The Case For Contracting: Flexibility? Autonomy? What’s Not To Love?

The Case For Contracting: Flexibility? Autonomy? What’s Not To Love?

March 7, 2022

Many of us grew up watching parents whose ambition was to set their career course with a single company.  Get the job, the benefits, and eventually, the gold watch for retiring after decades of service to one organization.

But in the 21st century, where the gig economy has overtaken the gold watch mentality, many job candidates have a different view of what a thriving career looks like.  They value opportunities to set their own schedule, be their own boss, and chart their own course. 

Contracting work provides a viable and varied path for those whose entrepreneurial spirit calls them to balance income with independence.

If the notion of making yourself available as a contractor has you curious, here are some things to consider in weighing whether it is the right path for you: 

Flexible Schedule

Long before Dolly Parton sang about the rigors of working 9-to-5, it was considered the default expectation of most office workers.  Today, however, many companies recognize the value in giving workers flex-time schedules, and contractors are often greeted with the maxim of, “as long as you get the work done on schedule, you can set your own hours to get it done.”

This means you can spend quality time with family, take a half-day hike, or sleep in a bit and still hit your deadlines without anyone grousing about your ‘out of office’ status for a couple of hours mid-afternoon.  This means healthy work/life boundaries.  This means greater productivity while you are on the clock.   If these things matter to you, consider contracting a winning proposition.

Working Remotely

Remote work was already rising in popularity pre-2020, but the past two years of pandemic life have helped companies discover the vast possibilities and benefits of having a work-from-home option.  Contractors are already at the forefront of this movement, as many contracting roles are not designed to involve a lot of onsite engagement.  This means hours saved each week battling traffic (and dollars saved on gas!).  It means working from the comfort of your own home.  Heck, it means working barefoot if you want!  So, if you’ve got the discipline to get your work done in the comfy surroundings of home, this is another check in the win column for contracting.

Broaden Your Horizons

Of course, contracting isn’t just about freedom and flexibility.  It’s also an opportunity to broaden your horizons by engaging with a variety of companies on an array of projects.  You’ll gain fresh insights, make new connections, and get to sample industries and environments that might help you determine your next career move.   You’ll actually strengthen your resume and enhance your skills while exploring the possibilities available to you.

For some job candidates, contracting is a temporary step toward a greater plan; it’s the Whitman’s Sampler Box of work scenarios, as you complete one assignment and decide whether you want to move on to the next, or dig in where you are. 

Staying In The Mix

If you’re between full-time opportunities, contracting is a great way to keep cash flowing in and good karma flowing all around.  Employers are often impressed by the enterprising spirit of a candidate who has proactively sought contracting work to stay fresh and busy between full-time engagements.  Of course, often the best job resource is the very company you’re contracting with, who may be so impressed with your work that they offer you the opportunity to apply for a more permanent role with them, should it be available.

Needless to say, for your own benefit, the assurance of a paycheck coming in is a weight off your own shoulders.  So, if you feel you can actively seek your next full-time role while balancing a contracting opportunity, you might find the effort more than worth it.

Speaking of Paychecks…

While there’s no hard, fast rule here, contractors at many companies often make a good deal more than the organization’s full-time employees.  That’s because they can modulate your scope of work, so they know what they are getting for what they are paying out.  But it’s also because they aren’t paying for your healthcare benefits, sick leave, or vacation time.  If that sounds appealing to you, contracting work may just “pay off” for you.

The Boss of Me

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there’s a mindset that comes with contracting work.  You are, ultimately, your own boss.   Yes, once you go under contract for a project or a timeframe with a company, you need to abide by your agreement, but unlike most full-time employment situations, you can say “no” to projects that don’t fit your needs.  That ‘need’ maybe around your schedule or your desired career path, but either way, you can simply say, “no thank you, but please keep me in mind next time.”    Most people who contract feel a greater sense of agency, autonomy, and independence.  That often translates into being more invested in getting the job done right for the client.  You’re happier because of your work conditions, and you’re compelled to ensure the client is equally happy with your performance.  There’s that karma again. 

Wanna Contract?  We’ve Got Your Back

At Accountants One, we understand the value of contracting, both for our clients and our candidates.  Whether your passion is working as a true contractor or more of a temp-for-hire, we’re here to help. We put the same care and passion in placing contract workers as we do full-time roles. 

