Has your business been thinking of taking on professional contractors in the finance space? Are you trying to weigh up the pros and cons and make the right decision for your business and teams? Here, Jimmy Sheehan FCPA, Commercial Director with Contracting PLUS gives us an update on the contracting market when it comes to finance contractors.
A Growing Sector
While finance contractors account for just a few hundred of our almost 4,000 active contractors, it is a sector which has been growing at about 10% per annum year on year over 2018 and 2019. This growth dropped to just 6% for the year to July 2020, which is no surprise given the shockwaves the Corona Virus sent through our economy.
Interestingly however, the total new entrants to finance contract roles in August 2020 accounted for 16% of our new business that month.
To put that in context, IT Contractors and Pharma/Med device Contractors accounted for 10% and 22% respectively. These 2 sectors alone typically account for over 50% of all Professional Contractor clients with Contracting PLUS.
A Consistent & Valuable Part of the Workforce
Professional contractors have been a consistent and valuable part of the overall workforce in many companies in Ireland for years. As an accountant myself, and having previously built up and successfully sold my own accountancy practice, I’m somewhat surprised why more companies haven’t yet realised the benefits of using finance professionals on a contract basis!
Outsourced financial control was a substantial part of my own accounting revenue for years, and the reality is while this service was delivered professionally and expertly, for a similar investment, the company could well have contracted a professional accountant who would have been in a position to dedicate more time to the company.
There will always be a place for a company’s external accountant to act as a valuable advisor and an external source that keeps the directors focussed on future profitability, but companies of different sizes can contract in the right advice for certain projects and/or growth spurts.
A Role to Play in All Types of Companies
Whether an early stage start-up, an established company looking to break into new product lines or markets, or just a company who needs a safe pair of hands to oversee the finance function or lead a project, finance professionals can be deployed in many areas of a business as their expertise tends to cover a broad base.
Industries and Roles
There appears to be no one industry dominating the use of finance professionals. They are spread across multiple clients operating in Banking, Insurance, Education, Telecoms, Transport, IT and Pharma. There are also a small cohort of professionals consulting with, or through, some of the top 10 accountancy practices in the country.
The work these individuals are doing covers Accountancy (unsurprisingly) but also Compliance, Risk, Business Analysis and Operations. Accountants it seems are also great Project Managers with over 20% of Finance Professionals listing this as their current role.
New Ideas & Fresh Perspective
The advent of cloud technology means much of the accountancy grunt-work is largely automated, and any 3rd or 4th year trainee accountant worth their salt should be able to pull monthly income statements and balance sheets together for the directors. What they can lack though is the experience and possibly confidence to hold a board of directors to account. This is where a contracted professional can bring new ideas and a fresh perspective.
A Few Insightful Stats
Across all sectors, the ratio of male/female contractors is 74%/26% respectively. However, in finance, the proportion of females accounts for just over 40%.
Given the need to be able to hit the ground running, it’s no surprise that almost 70% of finance contractors are in the 36-55 age group. They have enough experience built up to put themselves forward as a viable alternative to full-time employees or indeed, accountancy practices.
You Can’t Put Profit & Growth On Hold
For companies delaying full-time hires due to economic circumstances I’d strongly suggest considering a contractor. You can’t put profit and growth on hold. Driving forward with new projects and having a focus on constantly improving your business are necessary for survival. Professional finance contractors give you the comfort of not committing to an unknown future without compromising on your strategic plans.
Speak to your recruitment partner about the best way to source and engage a finance professional in a contract role.
About Jimmy Sheehan & Contracting PLUS
Jimmy Sheehan | Commercial Director | Contracting PLUS
Jimmy Sheehan is a Fellow of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA) Ireland and holds a corporate Finance diploma from the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ireland. He also holds a number of qualifications in IT networking, software development and design.
Prior to joining Contracting PLUS as Commercial Director, Jimmy was the Head of Commercial Development with a Top10 Accounting Firm in Ireland and successfully build and sold his own accountancy practice.
Contracting PLUS are Irelands largest and longest established provider of umbrella companies, accounting services and tax advice to professional contractors. When contractors use Contracting PLUS both they, and the clients they work with, can take great comfort in knowing they are tax compliant, have proper commercial insurances in place and have a compliant contract for services. For more information visit www.contractingplus.com.