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The benefits of contracting in Accounting & Finance and how to secure a role

​The benefits

Immediate Start, Immediate Income, Premium Pay

Traditionally, many accountants have considered contracting work as a last-ditch attempt to secure a role in a competitive market. However, contract roles present many compelling benefits that could help to accelerate your career. Besides the fact that contract work often requires candidates to start immediately (which also means immediate income), these roles usually pay candidates a premium on the usual hourly rate or salary to reflect the short-term nature of the assignment.

Add Depth to your CV

While hiring managers typically look for ‘like-for-like' (e.g., similar skillset, industry experience, position title) when filling permanent positions, they may not have this luxury when filling contract roles. 

Time is of the essence when it comes to contract roles; in this regard, hiring managers are much more likely to opt for a ‘square peg round hole’ approach. This means contract roles are a fantastic opportunity for candidates who may feel stuck in a particular industry or pigeonholed into a niche area (for example, project accounting or fixed asset accounting, etc.)to break out of their moulds. For example, a financial accountant looking to gain more exposure to budgeting/forecasting may find it difficult to find a permanent management accountant role. However, if the candidate were to undertake a 12-month contract as a management accountant, this is likely to set the candidate up for success when applying for permanent roles in future.

Adaptability, Flexibility and Learning Under Pressure

Contract roles are a fantastic way to gain exposure to dynamic and fast-paced environments. Oftentimes, candidates will be required to carry out the role with minimal or no handover, be comfortable making decisions in ambiguous and high-pressure environments and build rapport with their team and their stakeholders in a short amount of time. Therefore, contracting work can help to develop one’s ability to learn quickly under pressure, as well as to be adaptable and flexible. These are skills that are highly regarded by any accounting professional and that can be applied in any accounting role.

Work-life balance

Contract roles usually come with standard working hours and in some cases, increased flexibility, including options for remote work and allowance for school pick-ups and drop-offs. For candidates looking to balance their work commitments with their personal/family responsibilities, contracting work can help you achieve this. 

Networking and career advancement

Every contract is a networking opportunity – each contract offers candidates a chance to interact with and build relationships with key decision-makers and hiring managers, which can open doors to future opportunities within an organisation, or even elsewhere!

Why the hesitation to contract?

The obvious concerns around contracting usually centre around the stability of income, access to leave entitlements/other employee benefits, and job security. It’s understandable that candidates want financial safety, especially if they have dependents and ongoing financial obligations. In relation to concerns around access to leave entitlements and employee benefits, often contract roles will offer premium hourly rates to compensate candidates for the loss of these entitlements.

How can you secure a contract role?

​If you're interested in securing a contract role in accounting and finance, there are two primary avenues you can explore:

Direct applications

Like you do for permanent roles, you can apply directly for contract positions through platforms like SEEK or LinkedIn. This approach allows you to connect directly with potential employers.

Connecting with a recruiter

Connecting with a recruiter offers several advantages when it comes to exploring contracting opportunities. Recruiters often have access to exclusive job opportunities that will never be advertised. By establishing connections with recruiters, you will increase your chances of being contacted about relevant contracting opportunities that align with your skills and preferences.

When you speak to a recruitment consultant, you should share your career aspirations, preferred contract duration, and any other preferences you may have around your working arrangements. This will help your recruitment consultant match you with contract opportunities that best align with your needs.

How can we help you?

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increased demand for contractors in the accounting and finance space has endured. Businesses continue to require temporary support to cover extended annual leave, maternity/paternity leave, etc. Recruiters play a crucial role in connecting candidates with these opportunities. They can also provide guidance on how to refine your resume or prepare for an interview with the client. In that regard, aligning yourself with a recruiter who can represent you when it comes to contracting roles should be at the top of your mind. 

Watch our Hot Tips & Insights video series discussing this topic in our video library.

​​Reach out to me for senior finance opportunities in Melbourne!

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