We’ll support your journey with a track record that offers you peace of mind. Our placement contract success rate has never dropped below 80% and is consistently at least 20% higher than the industry average.

So, if contracting is something you’ve been considering, or you’ve already committed to the notion, let’s talk.  We’d love to hear learn more about your aspirations.

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The Power of Purpose in Your Work

The Power of Purpose in Your Work

 

November 18, 2021

“What am I even doing here?”

“Am I just on auto-pilot?”

“Why do I feel so…stuck?”

If one or more of these questions have bounced around your brain at work recently, you’re not alone.  More and more, employees are expressing a sense of malaise.  A recent New York Times article refers to this feeling of aimlessness as “languishing”, a limbo state that keeps us hovering in the discomforting ether, somewhere between thriving and depression.

Chalk it up to pandemic exhaustion, threats to our individual and collective mental well-being, or just good old-fashioned dissatisfaction, more and more people are feeling stagnant, both in their personal and professional lives.

What’s missing?  In our recent interviews with accounting and finance professionals – at every level – we are hearing the same thing: a sense of purpose.

We work, and we may do exceptional work, but when we log out for the day, many of us are not feeling like we’ve contributed to the greater good.  What that looks like varies from person to person. We needn’t be personally responsible for some grand, global initiative to feel like we’re making a difference. Most of us simply want to know what we do matters, more than a paycheck, more than a glowing midyear review, even more than “customer satisfaction”.  We want to leave the world a slightly better place for having been here, and we want to let what that feels like resonate inside us.

This quest for purpose is showing up in how employees evaluate their career choices, workplace, and strategic employment moves.  Accountants One recently polled over 100 Accounting and Finance individuals on LinkedIn and found that 45%, the majority of our respondents, agreed that culture and mission are what make an organization stand out, versus 31% who said compensation and benefits were the defining.

Additionally, many employees have traversed the pandemic only to discover that they were missing a quality of life that is more valuable to them than other benefits.   Work from home options and flexibility around hours have become a perk that has grown into an expectation for job seekers and existing employees alike.  For so many, the pandemic served as an existential reckoning, a time to evaluate what matters most.  We woke up to the notion that we wanted more from life than our work, and we wanted our work to feed our lives.  We were – and are – hungry for purpose.

While some may go to great lengths, such as a complete career change, to connect with that sense of purpose, it may be as simple as recalibrating your work in your existing field.   One way many of us quantify our work is by defining the value we bring to an organization.  But what about qualifying the values you bring instead?  When we explore the principles that define us and the ones we aspire to, we create more space for what matters in our work.  It stops being a job and becomes the calling we (hopefully) once felt it was.

  • How are you helping others?
  • How are you enriching your tiny corner of the world?
  • How is the company you work for showing up for its employees, customers, and communities?

Questions like these will help you forge a path toward greater purpose with your work.

Of course, sometimes perspective isn’t enough.  Sometimes we must change the way we work.  This might mean delegating certain tasks to make room for more meaningful aspects of your job.  It might mean taking a different approach with clients to explore how you can create mutual fulfillment.   You may also find that taking the lead on a company initiative – a fundraiser for a charity, the sponsoring of an event – might help you better align with your values at work.

At times, a more substantial change is needed.  Perhaps your work environment isn’t inspiring you to embrace your truest values and you are ready for a new opportunity.  Or maybe you’re already looking for that next job and want to be certain you align your profession with your purpose.  We get it.  Accountants One recognizes that, for many people, job satisfaction doesn’t come from a bump in pay.  We’re here to help you with that search, and more.  Accountants One exists to help career counsel and collaborate as a trusted career partner.  We want to help you feel good about the work you do each day, and we’ll help you explore the market to find the career that aligns with your highest priorities.  That’s our purpose.  We’re excited to learn more about yours.

Ready to meet with a trusted career partner?

If you’d like to speak with a team member about finding purpose in your work, please get in touch.

 

Email clientservices@accountantsone.com to get started with Accountants One today.

