More and more companies are turning to finance contractors rather than permanent staff and the trend looks set to continue. With firms looking for contractors at both executive and non-managerial levels, there’s plenty of finance positions for contractors to find.
One of the main reasons behind the drive towards temporary resources is that contractors can provide skills that are not available in-house – it’s the third most popular reason that HR directors give for hiring contractors, behind cost-effectiveness and flexibility. When a project needs someone with a particular set of finance skills, it’s easier to take on a contractor than find a permanent recruit.
So it can pay to have the skills that are in short supply. But which ones? These finance skills and proficiencies are ones that ContractingWISE’s finance contractors are finding the most useful this year, with a mix of technical financial skills and broader interpersonal business skills high on the agenda.
New reporting standards
UK GAAP was withdrawn by the Financial Reporting Council in January and now businesses are governed by FRS 102. Small and medium-sized enterprises need to adapt their accounting procedures to deal with this change so, people with a demonstrable technical understanding of FRS 102 are in demand this year.
Big data has been a theme of business for some time now, but there are no signs that companies’ appetite for data analytics is waning. In a financial context, this means understanding your data sources and finding ways of matching them to sources in other areas so that your clients can be more in tune with changes in their customers’ needs.
Technical skills are important, but companies place a high value on people who can see how their function fits into the rest of the business operation. The ability to drill down into figures to understand how that translates into the commercial realities facing the sales force or other functions. Additionally, professionals with interpersonal skills and a commercial background are sought after.
Although it’s possible to get by with a purely technical focus, businesses value contractors who have a good understanding of negotiation and business partnering issues, particularly in an international context where different standards of finance reporting and accountancy exist. Language skills are always a plus, but understanding the culture and context of finance in other territories can be a key marketable skill.
This is always a hot topic for businesses that seek to reduce their overheads by contracting out functions to overseas territories. But this comes with potential pitfalls and hidden costs that can often only be overcome with some experience of foreign markets. The process of taking part or all of a function into an offshore jurisdiction is one that requires people with specialist knowledge.
The aftermath of the global financial crisis continues to affect the financial sector with regulation remaining a top priority for government and international bodies. Experience of dealing with regulators and understanding what their red flags are is important for companies of all sizes, but particularly for SMEs, which often do not have much in-house experience of these issues.
Linked to regulation is the growing risk management industry, with companies looking for an ever-greater focus on risk – both the potential liabilities of taking risks but also the opportunities afforded in new areas. Whether you have experience using financial instruments to deal with credit risk, market risk or foreign exchange risk, you are likely to be in demand.
Finance contracting is a growing area of the market with plenty of opportunities for motivated individuals who have in-depth experience. Re-focusing your CV to cover some of these areas is likely to pay dividends for the short- and medium-term.
If you’re a finance professional looking for the next step, get in touch with our team at ContractingWISE to get a referral to one of the hand-picked recruitment agencies that we work with.