Looking for flexibility and challenges? Working as a temporary worker in the accounting industry can be the answer for both.
It's the first day of school and the lunch bags are lined up on the kitchen table. Sara has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (with the crusts trimmed off, of course). Johnny's having a bologna sandwich. The next bag contains a chicken Caesar salad. That one's mom's. While the kids are going back to school today, she's starting a new work assignment. As a contract accountant, she could take the summer off. But now it's back to work.
But it isn't just stay-at-home moms who enjoy the benefits of contract work. Those who want variety and challenge in their careers are taking advantage of the opportunities. Even companies who were initially skittish about temp workers have embraced the business model.
"The biggest benefit is flexibility," says Ryan Evers, Accountemps division director in Bloomington. "You could work a six-month engagement, and then take time off to travel. You could take the summer off."
Contract work also gives accountants the chance to challenge themselves with new projects and work environments.
"People want to feel challenged and appreciated," says Amy Langer, president of Minneapolis staffing service SALO. "People who thrive in those environments are hooked by temporary work."
If an accountant doesn't have a particular skill but wants to develop it, temporary agencies can help the worker build those skills with in-house training. They can also strategically place workers in assignments to help build the desired ability.
"If somebody comes to us and they say they want a skill, we can market them to a client and help them learn that skill," says Evers.
"Most people like the challenge and like the new environment," says Langer.
One such person is Christine Erickson, a contractor for SALO. A contract accountant for seven years, she gave up the full-time life because she got bored doing the same job.
"If there wasn't anything new or a promotion and the chance to do something new, I wasn't happy," says Erickson. "Now, I'm effectively doing a new job every so often, but I'm working for the same company."It's invaluable because I'm getting experience I wouldn't normally be able to get," she adds. "It's allowed me to work in all levels of an organization."
"The demand for contract accountants is largely due," says Langer, " to companies being hesitant to add part- and flex-time positions. Also, they have recently embraced the notion of hiring contractors during busy times."
"Once companies realized they can get talent from us, (they appreciate it)" observes Langer. "They can keep their staff thin and use contractors to help with the ebb and flow of their work."
There's good news for accountants considering working in a contract capacity - there's plenty of work and will probably be busy for a long time to come.
"We are still seeing demand for accountants being incredibly high," says Langer. "We don't see it changing for the next eight to 10 years."