As a follow-up to our earlier piece regarding changes organizations are facing that may indicate uncertainty about the long-term future to both those internal and external to your company. We’ve touched on ways to ensure you are transparent in the recruiting process when you are committed to adding a full-time employee (FTE) to your high-performance team; however, there are circumstances where it makes sense to forgo hiring an FTE and leverage an interim project professional.
The question begs – in what circumstance and why does it make sense to hire an interim project professional in lieu of an FTE? While the following is not an exhaustive list, it highlights circumstances where it does make sense to critically evaluate the option of hiring a project professional within your finance, accounting, financial systems, or program management office.
Organization is gearing up for a change in ownership, possible structure change
- The organization is preparing itself for a change in ownership and the long-term future of your team structure is in question. In spite of your best efforts, you are not able to make a compelling case to attract the right FTE to your team (the risks outweigh the benefits of your offer of employment), yet the work needs to get done and your team is unable to effectively manage the work without the additional support.
Anticipation of declining revenues or margin leakage, cost containment.
- Through careful planning and forecasting (fact based, of course, not a fear-based) the leadership team agrees that now is the time to eliminate expenses, including open positions (or pause the hiring of open positions) in anticipation of factors that may disrupt the business or have a materially negative impact on its revenues or margins. Sacrificing the hiring of specific roles may immediately reduce company expenses, and it may also inadvertently impact the organization’s ability to deliver positive financial results through the lack of critical capabilities in key processes. The inability to manage costs as a result of poor access to information or the inability to invoice customers and drive collections will have a far greater negative impact than the cost of hiring an interim professional to manage these activities on an as-needed basis.
Finance transformation, change in skills needed.
- The organization is undergoing a finance transformation and there is a material gap in skillset required from the current state to the future state. Hiring an individual to assume responsibility for a position that will materially change in scope, complexity, and activity at the completion of the transformation will leave you with skillset gap that the FTE is unlikely to successfully bridge to meet the needs of your future state.
Cash management, delaying expenses.
- Another benefit organizations realize in hiring interim project professionals is through cash management. The cost of an FTE must be realized as an overhead expense every payroll cycle; however, hiring interim project professionals allows organizations to effectively delay the expense and effectively receive an alternative line of credit from the company through which they are engaging the interim professional.
Rapid results needed, need for speed, delivery, and expertise.
- Hiring an experienced interim project professional gives organizations access to individuals that are accustomed to rapidly integrating into new environments and, through their varied experience, delivering results in condensed timeframes. Given interim project professionals have developed specialized skillsets in specific areas they are also able to contribute to delivering positive contributions to profit margins and identify areas of concern and/or bring new perspective to compliment that of your leadership team. When they have successfully delivered on the priority projects for your team the expense of their time will not be ongoing, unless you can choose to get them involved with other initiatives, either way, you are in control.