Are Large Professional Staffing Services Firms Too Big for Small Businesses?

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You always dreamed of owning a small business one day. What you didn't dream about was tinkering with accounting software like QuickBooks into the wee hours every night. Fortunately, using a professional services firm that specializes in accounting staffing is a potential solution, and one that's not limited to large organizations only. Large staffing agencies can provide accounting professionals in a full range of specialties — from billing and payroll to tax accounting — for businesses of all types and sizes.

Short-term help

Organizations use professional services firms to provide staffing assistance for a variety of reasons. This ranges from getting help while full-time employees are absent to filling skills gaps, according to an Accountemps survey. Businesses may want a hand during busy times of year, such as tax season, or they may need help completing large projects.

One or two interim professionals might be all you need to tackle the backlog of work that's been piling up in your busy enterprise and relieve stress for you and your staff. Large temporary services firms' wide networks allow them to find the right candidates more quickly than smaller staffing firms.

Long-term needs

Larger specialized agencies can also offer solutions to more long-term needs, giving your organization the ability to use the same interim professionals on a regular basis, which maximizes their productivity. Turning to a professional services firm in this way minimizes your fixed costs while meeting your ongoing staffing needs. Well-suited assignments for these consultants include system conversions, annual audits, coverage for employees on leave, and merger-and-acquisition activity.

Hiring experts

In a Robert Half survey, 60 percent of small business owners polled said finding skilled workers is the greatest challenge in hiring and managing staff. A specialized staffing firm can take care of candidate evaluations for you — helping you save both time and money. The assessment process even includes face-to-face interviews and relevant skills tests.

You should also look for an agency whose staffing specialists have backgrounds in accounting or finance, and stay actively involved in professional organizations. This expertise allows them to understand your business's financial staffing needs more readily.

Your own HR department

A staffing agency can handle all the recruiting and paperwork for the people you bring on board. Look for firms that provide their candidates access to a wide range of professional training courses. These help candidates stay current on technology and accounting trends, knowledge they can bring to your workplace.

Local service, global reach

One final advantage to working with a large professional services organization is a combination of local management with global reach. Offices are run locally, and the staffing experts there know your market inside and out. At the same time, these offices are part of a much larger global enterprise, which gives them the networks needed to help you expand and staff in other locations as your company grows.

Don't forget that larger firms are likely to weather the ups and downs of the economy and be there for your business in good times and in bad, for years to come. "Thinking big" when it comes to working with an experienced professional services firm can help your organization meet whatever business challenges lie ahead.

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