Consultant positions pack a variety of benefits.
For companies, financial consultants and interim managers bring essential knowledge and help executives navigate an ever-changing business landscape to stay a step ahead of the game. For skilled, experienced financial professionals, consulting can offer flexibility, diversity, a rewarding salary, networking opportunities and the chance of being offered an ongoing or full-time position. Key advantages of pursuing consultant positions with an agency include:
- Work-life balance
- Continuity in engagement
- Attractive benefits packages
Some say this could be the golden age for consultant positions, as companies increasingly look for specialized skill sets. They may reach out to cover short-term projects, requiring consultants to, say, help staff in accounts payable for a finite time frame, or offer long-term opportunities that tackle heavyweight challenges such as business systems implementation. Businesses of all sizes are engaging specialized consultants to share their knowledge and serve in three main areas: interim management, project consulting and staff augmentation.
If you're considering pursuing one of the many consultant positions out there, the following may help you decide which path is right for you:
1. Interim management
Interim managers are often called in to fill important gaps, see a company through transition or kick-start strategies that will benefit the business in the long run. Consultants in this area act quickly, using their qualifications and expertise to save the day.
As a consultant serving as an interim manager, you may be hired to bring fresh eyes to processes and cycles or to guide a company through a rough patch, help reset the compass, and then shake hands and move on to the next project.
Consider an interim management position if:
- You like diving in and meeting challenges head on.
- You're not bothered by having to get deeply involved in company policies.
- Objectivity is your middle name.
2. Project consulting
As a project consultant, you could be called in for the duration of a specific project, such as the evaluation of a company's risk management capabilities. You may be asked to roll up your sleeves as an individual contributor or work as part of a larger team. In either case, your skills and knowledge could be called upon to help develop strategic planning and strengthen infrastructure.
Consultants in this area often chime in on optimizing employee performance and implementing and monitoring business systems.
Consider a project consulting position if:
- You have a knack for seamless integration and time management.
- You've stayed up-to-speed on industry innovations and regulations.
- You enjoy making order out of chaos.
3. Staff augmentation
Consultant positions can prove a vital asset to an existing team in times of increased business activity. You might hop aboard to help out during a growth period, to cover an in-house staff member on leave or simply to complement the full-time team during a busy period. As with other consultant positions, you may also be asked to stay longer or join in a full-time capacity if you prove yourself indispensable.
Consider a staff augmentation position if:
- You adapt fast.
- You aren't afraid of deadlines or spikes in activity.
- You have a knack for relationship-building and fitting in.
Making a consultant position work for you
While consulting may not suit every finance and accounting pro, it may be just the ticket if you're looking to spice up your career, work across a range of sectors and gain diverse experience. What's more — unlike a gymnast seeking world-champion status — consulting positions aren't restricted to certain life stages. Experienced, seasoned professionals are highly sought after, whether they're changing track midcareer or consulting while they ease into retirement.
The trick lies in assessing the areas and roles that suit your lifestyle, timetable and ambitions. Checking out the consultant positions available through a reputable staffing firm could also help you make the transition (and never look back).