Going for That Awesome Job in Finance? Here’s How to Nail the Interview

Going for That Awesome Job in Finance? Here’s How to Nail the Interview

August 10, 2021

Landing the finance job of your dreams can be tough — it’s a competitive career field. While job experience, professional and academic accomplishments, and your additional skills will get you in the door, it’s the interview that will help you stand apart from other qualified candidates. Accountants One offers the following guidance on how to impress in this crucial phase of the hiring process.

Make sure you look great on paper first

While this technically isn’t an interview tip, you don’t want to put yourself behind the eight ball before you even sit down in front of a hiring manager. You must do everything you can to put yourself in a situation where a good interview seals the deal for you.

One tip is to start work on your chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation or to achieve your bachelor’s in accounting to become a CPA. This is important for a career in finance, and a CFA or BSACC will help you stand out.

Equally as important is putting time and energy into constructing a great resume and cover letter. Those two elements show not just your work or internship experience, but also serve to highlight your accomplishments and goals.

How you dress and present yourself matters

Presentation, image, and dress (especially in the field of accounting and finance) are very important to employers. Often, financial professionals have to speak with stakeholders and make presentations to upper-level management. Dress sharp and be confident during your interview.

Indeed.com lists some very helpful tips on planning your wardrobe for the interview. Your choice of outfit also helps you stand out from other candidates. To help with this, Forbes suggests adding a subtle flair to your interview outfit. This could be something that represents your culture, or who you are as a person, including a piece of jewelry, a lapel pin, or a unique necktie. It’s also a good conversation starter.

Don’t go in empty-handed

Want to be more prepared than other applicants interviewing for the same position? Don’t come empty-handed (if you have an in-person interview). Bring at least five copies of your resume and cover letter, as you never know how many people will be sitting in on your interview. You should also have a detailed list of references ready to hand out. You’ll get extra points for anticipating the interviewers’ needs — even if they haven’t asked yet!

Prepare and then prepare some more

Lack of preparation is evident in a lot of interviews. To avoid this costly mistake and make sure your interview goes smoothly, we recommend preparing and practicing. Do a good bit of research on the company to show your interest, prepare questions for your interviewer, and recite your answers out loud. 

With that in mind, your first step is to study common interview questions and prepare succinct answers in advance. Be sure to ask questions regarding company culture, values, how you’ll fit in, your day-to-day responsibilities, and if there are opportunities for advancement. These questions will show that you have thought about a career, and not just a job, with the company you are interviewing for.

The interview is perhaps the most important part of the hiring process. It allows the hiring manager to get a feel for who you are and how you articulate work stories. Show your ability to creatively problem-solve. Tell the interviewer about a time you overcame a challenge with your team. Explain your motivators, your work style.

Nail the interview and you have a good chance of landing that dream job in finance.

Are you looking for your dream job in accounting or finance? Then get started with Accountants One today. You’ll get up-to-date information on all the latest job listings, helping to narrow your search for the perfect role.

4 Steps to Take Control of your Entry-Level Accounting Career

4 Steps to Take Control of your Entry-Level Accounting Career

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to join the accounting profession.

Great!

Now what?

Whether you are just getting started or have a few years of experience under your belt, here are four points to consider so that you can take control of your career now and ensure you lay the foundation for a successful future.

 

1. Know your options

Accounting offers many engaging career paths. Recruiters see them all. A few broad areas you will need to consider:

  • The various accounting career fields. Public, Tax, Financial, Forensic, Managerial, Government, Corporate – each have their own unique skill set and benefits.
  • Your educational path. What level of education do you have (or are you prepared to pursue)? 
  • Sitting for the CPA. Getting your CPA requires a lot of investment and is not necessary for many accounting jobs. Still, having your CPA opens up a lot of opportunities. 
  • Type of company you want to work for. Recruiters can be particularly helpful to you here. Do you want to serve a number of clients? Do you want to be on a team in a private organization? Large company? Small company (where you can wear many hats)? 
  • Type of environment you will thrive in. Consider whether you like a more steady pace, like managerial accounting, or something with intense busy periods, like tax accounting. Also – consider what types of co-workers you want to be around all day! 

2. Network, network, network

People hire people. 

