Interim and temporary workers make up approximately one-fifth of the UK workforce and are a fundamental resource for businesses in the finance and accounting sector.

At a time when there is much uncertainty surrounding our local business community and permanent headcount hiring, we have seen an increase in demand in recent weeks for interim staff or individuals that would consider fixed-term contracts — and we would envisage this to continue over the next few months.

Recruitment planning under IR35

Less than a week after the controversial changes to the complicated IR35 legislation was confirmed in the Budget, the Treasury has announced it will push the reforms back by one year. The move comes as part of a range of measures designed to protect the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

The new IR35 rules (also known as Off-Payroll Tax), will require organisations in the private sector to treat limited company contractors as employees. Companies have, understandably, been reluctant to hire contingent workers until the updated legislation is in place and understood across the board. As such, many businesses and contractors will welcome the delay.

Although the Treasury has made it clear the decision is a deferral rather than a cancellation of the policy, the delay will give private sector firms vital time to prepare for reform. Companies looking to hire temporary workers will have no reason to be wary of the new legislation — provided they start preparing now, carry out due diligence and take the correct steps when hiring and engaging their contractors.

The delay should also be seen as a unique opportunity for businesses to take a step back and revaluate the composition of their workforce — including the way they manage existing talent and approach recruitment planning. To meet specific strategic and tactical workforce needs, many companies will increasingly look to a blended workforce model which combines the planned use of both permanent and temporary personnel.

Increased flexibility and responsiveness

The measures will now come into effect on the 6th of April 2021, coinciding with the busiest time of year for finance and accounting professionals: year-end. During this period, interim and temporary workers are often needed as an extra pair of hands and are paramount to the success of firms.

What’s more, given the current uncertainty in the business world, now is certainly not the time for companies to be shying away from temporary recruitment.

For one, the recruitment process is much shorter than for permanent staff members. Temporary workers can usually start working within a week and make an immediate impact — giving companies the flexibility and responsiveness required to tackle fluctuations in workloads. This allows businesses to quickly and efficiently scale up their workforce in line with anticipated circumstances such as year-end or at short notice due to unexpected employee absence.

Similarly, in large-scale projects such as acquisitions and mergers, highly qualified and experienced consultants can be brought in to help spearhead change. Furthermore, these professionals will often prove instrumental in implementing the new systems and processes that drive the project forward. Unlike recruiting permanent staff, firms will not need to increase their permanent headcount and costs when hiring these contractors, making temporary recruitment a viable and cost-effective solution for covering specific projects or periods of high demand.

Clear communication will be key

Companies should use the time afforded by the delay wisely. In the lead up to the new IR35 date, businesses need to start planning the processes that will support a blended workforce model. These processes then need to be communicated clearly to contractors and intermediaries, such as recruitment partners.

Strong working relationships with recruitment partners will be essential when it comes to talent management and recruitment planning going forward — as recruiters can help to ensure strategies are aligned with overall business objectives and help to identify contractor status determinations and options.

Howett Thorpe’s interim and temporary division provides quality non-permanent staffing solutions. Our expert finance recruitment consultants cover Farnham, Weybridge, Slough, Reigate and the surrounding areas — and have a wealth of experiencing recruiting across all finance disciplines, including accountancy support, qualified, part-qualified tax and audit.

We have entered unprecedented and incredibly worrying times as we face the reality of the coronavirus over the coming months. However, here at Howett Thorpe, our staff are fully set up working remotely to enable us to continue to support our clients and candidates in this very testing and demanding period.

To discuss your temporary recruitment options and requirements, please get in touch today.