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Accounting Hiring Trends - the Rise of Contracting

Recruitment Consultant Matthew Moan

Throughout 2018 and again in 2019 we've seen an uptake in our flexible talent solutions, including temp and contract accounting professionals.

Flexible talent offers a more dynamic workforce and gives flexibility to both employer and employee. For employers, they get access to great talent - often within a very short time period. While for employees flexible working gives a better work-life balance and more varied opportunities.

To get an insight into the market we spoke to Matthew Moan, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Cpl Finance who specialises in temp and contract roles, about the opportunities of hiring contractors and the current trends within the industry.

Can you tell me a little about your background in finance?

I was always very involved in business and entrepreneurship through various groups in school, so I decided to study business and economics in DCU.

It gave me a brilliant grounding in the world of business and finance including accounting, statistical analysis and marketing.

After graduation, I travelled for a year and then got into Recruitment. It was an easy decision and suited my personality, skills and knowledge of finance.

What are some of the trends you've noticed recently in the accounting contract space in Dublin?

Contract accounting is booming at the minute. This is down to a few different factors and most recently Brexit.

Employers are moving a lot more to temp and contract labour. It gives employers added security and greater flexibility in terms of headcount.

With Brexit looming and other economic factors affecting the labour force, temp and contract also allows employers to deploy additional staff to certain parts of the business at short notice.

It means that a business can take on very specialist workers for specific needs on short notice for a defined period, adding immediate benefits.

Another noticeable trend would be much faster temp to perms. Meaning a business is taking on a temporary employee, seeing their benefit and creating a permanent role for them.

Good talent is always hard to come by and once a strong employee starts on a temporary basis, the business is increasingly reluctant to let them leave.

What are the benefits of hiring contract/temp workers, over permanent employees?

If your business is seasonal, for example, car rental companies, you can add extra resources to your team quickly for a specific period.

The contract recruitment process also tends to be a lot faster. Some companies have a lengthy interview process that could take one or two months to get someone on board.

With temp staff, the employee is ultimately a Cpl employee and a worker can be on-site in as little as a few hours.

Temp and contract staff are also a valuable resource when you need cover for an employee who is out on maternity leave or extended sick leave.

In the past, this burden may have fallen on other staff but now, with the option for contingent labour, a business can get cover while employees are out.

What kind of companies can benefit from hiring contract workers, what kind of clients do you typically work with?

Any company can benefit from temp and contract workers. It's a very universal labour model, there are no restrictions. We work with all types of companies from small family-run businesses to large multinationals.

Some companies use contingent labour as their main strategy, employing large numbers of temp staff to fill out teams, this tends to be larger companies such as pharma and tech.

Whereas smaller SME's would hire contract workers for more specific needs such as year-end or a new internal project.

Have you noticed any changes in what candidates are looking for in an employer?

Wellness and benefits are huge at the minute. People are looking to the future a lot more and benefits such as healthcare, pension, dental and wellness are becoming more important in comparison to money.

Softer benefits such as free breakfast, lunch and dinner are also a big draw for the emerging workforce. They're spending more time in work and tend to be living busier lifestyles, so it saves them time.

A lot of companies have become very clued into this and offer these benefits to their temp and contract staff as well as their permanent staff. This is a huge step forward and promotes a much more inclusive workforce.

Cpl offer contract, temp and perm employees - how does the hiring process work in terms of temp workers? (payment etc.) Can you describe the process a client might expect to go through?

Permanent and contract staff are hired on to the client's payroll as a direct employee, so once the candidate is hired, they are their employee.

Whereas with temp, the employee remains a Cpl employee, reducing the businesses headcount which is another benefit for some clients.

With this the candidate will submit a weekly timesheet with all hours worked and Cpl will then bill the client. The bill amount factors in all statutory charges such as PRSI, holiday pay, bank holiday pay etc so all the work is taken away from our clients.

The interview process tends to be much faster than traditional permanent interviews. We will call and cover the candidate on the role and then invite them in for a Cpl screening.

Once this is done the CV is sent to the client and they will either take them on our recommendation or what tends to happen is they will do a short one round interview and decide.

What about contractor rates, is hiring contract workers much more expensive for employers?

No, absolutely not. When you take on a contractor through Cpl, we incorporate all additional costs into our final bill rate so although the cost initially seems high per hour, there will be no additional cost associated with the employee.

Have you noticed any noticeable impact from the rise of automation and the disappearance of manual processes?

Yes, in certain areas automation has decreased headcount. In very repetitive roles it has drastically improved turnaround times on invoices and PO's.

There still needs to be a human aspect in these areas to check all the work and approve what's been done but it has cut down certain team sizes such as Accounts Payable and Payroll.

On the other hand, it has given rise to other areas in IT for example and brought about some more added senior roles to oversee these processes.

If you'd like to learn more about hiring an accountant as a contractor or flexible working solutions please get in touch - [email protected]