goods or services delivered, or for instalments due, based on contract terms. The organisation will match your Invoice to what was in your agreed contract, which could be your signed Quotation or your Letter of Agreement.
Before payment, the organisation will also assess the following:
a) Did you deliver as agreed, only partially, or not at all?
b) If it is a physical good like an artwork that you have delivered, was it in agreed condition?
c) Was the delivery received and acknowledged by the organisation?
If all is in order, the organisation will then be able to process payment to you.
Invoice without Tax is used if:
a) You are an independent arts practitioner with no company backing,
b) You have a registered arts business entity that does not need to be GST registered*
Invoice with Tax is used if:
a) Your arts business entity is GST registered*i.e. with a unique GST registration number.
*GST registration is compulsory only if your arts business entity has taxable income exceeding SGD1 million.
A Timesheet is a record of hours you spent working on a project. If you are an hourly or daily-rated arts freelancer, there should be a Timesheet given to you by your hirer that you will need to fill in dutifully. It is then acknowledged by your hirer with his/her signature and your signature together. This document serves as proof of work done, and can be used by your hirer to process payment, without the need for you to raise an Invoice. In addition, documentation of your work progress via email correspondences, mobile messages exchanged, etc. with your hirer can all serve as proof of work done.
Please see a sample of a Timesheet Sample to refer to and adapt for your use.
It is good practice to keep a Timesheet even if your contract stipulates a fixed fee, that is, you are paid the same amount regardless of working hours per week. Filling up a Timesheet diligently allows you to see the actual number of hours you have spent on a project, and serves as a valuable benchmark for your next project Quotation.
Please see a sample of a Timesheet for Personal Tracking purposes to refer to and adapt for your use.
In summary, your hirer having received your Invoice or Timesheet will:
a) Match it against the agreed contract; and
b) Verify you have indeed delivered as agreed upon, before making any payment to you.
Often, there will be a time-gap between your Invoice or Timesheet submission and the payment into your bank account, known as the credit term. Usual business-to-business credit term is 30 days or 1 month. As an individual, you may want to negotiate a shorter credit term of 14 days.