It is 4pm on Friday and the senior financial analyst at your Toronto-based company just resigned. Normally you wouldn’t panic, but as the Controller, you know that Monday is the beginning of quarter-end at your company. To make the situation even worse, your team is already overloaded because you didn’t receive approval to replace a team member who was promoted.
That additional stress on your small, but dedicated, team could cause one of them to “pop” and you just can’t take that chance. You are in desperate need of a accounting contractor. After all, you will be the one working until the wee hours of the morning to close the quarter if someone else leaves.
After all, you will be the one working until the wee hours of the morning to close the quarter if someone else leaves.
With a brave face on, you walk upstairs to your CFO, a chartered accountant with over 15 years in manufacturing, and pitch him the idea of bringing in a contract resource to help out. You know a few contract recruitment agencies for accountants and you want to call them as soon as possible. Your CFO listens carefully, evaluating your idea for a new hire in your finance team, as you pour your heart and soul into the message, which happens to be one part sales pitch and another part desperation.
As the last words leave your mouth, you look into his eyes and watch as he cocks his head to the side, a signal that tells you he is thinking through what you have said. He starts to nod his head and speaks slowly, “All right, I think you do need some help for the next few months while we figure out what the permanent headcount should be.” You exhale loudly, not realizing that you have been holding your breath and listen as he continues, “You are going to have to promise me that you will look for the following three things in the contractor you bring in.”
Look for the following three things in the contractor you bring in.
You begin to nod, willing to agree to anything he stipulates so that you can get the work done that you need to. Your CFO knows this and he struggles to suppress a chuckle as you nod your head. He says, “Hiring a contractor is different from hiring a permanent employee. With a permanent employee you want someone who is going to grow into his role and develop with the organization. With a contractor, you want someone who has “been there and done that” before. You want someone who is slightly overqualified for the position, so that he can ramp up quickly with minimal supervision as you and your team are already short-handed.”
Hire someone who is slightly over-qualified for the accounting contractor position as you and your team are already short-handed and you cannot afford to spend time training on fundamentals.
He continues, “Since you are hiring a senior financial analyst, make sure that you get someone who has used the same systems that we have here. As a rule of thumb, the closer the job is to analyst or accountant level, the more important it is that the candidate has worked with similar systems. I know that you need someone quickly, but the person who is leaving us was responsible for pulling data and performing analysis using different tools. You don’t have as much experience with those systems as a supervisor, so you are going to need someone who is technologically savvy”
Ensure that accounting contractors have worked with the same systems. As a rule of thumb, the closer the position is to the analyst or accountant level, the more important the systems experience becomes.
After watching you absorb the information, your CFO continues, “In my time I have seen good contractors and bad contractors managing teams and I can tell you how to spot the good ones. Look for resumes that have contract lengths longer than three months and absolutely avoid contractors whose resumes are a string of one and two month contract engagements. The great ones tend to get their contracts extended as the employer sees the value that they are driving. Just think, if we hire people who are fantastic, are we not going to find ways to keep them around? I am sure that there are some exceptions to this rule, but it is a great guide.”
Hire contractors who have worked in contracts that are longer than three months and avoid the resumes that are filled with contracts lasting one and two months. Great people tend to get their contracts extended.
There is silence in the room as you process the new information. It all seems to make sense to you and you cannot find any flaws in the logic. Nodding, you look up and let your CFO know that you are going to follow his advice. If you hurry, you can get in touch with your “go-to” accounting
agencies before they leave for the weekend.