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Senior Interim Finance Specialists – a Market Overview by Business Manager, Stuart Douglass

  • Publish Date: Posted 22 days ago
  • Author: Stuart Douglass

Sharp Consultancy is Yorkshire’s largest, most experienced and best-connected independent company committed exclusively to financial recruitment.

Our division of dedicated Interim Specialists focus exclusively on Senior Finance. We asked one of the key members of that division, Stuart Douglass, Business Manager to share his valued opinions and observations on the current market.

Stuart is a senior interim specialist who joined Sharp Consultancy in 2016 and has over 20 years of experience in financial recruitment. He has provided case studies to highlight the major benefits of utilising an interim finance specialist and explores the ever-changing dynamics of the candidate market.

Although dynamism, agility and expertise have always been essential in the world of business for growth and success. Interestingly, over the past 12 months we have seen these elements have been even more crucial to businesses throughout the region. There has been a distinct and obvious increase in the demand for and supply of Senior Interim Finance Specialists.

Two of the top motivations in hiring a Senior Finance Interim during the last 12 months have been:
​Navigating Organisational Change

Changes in personnel or ownership can be turbulent times for any business of any size or structure. Finance Interim Specialists serve as steady navigators, guiding companies through these changes with their strategic foresight and experience to ensure the impact remains positive. Case Study 1 provides an example of just that.

Case study 1 - Navigating Organisational Change:

MD - "Our £40m t/o business was due to be acquired by a private equity business and I was worried that our current FD just didn’t have the experience to take the organisation through this type of change. Sharp Consultancy was recommended to me by our bank and following a briefing meeting they quickly identified and submitted three candidates who all had the change management experience in a PE setting that was needed. Interviews were arranged and one of the candidates was a perfect fit (a local chartered accountant with a big 4 background who also had the interpersonal skills to engage with all the relevant stakeholders). When the candidate started and got up to speed quickly, we liked them so much we offered them a permanent role which gave us fantastic stability going through the deal. They helped us recruit new people into the team and set us on a great path. I believe the main benefits of hiring a contractor like this were being able to bring someone on board quickly that had the exact experience to manage us through the significant change process. The hidden bonus was the interim also brought his own network of advisors which was also extremely useful. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Sharp Consultancy if you are about to embark on a similar journey."

​Project Management

Sometimes, even the strongest teams may find project management difficult and that can lead to distressed teams and may create unnecessary risk. This is where a Finance Interim Specialist and their fresh perspective and focused guidance can support a finance function, steering it towards efficiency and success using years of seasoned experience whilst owning such a specific project.

Case Study 2 - Project Management:

Operations Director"When our business gained private equity backing, our acquisition pipeline literally exploded….at our peak we were acquiring 5-6 new businesses each month! Our finance team of 8 people needed to grow quickly, and our systems were just not equipped to cope with the new demand. This all happened within a few months, so we engaged with Sharp Consultancy as we needed accountants quickly. At that point, we had identified a more appropriate ERP system but knew it would take a couple of years to transition to the new set up. Over the next five years, Sharp Consultancy provided us with over 25 Accountants at various stages in the process. Some supported simple accounts preparation, some were change agents, some supported finance systems developments and others helped with important integration work. Without the support from Sharp, the speed of response, the deep understanding of the type of candidate character and attitude we liked, I don’t think we could have achieved anywhere near what we did. Some of those contractors have stayed with us long term, such was the accuracy of the initial introduction. "

In addition to the above, we have seen changes in the candidate market. A new wave of Finance Interim Specialists with excellent experience and knowledge are embracing interim assignments. In part this has been caused by redundancies. However, the main factors for the increase in candidates is twofold; firstly, more and more candidates are making a conscious career move to become an Interim Specialist and secondly there has been a growing market across candidates who are based further afield with the option of hybrid/flexible working now more common the candidate pool has become a national one. The increased demand we have experienced across Yorkshire has certainly created plenty of attention for the region.

Although the hybrid model is as popular as ever throughout the interim market, it has been obvious that fully remote opportunities have reduced significantly, with most clients requiring some presence within the business.

In turn, with more candidates in the market increasing our clients’ options, it has been a fine balance between utilising modern candidate attraction methods without any risk of sacrifice to quality. As with all candidates, regardless of location, quality control is paramount and all our candidates continue to be met, screened, and referenced vigorously.

Conclusion

The decision to hire a Senior Interim Finance is more than a stop-gap solution; it’s a strategic move towards a proactive solution.

The availability and diversity of expertise from Finance Interim Specialists is increasing, fuelled by flexible working opportunities.

Sharp Consultancy’s dedicated Senior Interim Finance division is the longest standing in Yorkshire and the most experienced, focused, and knowledgeable in the region.

For more information about hiring one of your own Interim Specialists or finding that perfect interim finance role please call 0113 236 6300 and ask for Stuart Douglass.