Few people are natural networkers. That said, next to education, nothing has a greater ROI than networking. Your network will provide you career opportunities, more knowledge, and access to bigger and bigger networks. Plus, learning to network is a great character-building skill. Consider these areas, with the goal of making two connections each week: 

  • Your LinkedIn profile. Connect with people on LinkedIn after you have met them – or reach out to new people and second-level connections. Bonus: learn how to send quick video messages for that personal touch.
  • Your alumni network.  This group is the most receptive to connections from fellow alums. Connect away! 
  • Professional organizations. When you are just starting out, the key to making connections is to ask good, genuine questions of more senior people. People love to give advice. Get good at asking questions – and then connect!

Keep in mind too that a recruiter is a super networker, with connections to hundreds (if not thousands) of key industry professionals. 

3. Manage your mindset

Studies have shown that our minds have a plasticity that allows them to adapt and grow throughout our lives. Which of these mindsets do you fit into? 

  • Fixed mindset: You believe your abilities and intelligence are static, so you need to prove yourself over and over. You tend to avoid challenges, give up easily, and ignore useful, constructive feedback. 
  • Growth mindset: You believe you have the ability to learn and grow through effort and practice because you embrace challenges, stay persistent in the face of setbacks, and welcome constructive feedback. 

The Growth Mindset is not only a more accurate model; it also leads to the most success in one’s career. Additionally, when you are just starting out, remember: 

  • Pay your dues. Do the tough work. Be hungry. What you lack in experience you must make up for with enthusiasm and energy. Be that spark of positivity and energy in the workplace.  
  • Be a pro. Produce the best quality work you are capable of. Welcome criticism. Find a mentor who will give you honest feedback and help you develop the soft skills necessary to grow your career. 

4. Prepare for Change

If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that the only constant is change. Whether you are more deliberate or opportunistic in your approach to your career, understanding that your path may end up looking different than you expected is important. Our tips:

  • Learn how to learn. Maybe you are done with school – great. But your learning is just beginning. You must create your own personal structure for continuous learning. Set up newsfeeds. Allot 20-40 minutes for reading each day. Learn about your company and industry; deepen your technical skills. Learn, learn, learn – constantly and proactively. 
  • Reflect on what you’ve learned. A journal is a powerful tool. Create an online career journal. Feed it with things you learned, mistakes you’ve made (and see others make) and how to correct them. Add “what-if” ideas. Let your brain roam free. In just a few years, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come. 
  • Keep going. Life will challenge you no matter how well you prepare. Be humble. Show your gratitude. Adjust. Be a good model. Keep going. 

We’re here to help! 

If you would like to have a conversation about any of the areas listed above, an experienced recruiter can help. Really, call us. It’s to your advantage to have a relationship with a recruiter. 

The team at Accountants One focuses on creating long-term relationships. We personally enjoy getting to know you, your preferences, and your career goals. After a thorough interview, we strive to match you to an organization that fits what you are looking for, both technical and cultural fit. You can count on us to assist you in finding a role where you can grow and flourish!

How to Maintain Effective Communication in a Virtual Workplace

How to Maintain Effective Communication in a Virtual Workplace

This year, more than ever, remote work has become a staple of the workplace. According to Flexjobs, we’ve seen a 44% growth rate in remote work opportunities over the last 5 years alone. This year was no exception.

Maintaining effective communication is very important for businesses to run efficiently. Increased communication – working remotely or working onsite – has a number of benefits including increased morale, productivity, and trust.

Here are five tips for maintaining effective communication in the virtual workplace.

Schedule Regular Meetings

Scheduling consistent and frequent calls with your team give you an opportunity to sync up and make sure priorities for the day or the week are set.

These types of meetings ensure that there are no challenges moving forward and you can address anything that is urgent or important.

Since working remotely can leave a workplace feeling scattered, these meetings also serve as a chance to connect on a deeper personal level as well. Allow for some time to socialize and let everyone feel connected to each other. Not only will it improve communication, but morale as well.

Use Tools at Your Disposal to Keep the Lines Open

How you communicate can be just as important as what you communicate. With so many different tools at our disposal, it’s important to choose which ones suit your needs the best and ensure your employees the greatest level of communication with each other.

