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Ever the optimist…..

17 February 2014

I recently had a discussion with an interim Finance Director on the state of the interim market. I remarked that recruitment consultants were eternal optimists to which she responded, “and accountants are eternal pessimists.” I guess no one wants an optimistic accountant, Enron and countless others spring to mind.

However, the reality is the market is improving significantly and most notably in the finance domain. Historically, finance, along with HR, has been a staple of the interim provider community accounting for the lion’s share of opportunities. This changed noticeably over recent years and with little or no turnaround work and low levels of movement on the permanent side, finance hasn’t been the stand out requirement for clients.

In the first half of 2013 the availability of our top cadre of finance directors was surprisingly high. These are well established professional interims who have made some very impressive contributions to our clients. Fast forward to 2014 and it’s all changed. From Q4 of 2013 demand for interim finance directors and CFOs has increased to such an extent that, as I write this blog, every single one of my colleagues in the private sector team is running with at least one finance brief.  The availability that our clients and, to some extent, myself took for granted has gone. I don’t think this is just great news for interim finance directors which it clearly is, but its great news for the interim market as a whole.

Over recent years one of the main themes to come out of conversations with interim managers and clients alike is the lack of action or inability to make critical decisions due to ongoing uncertainty. I am a firm believer that finance as a discipline is the keystone that supports the broader market. As the CFO is the CEO’s wingperson, this recent change is evidence of real action at the heart of businesses and as such it’s a good leading indicator of decision making and action elsewhere.

By the way, I married an optimist………an estate agent.

Duncan Hoggett, Consultant

Duncan is a Consultant in the Energy, Manufacturing & Infrastructure Practice, read Duncan's profile.

Categories: Energy, Manufacturing & Infrastructure, Financial Management


John Warren at 27/08/2014 10:45 said:

Sounds like great news: having joined the interim industry just over 4 years ago, at the time of the down turn, I have not yet seen those good old days that people spoke fondly of and sounds like you are speaking of again - I hope so.

After a slow start 4 years ago, getting that first assignment, the industry has been good to me and thoroughly enjoyable.

Recently, over the past year, I have been somewhat fortunate, finding another assignment quickly with only an eleven day gap then a three week gap, between the last three assignments. However, that has been at the cost of being flexible in terms of fee rate. Based on your comments, and those of others, maybe we can soon return to the good old days, that I missed!