Advice for you from a successful senior accountancy interim

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Last week I met with one of my favourite candidates, Joe – an ACA qualified accountant who was a Career Interim. He has successfully completed multiple interim roles over the past 20 years, he has worked for top blue chip companies, been directly involved in mergers and acquisitions within SMEs, travelled the world to complete projects, helped start up and wind down business – Joe had had a really prosperous and exciting career and is now settling for early retirement. To be honest Joe had worked for no more than 6 months of the year for the past couple of years! The rest of his time he spent at his holiday home in France, travelling the world or cycling. Joe had carefully selected his interim assignments ensuring he got involved in the most exciting projects and also ones that carefully matched his skill set which enabled him to charge a higher day rate and as a consequence he could afford to work only part of the year! And of course fund the family holidays….

I have known Joe for many years and decided to have a chat with him (swiftly before his 2pm round of golf) to see what he would class as the single most important part of building such a successful career, something that could help my other interim candidates starting out in their interim careers.

His answer: “Reputation. Reputation is everything!”

Further to my conversation with Joe I have put together 3 tips on building up your reputation in the market place;

1. Always leave an assignment on good terms. This comes in many forms; from ensuring you are clear about your leaving date to ensuring that you do a proper hand over or even have a goodbye drink with colleagues. It’s really easy to forget when you are coming to the end of an assignment and you have a shiny new role to go to but these little bits really make a difference to your name in the market place. It is something simple that can have a significant impact, I’ve taken so many references where a candidate has done a great job but not finished off on a high note and it’s competently tarnished the otherwise fantastic reference. People in the finance world move around a lot, you never know when you might cross paths with someone again and people know other people in finance (I’ve heard myself many times – oh yes he used to work with my friend xxx I’ll call him to see what he thought of the candidate and get back to you about a possible interview).

2. Make sure your objectives are clear at the start of the assignment. Sit down with your manager and get these in writing. This way when you leave the assignment it is clear which objectives you have hit. Interim roles can often be last minute to help out during a busy time or crisis so there can be a tendency to just get stuck in. Setting objectives can ensure you can work with autonomy and when you leave your success within the role will be clear. Many times I have spoken to people who genuinely believe they have done a fantastic job, but when I reference them it is a slightly different story. This is unnecessarily tarnishing your reputation; setting objectives and getting agreement on them can ensure you avoid this.

3. Shout about it. So you did a great job, left on good terms and you’re building up a great reputation- now you just need everyone to know! One simple way of doing this is via LinkedIn. If you don’t have a profile set one up, don’t worry it’s easy to do and you can ask your employer, agency contact or colleague to do a testimonial. This will help build your online presence and reputation.

I hope this helps you on your interim career journey.

I am an expert recruiter of senior Interim Finance and Accounting professionals in the East Midlands; at BTG Recruitment we have been securing accountant roles for over 12 years. Feel free to call me anytime to discuss and for any recruitment related advice and help. I am in the office 8.30am – 8pm on 01159607000 and outside of these hours on 07805143929. I can be reached outside of work hours for a confidential chat.

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