The lead up to the annual closing period can be a hectic time for organisations and is known for bringing on a lot of additional stress to accounting professionals. But this  busy period doesn’t always need to be associated with extra tension.

An easy way to ease additional stress during this period is to hire an interim professional to provide immediate relief to you and your staff.

Sarah Owen, Director at Walters People Ireland, 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. Prepare to recruit well in advance 

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. 

“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", says Owen. 

2. Introduce additional support 

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. Owen explains: “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”.

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. Consider graduates and students

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 Owen.

4. Contract Extensions 

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 Owen.  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.

5. Anticipate sick leave

Besides helping out with daily routine tasks, experienced staff can be needed to cover for illnesses. Owen says:  “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". 

Could your accounting department use some support during the annual closing? Contact Walters People today to assist you with your search.

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