There are lots of great things about Accounting as a career. Skilled Accountants are constantly in demand and there is huge variety in the nature of work from one business to another. Skills can transfer across many industries and opportunities for both specialising with a niche skillset or broadening your experience are all potential areas to grow and develop.
Candidates who are open to both permanent and contract roles can open up even more doors and pick up some great experience and transferable skills.
A lot of candidates ask us about the pros and cons of contracting, so here’s our response to the questions we get asked the most.
What is the Accounting contracting market like at the moment?
There is always a steady flow of contracting roles in the Auckland market, particularly in the traditional Financial / Management Accounting areas and Interim Financial Controller positions.
Right now we’re seeing an increase in demand in the areas of Financial Planning & Analysis, Business Intelligence, Senior Commercial Management and Interim CFO level positions.
Some clients are more open minded then 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 are the main benefits of contracting?
It can be quicker to find work as a contractor because there are less steps involved in the recruitment process and generally, employers want contractors to start as soon as possible.
Contracting provides variety and a lot of professionals enjoy trying new roles regularly where they can learn new skills in a new organisation.
Contracting open 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 permanent roles 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.
Another advantage is that contracting gives you flexibility to work around your life plans so there’s more time for your hobbies or perhaps some extended travel.
What are the potential downsides?
Most contractors find the uncertainty around the short-term nature of contacting to be the biggest downside – you can’t be sure when the next contract will come along, which can make it trickier to make longer term plans or financial commitments.
Contracting doesn’t come with the benefits of being an employee, such as sick leave or annual leave. However, keep in mind that a slightly higher hourly rate should compensate for this.
The majority of contracting roles require a quick start so this could be challenging if you’re in permanent employment and have a notice period of a month or more.
What other things should I consider if I want to get started contracting?
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.
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.