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Employer insights

Year End Again!

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by Mark Smith

7 months ago

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Strangely, I am always reminded of The Walking Dead TV series when I think of finance professionals and accountants at financial year end.

I can almost hear the high pitched squeal of zombies as the deadline to financial year end fast approaches. It is true, that this time of year always presents a challenge for finance and accounting teams, but it is also described as being ‘part of the job’. Does this have to be true? In my experience recruiting accountants since 1994, I don’t think it always has to be a horror.

Year end always presents a challenge requiring far more resources than at other times of the year. The resources I am referring to are not limited to the time needed by accountants, but also intellectual and reference resources to ensure compliance to tax legislation or changes to accounting standards. I understand that in recent times,  revenue recognition is one of the biggest changes to the standards.

Outsourcing has been a ‘trend’ word that seems to have lost its impact recently and now, on occasion, even has a negative connotation. It is often connected to repetitive or first level customer service roles or referring to the relocation of job roles offshore.  However, the concept of outsourcing can be applied on a shorter timescale to projects or events such as year end. Hiring an interim finance professional or even a temporary financial accountant or reconciliations specialist could be the solution to the trauma of year end. It is absolutely possible to bring in short term resources in accounting and finance to assist at busy times. The level of these resources can stretch from qualified accountants, interim Finance leaders with years of post-qualification experience or fresh graduates who could assist at less experienced levels.

Probably the main reasons given for not hiring in temporary or interim resources is the time that it takes to train your new temporary hires.

“I don’t have time to train anyone, I am too busy”

This certainly makes sense if you are applying them to bespoke or custom tasks unique to your organisation. The best practice, however, is to apply the resources to routine tasks or to matters where there is a skills’ gap in your organization. This can be revenue recognition standards, which I believe is new at the time of writing. Hiring in a temporary resource means you can focus on higher level or more critical tasks, meeting deadlines more efficiently or even streamlining processes.

Interestingly, in the 2019 people2people post, our annual salary and market update, accountants were asked if they were planning to upgrade, or have just changed systems and over 52% of respondents said ‘yes’. An amazing number! With that many new systems installed, I am sure additional resources at year end would be well received. You can request your own copy of the post to be delivered by one of our consultants to you, personally.

What about the cost? I won’t go into that in this post but I have written on this in the past. Here is a link. 

 

So next time you hear those squeals and feel the doom of an approaching year end, it could be hiring interim resources or temps that saves the day and your peace of mind.

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