Over the course of the coming weeks and months, organisations will continue to assess the economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is likely that most operational areas, including recruitment, will be impacted.
We have already seen some businesses cut back on both permanent and contract headcount, with projects and value-add initiatives being put on hold as companies adapt to the current situation.
Once we get clarity on the easing of lockdown restrictions and market sentiment improves, many organisations will need to inject talent back into the business at short notice.
At this time, there will be a race to attract niche skills into key projects. We expect to see more contracting opportunities come to the market as firms start to redefine what roles are required.
So if you are an Accounting professional in search of a new role at this time, you may like to consider whether contracting or temping could be an option for you. In this article, we outline some of the key factors you should consider.
What are the main benefits of contracting?
It can be quicker to find work as a contractor, or temp, because there are less steps involved in the recruitment process and generally, employers want people to start as soon as possible.
Contracting provides variety and a lot of professionals enjoy trying new roles regularly where they can grow by learning new skills in a new organisation or industry.
Contracting opens doors to some great employers that have tough permanent recruitment processes. This gives you a chance to demonstrate your worth, which will stand you in good stead if you hope to apply for positions there in the future. It’s also a way for you to see if that organisation is a good fit before committing to a permanent role.
What is the Accounting contracting market like at the moment?
There is usually a steady flow of contracting roles in the Auckland market, particularly in the traditional Financial / Management Accounting areas and Interim Financial Controller positions.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were seeing an increase in demand in the areas of Financial Planning & Analysis, Business Intelligence, Senior Commercial Management and Interim CFO level positions.
While the recruitment market is quieter at the moment, we expect there to be a rise in demand for Accounting contractors in particular as lockdown restrictions ease and businesses adjust to the new normal.
Some clients are more open minded than others when it comes to the exact prerequisites for what they are looking for, but previous industry experience, exposure to certain systems and adaptability to change are always desirable. With some of our larger NZX-listed or multinational clients, a common request we get for contractors is a strong grounding in the Big 4 or mid-tier Chartered Accounting environments, combined with several years’ experience in a medium or large business.
How much could I earn?
The information below is an indicative guide of what you could expect to earn on an hourly basis. Just remember that rates will vary depending on experience, the organisation and factors such as whether you are on a fixed-term contract or you are an independent contractor.
- Financial / Management Accountant – between $45 and $60 per hour
- Commercial / FP&A Analyst – between $50 and $65 per hour
- Business Intelligence Analyst – between $60 and $80 per hour
- Business Partner – between $60 and $80 per hour
- Financial Planning and Analysis Manager – between $75 and $100 per hour
- Financial Controller – between $75 and $100 per hour
- Interim CFO / Consulting – between $100 and $125 per hour.
What other things should I consider if I want to get started contracting or temping?
Firstly, make sure your CV is up to date and ready to send out at short notice. Your LinkedIn profile should also be current and be a summarised version of your experience that is consistent with your CV.
Make yourself available for interviews and be easily contactable by phone or email. It’s not unusual for a role to be filled within the space of 24 hours, which means great candidates miss out if they don’t respond quickly.
Consider in advance what hourly rate you will work for. Remember that independent contractors tend to charge a higher hourly rate, which takes into account the fact that they don’t receive benefits such as annual leave.
The majority of contracting and temporary roles require a quick start so be prepared for this if you put your name forward.
What types of contracting arrangements are there?
At Hunter Campbell, our contracting assignments are split between an independent contracting arrangement or a fixed-term contract.
A fixed-term arrangement gives the same benefits as a permanent employee – you will be on the company’s payroll and have entitlements such as annual leave and sick leave.
If the assignment is less than six months or has an uncertain length, many organisations will prefer an independent contracting arrangement.
If you’re not sure about what each type of arrangement involves, we’re always happy to provide advice.
If you have any questions or would like further information about contracting in the Accounting space, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
Jason Hinton heads up the Contracting function for Hunter Campbell where he and his team specialise in recruiting contractors across the full Accounting spectrum from Accounting Support through to the Interim CFO level.