Demand for Contract Workers in Finance and Accounting Roles

Currently, the job market in the US is facing unique circumstances, including tremendous job growth pitted against record-low unemployment rates. While the average job growth rate across all jobs in the country is predicted to be 14.5% in 2020, those in the finance and accounting fields will grow at an even more rapid rate. For those with a master’s degree, the anticipated growth rate can be as high as 21.7%. While this is certainly good news for the US economy, those trying to find qualified talent may have a harder time than in the past.

Contract workers are increasingly being considered to help alleviate some of the mismatch between supply and demand for finance and accounting specialists. Contract work is ideal for individuals between jobs or those who are semi-retired or don’t want to work full time. Considering this talent pool source, rather than narrowly focusing on those seeking full-time traditional employment, can open up your prospects and help you to meet your needs for a finance or accounting specialist.

Benefits of Contract Workers

Filling Jobs Immediately

Hiring a consultant to fill a position immediately can be a huge relief for many companies. This is especially true when it’s a role that will cause a company to suffer if it goes unfilled for a prolonged period of time or when the company wants to take its time to ensure that they find the best candidate available. One scenario where this would be ideal is when a financial leadership role, such as CFO or finance director, is vacant. Leaving a leadership role unfilled can leave the whole department feeling dispirited and unorganized. A temporary worker can serve in the role of interim CFO to provide leadership while the company finds a permanent replacement. Similarly, contract workers can also be considered for implementation projects requiring specific expertise, or large-scale projects that require more hands on deck.

Ensuring a Perfect Fit

Contract work is ideal when you’re looking for the right fit for your company’s culture. You can essentially have a test phase while deciding whether or not you’d like to extend a more permanent offer to the individual. While permanent employment may not be the goal for all contract workers, it is for some of them, and in these instances, a short-term contract can help you identify if there are any employment issues. It also gives the potential prospect the opportunity to make sure they feel like your company is a good fit for them. If it’s not, it’s better to know before jumping through all the hoops necessary to make them a permanent employee. 

Working with a contract employee is also a great option when you’re trying to fill a highly specialized finance or accounting role that requires very specific knowledge or certifications. For specialized roles, you’ll have the time to ensure that the potential employee has sufficient knowledge to do the job competently. Finance and accounting , such as tax examiners and compliance , often require a high degree of technical knowledge, and hiring someone as a contract worker first will give you some time to assess whether the individual truly has the required knowledge. Other finance jobs, such as venture capital specialists and private wealth advisors, frequently need certain characteristics, such as high sociability and a persuasive personality. While you may be able to ascertain this to a certain degree during an interview, having a contract worker fill this role for a set amount of time will truly tell you whether or not they can deliver the right performance when necessary.

Reducing your Obligations

Hiring a permanent employee is no small task. It comes with additional payments for benefits, tax obligations, and tons of resources for hiring and onboarding. Contract workers are not classified as full-time staff, which reduces your obligations to them. Additionally, when you use a contract worker through an agency, the agency often deals with all of the paperwork on your behalf, which streamlines and reduces your workload. You get the best of both worlds: someone to do the work you need done, without all of the expenses and additional work on your part.

Beating Your Competitors to the Punch

In some instances, contract workers are doing this work because they’re working toward—but don’t yet have—certification in a particular financial or accounting specialty. Someone aspiring to be a certified public accountant (CPA), a certified financial planner (CFT), or a financial risk manager (FRM), among other specialties, may find that contract work is ideal for them while they prepare to go through certification.

For your company, this may limit the particular tasks a contract worker can undertake in the short term, but if there’s a need for more generalized assistance, you can still use these contract workers. The added benefit is that you can establish a rapport with them, and if they’re a good fit with your company’s culture, you could be the first to extend them a permanent job offer—a move that means they won’t even be a prospect for any of your competitors. You’ll be the first to tap into this talent pool.

As you can see, there are so many instances in which working with a contract worker is ideal, if not necessary. Due to the strong demand for finance and accounting roles that will be present in the near future, it’s time to start thinking more strategically about how to fill your open positions in the best way possible. Contract workers will play a big part in this. They can fill your immediate needs, while also giving you the opportunity to ensure that you only hire the right individuals for your company.

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