Accounting job seekers in today’s tight employment market have all the advantages. There are often more jobs than candidates in high-demand specialties, and for accounting temps, there’s free training, health benefits, flexibility in work schedules and the opportunity to transition to full-time staff.

More people are taking note of that last advantage these days.

For Lauren Coker, taking a temporary job as a college student was a way to gain more hands-on experience. Now as senior regional vice president for Robert Half, she sees the bigger picture. “Temp work helps people decide what aspect of accounting they may be interested in, adds to their resumes so they are more attractive to future employers, and, most of all, builds connections for future employment.”

We asked her some questions earlier about what it’s like for companies to hire accounting temps, and today we talk about candidates who take temporary jobs that can morph into full-time staff positions.

For managers: Try Before You Buy: Why More Bosses Are Hiring Temps Full Time.

The advantages for accounting temps

Q: What is it that finance and accounting professionals like about working as temps before they fill full-time staff positions?

Coker: The biggest advantage to the temporary employee is the opportunity to evaluate the work environment and the job itself prior to becoming a full-time employee. When someone takes on temporary work, they have the benefit of still keeping all of their options open as it relates to full-time employment. They also don’t typically feel pressured to get involved in “office politics” and can very objectively evaluate their interest in the role and the company.

It is really the best of both worlds. They have an income, but they also have the chance to make sure it is the right fit before making a commitment to the permanent job. Oftentimes, there are aspects of a job that we don’t know until we actually sit in the seat for a bit, so this gives them the opportunity to “try the job on for size.”

Positions, pay and, sometimes, training

Q. What are some of the positions offered to accounting temps?

Coker: We see a variety of accounting positions at Accountemps and typically have multiple jobs available for different functional roles and within different industries. We see accounts payable/receivable jobs, payroll, collections, bookkeeping, reconciliation projects, staff accountants, financial analysts and senior accountants, just to name a few. We also see various positions in the mortgage/financial space.

Q: Is the pay competitive, and is training ever offered?

Coker: The pay is typically very competitive. I can share that at Accountemps, we are committed to paying competitively, as we know this allows us to attract the best employees in the market and retain them for projects with our customers. With the unemployment rates as low as they are, we have to pay competitively to attract top talent, and our clients need to do the same.

Training is sometimes offered, depending on the company where the person is placed and the role he or she is selected to perform. Most of the time, employers are willing to offer training on the software program or specifics related to their industry; however, if they partner with a specialized firm, such as Accountemps, they expect we will provide someone who is able to hit the ground running.

With that being said, we offer a variety of training resources to our registered candidates to help them make themselves more marketable and to enhance their skill sets. They have access to more than 5,000 training resources online by partnering with us, including the opportunity to learn new software programs. They really love this, because it can make a big difference in helping them land the exact job they have been wanting.

The road to full-time staff position

Q. How much time do accounting temps typically take before they take a full-time role at the company they’re assigned to?

Coker: We are seeing a lot of people being hired in the first one to three months in this market. With the unemployment rates as low as they are, many companies we work with are making the decision to hire full time more quickly than in the past. Each company is different, but many employers realize they need to act faster, because the best people know they have many opportunities in this job market.

Q: Is there a fee for candidates when they make this transition?

Coker: There is no fee to the candidate when they partner with Accountemps for their job search.

The assimilation of accounting temps

Q: Are accounting temps treated differently than full-time staff?

Coker: We often see employers treating temporary employees very similarly to their full-time staff. In fact, most of the time, the temporaries we place are able to assimilate into their environments very quickly and are basically indistinguishable from full-time staff. We see employers treating them as full-time employees, including having them attend office outings, celebrations, lunch gatherings, etc.

Co-workers tend to treat them very similarly to full-time staff, too, and certainly we see the managers interact with them very well if they expect to hire them on a permanent basis. They will recognize them for a job well done, include them in office activities/meetings and also value their opinions when it comes to work-related topics, observations and recommendations.

Obviously, it may not all happen in the first week, but as the person becomes more a part of the culture, they tend to be included more and more.

Read more about the benefits of working as an accounting temp:

Lauren Coker is senior regional vice president for Robert Half in the North and South Carolina region, where she oversees the Accountemps, OfficeTeam, Robert Half Management Resources and Robert Half Finance & Accounting divisions. In her role, Lauren focuses on business development while managing and training the region’s branches. 

Lauren has worked nearly two decades in specialized recruiting. She joined Robert Half in 1999 as a staffing manager and quickly became a division director, followed by the roles of branch manager and regional manager.

She holds a master’s degree in English from East Carolina University as well as a BA in English and government from Wofford College.