Bringing in temporary help is becoming a more common staffing solution for many accounting and finance departments, especially in accounts payable (A/P), accounts receivable (A/R) and general accounting.
According to Benchmarking Accounting & Finance Functions: 2019, a joint study released by Robert Half and Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), 42% of U.S. businesses use interim staff in their accounting and finance teams — up from 28% in 2018. Financial executives report that 5% of their staff are temporary or project professionals.
"With very low unemployment, it's challenging to find candidates for open positions, but the work still needs to get done,” said Michael Steinitz, senior executive director of Accountemps. “Temporary staffing is part of a new labor model for business — with the ability to bridge gaps during full-time hiring searches and leaves of absence, ease workloads, and help prevent burnout.”
Some firms rely on temporary help for peak periods, but it’s a misconception to assume that’s the only reason. Read on for four other ways employers are using temps in accounting and finance to offer value:
1. Trying out a potential new hire
Executives often like to bring in potential hires on a temporary basis for what becomes, in essence, a tryout period. If the person is a good fit for the job and the organization, they extend a full-time offer at the end of the contract. Certainly, this type of arrangement can be a hiring strategy to help companies avoid a bad hire. But it’s also a way to discover valuable skills and qualities in contingent staff that make them even more attractive as potential new hires.
2. Evaluating workloads
As they grow, many companies use temporary-to-hire arrangements to assess whether the workload can sustain a full-time hire. They bring in a project professional, and if the person stays busy for an extended period of time, they transition the job into a full-time role.
View an infographic of Accountemps survey findings on trends in temporary employment.
3. Filling in for an employee on long-term leave
Firms also use accounting temps to fill in while workers are on leave. When an employee takes extended time off — whether to take care of a newborn baby or aging parent or because of an illness — the remaining staff that has to take on the person’s workload can quickly get overwhelmed. The help of project staff can alleviate the burden and lower the chance of burnout.
4. Providing expertise for a project
Temporary help can also be used for specific projects that require certain expertise, such as an upgrade of an enterprise resource planning system. One company might use accounting temps to help with the financial aspects of a large-scale project while another might bring them in to help complete a sale of the business or a transition into a private or public company.
Are you ready to bring in accounting temps?
The Benchmarking survey show that smaller firms (those with $99 million or less in revenue) have made notable increases in the use of temporary staffing over the past year. Small businesses often lack large, in-house human resources (HR) departments, but with the use of a specialized staffing agency, they can quickly and cost-effectively access in-demand expertise.
Do you need someone who can propel you forward in your business and make sure you meet your goals throughout the year? We can help! Check out the temporary roles we place now!