How contract hires can save your finance team’s sanity

Most finance functions have been operating with lean or reduced headcount since the 2008 financial crisis. At the start of the covid-19 pandemic, the majority of Finance Directors were still operating lean functions or were even one or two heads down. 

Factor in the extra pressures due to the pandemic and it’s no surprise that demand for specialist finance contractors has remained consistent. 

Rob McKay, director of interim recruitment at SRM takes a look at why organisations are using contractors to bolster lean teams and how to ensure you hire the best finance contract professionals:  

Recognise the extra workload finance teams are facing

Finance holds the keys to the business and in a crisis, everyone needs to know where the cash is sitting. When we factor in extra demands for advice on government financial assistance to concerns about business stability and fluctuating demand, organisations have never required so much support from their accountants and finance specialists.

Understand the extra stress finance teams are facing 

On top of an increased workload, Adele Stickland, wellness in the workplace and resilience consultant says that morale in 2020 is low, for two key reasons:

◻️ People are tired of the pandemic and eager to get back to normal

◻️ Chaos of the pandemic has created an abnormal level of fatigue

As a result, many finance professionals are facing burn out. Action is needed to prevent resignations that may further destabilise the team. 

Work out where the pressure is internally

Next, understand exactly where the pressure is, why it’s there and what do you need to do to relieve it.

What’s the real reason you’re hiring?

Once you’ve figured out where the problems lie, it’s imperative to discuss the key reason you are hiring. What’s the one core job that needs to be done? This usually revolves around fixing a problem. The clearer you can be the more successful the hire. 

Use temps wisely to take the stress away from your permanent team 

Right now, organisations are hiring temporary finance staff to take on traditional accounting roles rather than forward-thinking commercial positions – management accountants, financial accountants and financial controllers are in particular demand.

This is a good strategy. It gives incumbent teams more interesting, future-focused work and at the same time alleviates stress as a good temp is a safe pair of hands to cover core accounting work.

Consider the cost of leaving finance teams to struggle as the pandemic evolves. Ensure workloads are still achievable and clear goals are in place to support the most important work. If they’re not, hire quickly or risk losing good people.

Rob McKay, Director of Interim Recruitment at SRM

It’s a myth that the economic outlook is dampening demand for finance professionals

Hospitality and retail are struggling and it goes without saying that these are testing times. However, most business closures and large scale redundancies are due to systemic business problems pre covid. 

Whilst there are more available candidates – we have heard of some organisations receiving hundreds of applications – it’s a myth that there are lots of people with the right skills for your temp role.

A specialist finance temp recruiter will know the talent pool of career temps well, the skill sets available and will have the ability to send you five good people to consider – saving you and the team time.

Interview within 24 hours of receiving your shortlist

In any market, good people and good finance temps are hard to come by – there’s a high turnover and you can’t assume there will be 15 strong people waiting for your role. 

So if you need a temp move quickly. An efficient interview process is critical. Aim to get all the interviews done in one session, there’s nothing more frustrating than losing out to a competitor with a more effective hiring process. If you wait, your shortlisted candidates won’t be around in a week’s time. 

Extending the contract – don’t lose out

As soon as you realise you may need to extend the contract talk to your temp. If you don’t discuss where the project is moving or leave it until a week before the contract ends, the temp will already be interviewing or have another role in place. Be open and honest on timeframes. In return, your temp will be honest about interviewing for roles.

Get in touch if you’re looking to hire contractors

If you need help to source the best career contractors in finance and accountancy get in touch with me, Rob McKay, director of interim recruitment today on +44 (0) 20 3637 7808 or connect with me on Linkedin.

Why organisations hire finance temps – the summary

◽️ Take the pressure off permanent employees 
◽️ Finance temps can hit the ground running and focus on a task or project
◽️ To access specialist skills needed to complete a project quickly
◽️ Fix a problem 
◽️ Cover traditional accounting work so the team can focus on more engaging work
◽️ When permanent headcount restrictions are in place
◽️ Maternity cover 
◽️ Long term sickness cover

Articles you may like:

Why you need to hire accountants now
Seven ways to tackle unconscious bias
The role of a CFO