Calling the business environment “fast-changing” has become a cliché over the past decade or so, and even more in the past two years. Working from home, the “great resignation,” and increasing Private Equity and Corporate Development activities to take advantage of unsettled conditions have created an environment that is moving at lightning speed.
In the face of all this, more and more fast-changing businesses have turned to project-based work that, while guided by executives in the upper levels of the organization, depend on the people on the front lines who are doing the actual work. Nowhere is this truer than in Accounting and Finance where senior accountants, financial analysts, accounting managers, etc. are charged with translating strategies conceived at the top of the organization into tactical work to make those visions a reality. While the people at the top are there for the long haul, the foot soldiers may only be needed for the length of a project, and if they are hired as full-time employees, then when they are no longer needed the issues of termination, benefits, and unemployment insurance loom large.
According to Mergers and Acquisitions analysts at Pitchbook, North American M&A experienced a slight dip in value and volume in Q1 2022. Approximately 4,739 deals closed for a combined value of $611.3 billion, which was roughly a 20% decrease in both deal count and value from Q4 2021. However, M&A activity was in line with that of the last five years, demonstrating that dealmakers are still finding growth opportunities despite market volatility and valuation adjustments. Additionally, some investors viewed the market turbulence as an opportunity to secure more reasonable valuations; we could see an increase in smaller M&A deals spilling over to Q2.
M&A, divestitures, business combinations, various kinds of business splits all require intensive activities from a number of business functions, and especially from finance and accounting. These activities precede the business moves, go on during the moves, and for as much as a year or years after the formalities are completed, but ultimately, they come to an end and so do the jobs that support them. Interim or contract employees know this going in and expect the end to come.
Private Equity firms particularly use interim employees in the firms in which they invest, and those firms in turn use them in firms they acquire or merge with.
A second major area where interim hires are a particularly beneficial strategy is ERP implementation. For example, sometimes companies have to run two sets of books for six months or more while getting the new ERP system up and running, and the books still have to close on time. An ERP implementation entails extra work that needs to get done. Sometimes extra hands are crucial, to the point where if they are not hired, permanent employees often experience burnout and leave before the project is complete. So, utilizing interim help, contractors, consulting professionals in the accounting and finance space is so vital for our clients to be able to retain the talent that they have right now and to avoid burning them out.
Experienced Accounting and Finance professionals who have been through one or two, for example, SAP or NetSuite migrations, can share best practices and then more importantly, they can point out pitfalls that look like a good idea at the time. Here again, Private Equity firms have found that securing top interim talent is a huge value-add.
It is important to note that recruiting and hiring interim workers is not a “one size fits all” situation. All of the advantages noted above depend on matching the interim employee’s skills and experience to the requirements of the job. BrainWorks, as a leading recruiter of interim finance and accounting personnel, works closely with clients to determine exactly what is needed – not only degrees and certification but also experience that is directly relevant to the client’s needs. Not just, for example, having worked on SAP implementation, but having moved it from stage three to stage four, from regular to the cloud, etc., experience supervising a team, understanding of manufacturing, etc. In addition, the client’s needs must match their budget, or one or the other will have to be amended.
On the candidate’s side, many hold a negative view of interim jobs until they realize that they could do exactly what it is they are doing in their fulltime job, but work from home or with a 15 minute commute, or potentially work a reduced schedule, and still be paid a rewarding salary. Also, many candidates realize that they can gain experience in a particular area of expertise such as ERP implementations, and then take that experience to a new level of employment. Finally, there are companies that have a practice of “contract to hire,” and the only way the candidate will get a foot in the door at that company is as an interim employee.
In summary, temporary employees and contractors provide a lot of unique benefits for a company or organization, such as:
Providing cost-benefits: Interim employees and contractors typically accomplish specific tasks and require fewer long-term services. These conditions may help the company improve budgeting procedures and conserve resources.
Satisfying particular needs: You can find and hire candidates with specific skills to handle certain seasonal or temporary job duties, like hiring an accountant who only works during an auditing period.
Optimizing workflow: Additional staff can help the company distribute work assignments to more people, allowing employees the opportunity to increase their quality of your work and productivity standards. This may also allow team members to improve their work-life balance.
Streamlining future hiring processes: If you want to hire an interim employee or contractor in the future, temporary or contract employment allows you to avoid another long-term hiring process, which could help you spend less time on hiring efforts overall.
BrainWorks is a prominent boutique executive search firm offering a 30-year track record of successfully sourcing and placing top talent. We solve your hiring challenges by leveraging our vast network of highly skilled talent and our extensive, time-tested industry expertise. To learn more about how BrainWorks can help you, contact us.