The annual closing period fast approaching, it is known for bringing on a lot of additional stress to accounting professionals. But this known busy period doesn’t necessarily need to be associated with extra tension.
Hiring an interim professional is an easy way for you to provide immediate relief to your staff.
Els Van Der Veken, Associate Director at Walters People, shares 5 tips on how hiring an interim finance professional can help you and your staff members get through the end of the year period smoothly.
1. Start recruiting early
In order to ensure the closing process runs smoothly, your accounting department will need to start prepping during the beginning of December. Pending outgoing and incoming invoices need to be checked and taken into account, amends in supplies and transferable costs for the following year can be forecasted. Els: “If you are considering to hire an interim finance employee to support your accounting team, November is the ideal time to start interviewing candidates and welcoming them on board. By hiring someone in November, you can make sure they will have successfully finished their initial training and will be fully optimal to start working on the annual closing as soon as December comes around.”
2. Provide support to daily accounting tasks
Increased stress levels, frequent overtime and decreased energy levels, the annual closing can bring on a lot of additional work to your accounting staff, making it hard for them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. “You can also hire an interim finance professional to solely take over some daily accounting tasks such as preparing and booking invoices, inputting bank statements, following-up on payments etc…, so your permanent employees can fully focus on the annual closing itself”, explains Els.
If you are considering to hire an interim finance employee to support your accounting team in the year-end closing, November is the ideal time to start interviewing candidates and welcoming them on board.
3. Cover sick leaves
Besides helping out with daily routine tasks, experienced staff can be needed to cover for illnesses. Els: “Every year, many organisations come to us when they are urgently looking for a senior accountant because one of their own accountants has been ill and caused them to fall behind on their annual closing. Although it isn’t easy to find an experienced and immediately available accountant during one of the busiest times of the year, you can rely on our team of consultants to find the right accountant with the necessary experience to ensure you do not have any delays”.
4. Don’t underestimate students and graduates
Although December and January are usually busy months for students because of exams, there are always a number of finance students and recent graduates available. The benefit of hiring a student or recently graduated professional is that they are immediately available and have the required basic knowledge to be able to help out with many tasks. “Another – and often forgotten – benefit is that graduates are eager to learn and evolve quickly. They are thankful for all the professional experience they can receive and aren’t afraid to jump head first into a new project. It’s exactly this kind of enthusiasm and dedication that is more than welcomed during this labour intensive and stress-inducing period”, says Els.
5. Extend interim contracts until January
The actual closing takes place in January, so extra help during this month can be beneficial as well. “Besides managing the preparations for the new financial year, an interim finance professional can also continue to take over the daily accounting tasks so that permanent staff can finish the annual closing process and roll out the necessary reporting. “We advise our clients to keep interim employees on board well into the month of January so that the new year can start off as smoothly as possible”, says Els. If the annual closing is finished before the end of the month, you can always choose to end the assignment sooner and only pay for the period where support is actually required.
Could your accounting department use some support during the annual closing?
Our consultants have a network of experienced and available interim finance professionals ready to assist you. Contact one of our offices today to find out more.