How the Pandemic and Remote Work are Leveling the Playing Field: Q&A with Brandi Britton, Executive Director, Contract Finance & Accounting, Robert Half

By Robert Half on April 5, 2022 at 10:00pm

Welcome to the latest post in Robert Half’s Thought Leader Q&A series, which features insights from those who have made our company a great place to work and a premier provider of talent solutions.

In this post we feature Brandi Britton, an executive director based in Los Angeles who leads Robert Half’s global contract finance and accounting practice.

Brandi joined Robert Half in 1999 after graduating from California Polytechnic State University. She started as a staffing manager and has held progressive leadership roles with the company, including district director, managing administrative and finance and accounting practices.

In January 2022, Brandi was named executive director, where she guides strategic direction for the contract finance and accounting practice. This area of the business helps companies hire skilled professionals like bookkeepers or staff accountants on a contract basis for short- or long-term assignments, and also helps candidates find great job opportunities.

Although she chose to grow her career with Robert Half, Brandi says recruiting wasn’t her first career choice. “I was pursuing a degree in social sciences intending to earn a master's in psychology and become a therapist. In my senior year, I did an internship as a crisis counselor, and I wasn’t very good at it. I had worked at a bank previously and knew I liked the corporate world, so I targeted jobs in recruiting because it brought the people and the business aspects together. Out of college, I was lucky enough to find a job and company I fell in love with at Robert Half. How many people can say that?”

Brandi’s career in recruiting has allowed her to live her dream. “What we do at Robert Half makes a difference in people’s lives. For example, years ago I placed a woman as a receptionist and today she’s a vice president.” She hopes to continue making a difference through a project focused on recent college graduates. “When you impact somebody soon after they graduate, they appreciate and remember you for it.”

Here’s what Brandi had to say during our interview, which covered everything from her successful career and Robert Half, to finance and accounting industry trends, to expanding opportunities for working women.

Why have you chosen to spend your career at Robert Half?

I can't imagine any other company logo on my digital business card. The opportunities here are endless. My contributions matter, and I have a chance to do anything. Because of the nature of what we do, no two days are alike and that keeps it fun. Then there are the great people I work with, whether it's internal staff, hiring companies or job seekers.

What’s changed in contract finance and accounting employment over the years?

Earlier in my career, the clients I worked with were focused on a job candidate’s technical software skills. Those skills are still important, but today employers are looking for flexibility and a corporate culture fit. This shift started during the financial crisis in 2009 when businesses had to become leaner. Employers saw candidates who worked collaboratively with their teams are often more productive and that it was good for business.

The pandemic brought technology into focus again but in a different way. At first, there was a concern that artificial intelligence might eliminate some finance and accounting jobs. But what I’ve seen is that there's still a high demand for roles, only businesses are doing things differently with remote and hybrid work that requires candidates to be more tech savvy.

How has remote and hybrid work impacted finance and accounting?

Because of the sensitive nature of the industry, there is still some resistance to continuing remote work as businesses return to the office. As more large companies, including Robert Half, demonstrate it can be successful long term, the more likely it will be that businesses start to have at least a portion of their workforce remote. They’ve already seen that everybody worked from home for two years and survived. Companies understand that to hire and retain employees in today’s job market they need to offer something different.

Do you have any tips to help businesses make the transition to a remote workforce?

Managers need to be more intentional about their interactions with staff, especially in a hybrid or remote environment. In the office, you could quickly catch up with employees in the hallway or break room. When people work remotely, managers—and employees— need to reach out proactively. Managers who have made that transition more quickly have better retention rates.

How has the pandemic impacted working women?

This is potentially the greatest opportunity that there has been for women because there's so much demand for talent; it’s a candidate-driven market where good talent is hard to find and job postings abound.

Employers realize women have a lot to offer, and in general, are more receptive to remote or hybrid work. For working moms, that’s a game changer that provides flexibility so they can work and take care of their family’s needs. For me, being remote allows me to focus on work when I need to and spend more time with my young daughter. With my previous schedule and commute in LA traffic, I may have only been able to see her 30 minutes or an hour each day.

What career advice do you have for working moms?

This advice has served me well during my career, and it applies to everyone:

  • If you want a specific role, or want to move up to another role, try to do that job before you apply for it.
  • Don’t just point out problems, bring a solution.
  • Be your own advocate. If you want a promotion or a raise, ask for it. If you don’t get what you want this time, ask your leadership what you need to do to get it in the future.
  • Keep asking your clients, your employees and leadership: “What do you need from me?” and “What can I do better?”

When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?

I have a French Bulldog I absolutely adore, so I'm a softy for anything related to pet rescue. And because I live in Los Angeles, finding a solution for homelessness is one of my priorities. Before the pandemic, I would pass out sandwiches or serve food on the holidays. Since I’ve had my daughter, I’m just appreciating every moment I get to spend with her and my husband.

Follow Brandi Britton on LinkedIn.

Meet other Thought Leaders at Robert Half, such as Jason Flanders and Jordan Quigley. And be sure to subscribe to the Robert Half newsletter for future installments of our Q&A series and to discover more unique stories, experiences and perspectives on the latest hiring trends.

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