Video conference tools such as Zoom and GoToMeeting have become more popular because they offer the option to join via video or phone call, which makes it easier for everyone to connect in the best way for them. Whatever tools you use, make sure you keep them “sharpened.” Keep your applications and systems up to date to make sure that no breakdowns happen.

Have an Open Line for Feedback

Feedback is always important in the workplace, remote or not, but making sure everyone has their concerns addressed is probably the most crucial part of making sure they are able to communicate effectively.

Don’t assume that the choices for tools you’ve made will work for everyone. Give them time to explore the tools, and then ask for their feedback. See if there is a way to address their concerns to make their job easier and, if necessary, explore other options.

Make Important Information Easily Accessible

Preserving information is easier than ever. Most virtual meetings can be recorded for use at a later date, online schedules can be synched up, and information can be shared with whoever needs it. Making sure that information is easily accessible can help you avoid misunderstandings and confusion.

Record important meetings when possible to make sure absentees don’t miss out on the information not included in slides. Have note sheets ready and make them easy to find on a shared company drive like a company intranet or Google Drive.

Set Expectations for Your Team

Once you have all the pieces in place and are set up for success, you need to make sure you are personally communicating your expectations with your team. Trust them to be able to do the job you’ve given them. Make sure important tasks are scheduled, easily available for viewing, and everyone is on the same page.

If you are an individual contributor within an organization, communicate your workflow items with your team, and set your team’s expectations. If they are relying on you for certain data, it’s important they know how much you have going on so that they don’t waste valuable time. This is where Agile Project Management and the daily standup meetings can become even more important.

 

How To Show Promotions or Various Positions on Your Resume (With Examples)

How To Show Promotions or Various Positions on Your Resume (With Examples)

September 2, 2020

If you’ve been with a company for a long time, reflecting a promotion or job change with your long-term employer shows growth and stability on your resume. This will make you a competitive candidate in the job market, which will make you stand out from the rest. 

Once the decision has been made to move to a new organization – voluntarily or involuntarily – getting started on your resume can sound like a daunting task.  A successful resume should paint a clear picture of your career for the hiring manager or recruiter, showcasing promotions or lateral moves within your organization.

Here’s a quick breakdown of scenarios when adding to your resume:

Scenario 1 – The Promotion

Receiving promotions within your organization should be celebrated and acknowledged even on your resume, especially in public accounting. That’s a huge achievement, right?

If you are climbing the ladder at a Big 4 or Mid-Tier Accounting Firm, you will typically receive a promotion every 1 – 3 years. Starting out as an Associate and progressing to Senior or even Manager is very impressive to virtually any hiring manager or recruiter.

Often a promotion means a new title, salary, and increased level of responsibilities. The scope and nature of your work change. Be sure to stack all job titles on your resume and bullet point list your daily responsibilities, and don’t be scared to mention your promotion as a bullet point!

XYZ Accounting Firm, Atlanta, GA

Tax Manager (January 2017 – Present)

Tax Senior (March 2015 – January 2017)

  • Accomplishment or value you brought to the company that resulted in promotion

  • Responsibilities

  • Responsibilities

  • Responsibilities

Scenario 2 – The Lateral Move

So, you changed to a different position in the same company? Lateral moves can be really helpful in showing your adaptability and ability to work cross-functionality (especially in larger companies) with different lines of business.

To show this type of transition on your resume, it is best to use the company name as and then list each position underneath. As you go back in time, feel free to add less detail. Recruiters and hiring managers are going to read more about your most recent experience and see your achievements in that role.

XYZ Accounting Firm, Atlanta, GA

Forensic Audit Manager (January 2017 – Present)

  • Accomplishment or value you brought to the company that resulted in promotion

  • Responsibilities

  • Responsibilities

  • Responsibilities

Audit Manager (March 2015 – January 2017)

  • Accomplishment or value you brought to the company that resulted in promotion

  • Responsibilities

  • Responsibilities

  • Responsibilities

Remember that your resume should tell a story about your career. Try to highlight as many accomplishments and give the hiring manager or recruiter as much insight as possible into the value that you’ve brought to previous companies. It is also important to remember that you should be prepared to talk about the different items listed on your resume. Be prepared to share a story that relates to the point you are making. 

Want to discuss how we can serve your professional needs—and start achieving more of your career goals? Contact us today or apply to a position.