The growing skills gap continues to be a headache for recruiters and hiring managers across the country. In order to have talent demands met, companies are now turning to consultants to help fill the void where skilled workers are scarce.
A new Robert Half Management Resources survey reveals 50% of CFOs plan to bring in these professionals for business systems and performance improvement initiatives over the next 12 months. Additional areas requiring consultants include finance and accounting (39%) and taxation (37%).
Interim professionals deliver a number of benefits to companies, CFOs reported. Most notably, financial executives said working with consultants offers firms on-demand access to experienced professionals with hard-to-find, specialized skills and helps facilitate knowledge transfer and staff development.
CFOs were asked, “In which of the following areas is your company likely to bring in financial consultants or project professionals in the next 12 months?” Their responses:*
- Business systems and performance improvement (50%)
- Finance and accounting (39%)
- Taxation (37%)
- Risk, governance, and compliance (36%)
- Finance optimization (36%)
CFOs were also asked about the business benefits of working with financial consultants or project professionals. Their responses:*
- Access to experienced professionals with hard-to-find skills (46%)
- Access to experienced professionals on demand (43%)
- Tapping specialized expertise (42%)
- Facilitating knowledge transfer and professional development for full-time staff (40%)
- Support for special projects (39%)
- Alleviating the burden on full-time employees (35%)
- Addressing workload spikes (28%)
*Multiple responses were permitted for both questions.
“Digital transformation initiatives are driving demand for business systems and financial consultants,” says Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “Finance functions are expanding their responsibilities, yet often lack the staff to tackle new work and unexpected events. In response, finance leaders turn to experienced interim professionals and external firms for assistance with both high-profile initiatives and day-to-day needs. Consultants can deliver in-demand knowledge and skills when needed, for as long as needed.”
Hird adds that this flexible staffing strategy is part of a new labor model and attractive to both employers and professionals. “Finance leaders gain access to an agile solution, while consultants enjoy greater flexibility in engagements and exposure to different industries and companies.”
Robert Half Management Resources highlights finance and accounting consulting options available to companies:
- Project and interim professionals—Consultants cover essential roles and support key projects. They are instrumental in moving initiatives forward when companies are confronted with personnel gaps.
- Consultant teams—Larger initiatives, such as a system implementation or transitioning to the new lease accounting standard, require a broader range of resources and expertise. A team of interim professionals can support a strategic initiative or assist with the work of core staff dedicated to the project.
- Long-term and recurring consultants—Companies work with professionals for cyclical and regularly occurring needs, such as year-end close. This promotes staff continuity and operational stability on longer-term projects.
- Managed services—Managed business services providers assist with major and one-off initiatives and oversee entire functions. They analyze operations, identify needs and deliver specialized staffing resources.