Many accounting and finance organizations need the help of talented professionals with specific subject matter expertise to contribute to or manage complex projects. But often they don’t have the budget — or the ongoing need — to hire these individuals on a full-time basis. Bringing in a finance consultant or another type of interim management professional is an effective way to fill these skills gaps as needed. 

In fact, engaging a finance consultant is a strategy many businesses are employing. A Robert Half Management Resources survey found more than half (57 percent) of CFOs plan to bring in financial consultants for finance and accounting projects. Organizations are also anticipating working with project professionals for initiatives around business systems and performance improvement, taxation, risk and compliance , and finance optimization.

Although hiring a finance consultant or project professional can be a logical staffing solution for many firms, managers need to take steps to ensure these arrangements will be successful — both for the business and the consultant. Here’s how to do just that: 

Communicate the details of the project

Managers need to make it clear from the start what the company wants to accomplish. Good communication is pivotal. Lack of clarity around goals can undermine a finance consultant’s productivity and leave that person feeling detached from the organization and its objectives. Fitting into the workplace culture , collaborating successfully with other employees and understanding expectations are crucial if interim professionals are going to achieve the objectives set before them. 

Consider the consultant's professional goals

Professionals often develop new skills and broaden their professional experience by pursuing project work. And many accounting and finance professionals become consultants specifically because they seek diverse assignments and a wide range of work experiences. Clearly show how opportunities with your firm can help them advance their professional development. 

Leave the door open for full-time hiring

Having a skilled interim management professional become a full-time hire can save time and resources if your firm decides to add staff in the future. You’ll be able to secure talented professionals who are already familiar with the expectations and unique culture of your firm, which means they can start contributing to the business faster — and, likely, with less training. 

Working with a finance consultant can be an effective way for firms to operate at full capacity when internal resources are limited or otherwise insufficient. But this strategy is only effective if the business leaders know how to integrate these professionals seamlessly into the work environment.

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