The Gig Economy is here and growing, with no sign of any halt soon. In an increasingly ‘connected’ world it has become much easier, for those who are so inclined, to sell their goods (think Etsy, eBay and Amazon) or services (think Uber and Airbnb) directly to an end user. This has in turn spawned a whole host of Micro Entrepreneurs who have chosen to shun the shackles of traditional employment and ‘go it alone’ within the free market.
There’s certainly something empowering about the concept of Gig work, although of course, as with any world where you are your own boss, there are associated risks. Typically to be successful you will need to be disciplined, highly organised and extremely adaptable.
The lure of such a system seems pretty clear; choose to work when you want and regain work/life balance, have as much variation as you desire, and choose organisations with goals which align to your own. With the gig economy, the rules of engagement have changed, employees gain more control over their career path, their working week, and essentially their levels of satisfaction at work. Sites such as Fiverr and Gigbucks have empowered users to obtain ‘project work’ by the hour and as we move through the economic uncertainty in the wake of Brexit, who know how popular this route may become?
Will this really impact on the world of Accountancy Practice?
In an Industry where the current market is already extraordinarily ‘candidate driven’ and we are seeing an inordinate amount of movement of employees between firms. We are also noting changes in the way that the terms of employment are negotiated, with employees in the driving seat more than ever before. There is a disparity between the demand for skilled and experienced accountants and the supply of individuals available, which has forced salaries skyward.
Whilst currently we are more familiar with seeing project or contract roles within Industry Finance, and IT positions, it could in part be a model which benefits both Employer and Employee in Practice.
Could this benefit my career?
We are not suggesting for a minute that within Accountancy practice the traditional 9-5 job is on its way out, or that it’s not a perfectly sensible career route for the majority. Nor are we saying that in the UK we are quite in a position where accountants can readily earn a crust within practice via an ‘on demand’ model as per Uber.
However, we are seeing more and more of our clients thinking differently about the way that they manage their practice, and many are indeed embracing the use of short and long-term contract workers. Sometimes this can be to cover peak periods, other-times to help them deal with specific projects or to ‘buy in’ a specific skill set to support with a particular client (rather than lose said client). As a qualified accountant, auditor or tax professional this could present an interesting opportunity.
Consider these points and decide for yourself:
- To progress to most senior level roles, you will need to demonstrate a breadth of skills. Sometimes it is easy to get ‘pigeon holed’ within the job you are in and to feel that your role is too narrow. Working on various contract assignments can give you exposure to diverse types of work and access to the knowledge of more mentors than you would generally gain within a singular practice.
- Clients will often pay a premium hourly rate for contract roles as it is seen as a necessary evil to deal with the issue at hand. It also costs them much less than it would in lost fee income if the work just didn’t get done due to skill or staff shortage
- If you are unsure on the next step in your overall career this can provide a way of gaining lots of experiences quite quickly. It may even hook you up inadvertently with a more permanent dream job and/or help to clarify the path which is best for you
- If you are lacking in commercial knowledge this can provide access to a wider range of clients, industries and projects than you would gain in the same time period spent within just one practice
- It is possible to work for 6 months then take a month-long sabbatical without impacting on your employ-ability (something you cannot easily do in most permanent roles). For those who love to travel this could be an ideal way to fund it
- If you don’t feel challenged in your current role this is an effective way of breaking out of your comfort zone. Moving between a number of assignments over a 1-2-year period creates a situation where you will automatically up your ‘soft skills’ and see increased personal development
*This route is not for everyone so we would advise you to speak with a reputable recruiter first.
Be strategic in your approach
If you are thinking of dipping your toe into ‘Gig’ work or even setting yourself up as self-employed it’s important to make sure that you choose your initial ‘gigs’ or ‘projects’ carefully. It also might be helpful initially to choose longer term contracts so that you can gain a smoother transition between permanent employment to working on projects and placements. This can feel a bit ‘safer’ and help you to adjust your thinking.
In an ideal world, each placement should ‘add’ something to your skill-set and/or range of experience;
- Take some time out to think about where your knowledge gaps are, what skills do you need to take you to the next level and where will you get access to those earning opportunities?
- Consider where there are skills gaps, in your practice and in the wider marketplace. Can you use a ‘gig’ to position yourself as an expert in a niche field where there is currently a lack of expertise?
- Which firm ‘brands’ will elevate your CV and improve your reputation?
- Are there niche Industries which would be useful to gain experience within?
- Is the ‘gig’ a large project which means you utilising your problem-solving skills?
- Will it provide you with a great ‘War story’ to include on your CV or share at future interviews?
How can we help?
Here at Public Practice Recruitment Limited we have over a decade of experience within Accountancy Practice Recruitment. We only recruit for practice and we know the marketplace, along with its key players, inside out.
We regularly work with accountancy firms who require an interim employee, or someone to manage a specific project/transition period within their practice. Often when a practice is going through a period of change or flux they will look for talented individuals to support them in this process. It can be challenging, exciting and most of all rewarding work.
If you are curious about how interim ‘Gigs’ or regular long term temporary assignments may work for you get in touch.
- Talk with you to assess if ‘Gig’ or ‘Temporary assignment’ work is something which will fit with your long terms career objectives
- Work with you to construct a long-term career plan and the ‘gigs’ which might best help you to move forwards with your career goals
- Educate you on how the process works, what to avoid and how to get started
- Manage the search for you and liaise with potential firms on your behalf to ‘broker’ the best deal for you
- Advise you how to best include your assignments on your CV for maximum affect