Three key tips for hiring temporary employees in accountancy and finance 

6 min read | Karen Young, Director of Hays Accountancy & Finance UK&I | Article | Recruiting | Temporary and contract hiring

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Learn how temporary employees can bring your finance or accountancy business a range of benefits. Karen Young, Director of Hays Accountancy & Finance, tells us more.  


Accountancy and finance temporary employees: Key insights

Twenty years ago, when I started my career in accountancy and finance recruitment, the use of temporary accountancy and finance professionals would typically peak towards the end of the financial year. 

Now, due to increasing automation, the reasons for using finance temps and interims have changed. The requirement for year-end support still exists in many companies, but the demand for temps remains strong across the board. 

Accountancy and finance temporary employees typically help with:

  • The increasing amount of legislation and regulation affecting accountancy and finance functions
  • Implementing high-level financial reporting changes
  • Freeing up existing staff from day-to-day needs to concentrate on larger tasks.


Accountancy and finance temporary employees: Background

Similarly, during large-scale projects such as mergers, acquisitions or disposals, qualified accountancy temps may prove invaluable. Temps may not necessarily head the projects themselves, but they’ll take line management or day-to-day jobs to release colleagues.

Fluctuations in the wider economic landscape also impact the need for finance and accountancy temps. Following a period of uncertainty after the EU referendum, there has been a sustained period of greater confidence in corporate finance. But the template for how a business will be structured may change quickly. 
As such, there is often a need to hire senior finance professionals on a short-term basis. These temporary hires can ensure that certain roles exist in the future, and help define their remits.

However, whilst there has been renewed confidence in corporate finance, an environment of change continues in the public sector. Cost-saving also clearly remains a high priority. As a result, we often see temporary accountancy and finance professionals on the front line. 

So, how can you use temporary employees to benefit your company? When it comes to hiring accountancy and finance temps, we typically promote three pieces of advice:

1. Ensure your temps aren’t knowledge silos

If you are planning to implement a new system, such as ERP software or a major systems change, consider hiring a specialist implementation interim. But, in doing this, you run the risk that they take this knowledge with them when they leave. 

Instead, try putting a valued member of your current management team on this project. You can use temporary employees to backfill their line management duties, if needed.

Your current employee will likely relish the opportunity. You’ll also help develop their skills and promote talent retention. What’s more, you’ll keep those skills within the company, rather than losing them after the project.

2. Planning in advance is vital

There is fierce competition for interim and contract accountancy and finance professionals. As such, hiring temps can no longer be seen as a knee-jerk reaction. Put bluntly, if you leave it too late, you will not be able to secure top talent for your roles. 

For example, if you are looking to reach certain cash collection targets in time for your end of the financial year, look at what these targets are early. Then, carefully map out your resources and current capabilities. 

At Hays, our team would typically meet in January each year to review their cash targets. They would then plan the resources required for a successful June year-end. Bringing support on board in February or March would enable any temp hire to collect cash in time – adding value to the business immediately.

By anticipating the need for a temp in advance, you are more likely to hire the best. Talking to an expert finance recruiter can help. You will plan how early you should start looking for a particular skill set and find the right candidate. 

3. Streamline your processes

When it comes to hiring specialist accountancy temps, one more message is vital: act quickly. Unless for a very senior role, be sure not to follow your usual recruitment process. Avoid holding multiple interviews and assessments or having long waiting times before selecting a candidate.

Instead, work to a fast, well-organised turnaround model. Rely on a recruiter to find established, trusted and qualified candidates, and do not hold more than one interview – if you interview at all. 

Once you find the right person, approach them immediately. The competition for talent is intense in this field – delaying may lose you your ideal candidate at a time when you need them most.


Accountancy and finance temporary employees: Next steps for your business

A skilled accountancy and finance temp gives you support during crucial periods. They help free up key staff, assist with projects and fill gaps at the right time. To find your perfect temp remember to:

  • Plan ahead
  • Recruit quickly
  • Keep knowledge in-house where possible.

For more information or to discuss your temporary employment needs, please contact your local consultant.


About this author

Karen Young

Karen is a director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of 400 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across 100 UK offices. 

With 20 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors. She is also a trusted industry voice on career planning and market insights.

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