Top 5 most in-demand financial contractor roles

Professional contractors working in financial roles with a strong technological background may find it beneficial to contemplate a lateral move into roles that are less IT-centric, writes Nick Singh, a director at Alexander Daniels.

Same contractor drivers, different opportunities

While your expertise in technology has undoubtedly served you well in financial positions, diversifying your skill-set and exploring opportunities in other domains could open new avenues for professional growth.

And there are some strong similarities to what IT contractors are already familiar with, in terms of the drivers of demand for their services. With interim financial director (‘FD’) and chief financial offer (‘CFO’) roles for example, businesses want highly skilled individuals who can navigate complex financial challenges, on a flexible basis.

Such interim candidates provide companies with the expertise they need without the commitment of a permanent hire.

So, what are the top 5 most in-demand financial contract roles?

To cushion those who might find the prospect of locking up their technology locker daunting, let’s start off with the most techie of them all:

1. Digital Transformation CFO

As companies continue to embrace digital technologies, there is a growing demand for CFOs who understand the financial implications of digital transformation. These interim CFOs work on optimising digital investments, managing data analytics, and ensuring that financial systems are aligned with the digital strategy.

Rates: Digital transformation CFOs typically earn daily rates between £500 and £1,500 a day, depending on the size and scope of the transformation project.

Drivers of Demand: The pace of technological change requires companies to adapt quickly. Digital transformation CFOs are needed to guide companies in making financially-sound decisions as they modernise their increasingly tech-enabled operations.

2. Crisis Management CFO

In today's volatile business landscape, companies often require CFOs with crisis management expertise to guide them through economic downturns, global crises, or financial setbacks.

Crisis management CFOs are in high demand due to their ability to make swift financial decisions, adapt to changing circumstances, and implement cost-saving measures.

Rates: Crisis management CFOs can earn an average daily rate of £750 to £2,000 a day, depending on their experience and the complexity of the crisis they are managing.

Drivers of Demand: Economic uncertainties, pandemics, and geopolitical issues are major drivers of demand for crisis management CFOs. Companies seek professionals who can stabilise their finances and lead them toward recovery during challenging times.

3. Mergers and Acquisitions CFO

Mergers and acquisitions are complex financial transactions that require specialised expertise – just asks freelance system integrators!

Well, interim M&A CFOs play a critical role in navigating the financial intricacies of these deals, from due diligence to integration, ensuring that the transactions are successful and profitable.

Rates: M&A CFOs can command daily rates ranging from £750 to £2,500 a day or even more, depending on their experience and the size and complexity of the deal.

Drivers of Demand: The global business landscape is characterised by constant mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Companies engage interim M&A CFOs to maximise the value of these transactions while minimising risks.

4. Turnaround Finance Director

Companies facing financial distress or underperformance turn to interim turnaround finance directors to implement strategic financial changes and restore profitability. These roles require a deep understanding of financial restructuring, cost reduction, and operational efficiency.

Rates: Turnaround FDs can earn daily rates ranging from £750 to £1,500 a day, depending on the complexity of the turnaround project and the organisation's size.

Drivers of Demand: Economic downturns, industry disruptions, or poor financial management can lead companies to seek the expertise of turnaround FDs to revitalise their financial health.

5. Compliance and Regulatory CFO

In an era of increasing regulatory complexity and scrutiny, companies are prioritising compliance and risk management.

Interim CFOs specialising in compliance and regulatory matters ensure that businesses adhere to industry-specific regulations and financial reporting standards.

Rates: Compliance and Regulatory CFOs typically earn daily rates ranging from £500 to £1,500 a day, depending on the industry and the depth of regulatory challenges.

Drivers of Demand: Evolving regulations in sectors such as finance, healthcare, and technology, necessitate CFOs who can navigate the intricate landscape of compliance and protect companies from legal, financial and data risks.

So IT contractors in FS, are you ready to migrate to IT-facilitated FS roles?

Due to the evolving business landscape, characterised by uncertainty, regulatory change and technological advancements, we’ve seen a rise in the demand for interim FDs/CFOs/FCs.

The rates for these roles vary based on expertise, industry, and the specific challenges at hand. As companies face crises, pursue M&A opportunities, undergo digital transformations, require financial turnarounds, or seek regulatory compliance, they increasingly turn to interim financial professionals to provide the specialised guidance and leadership needed to achieve their objectives. In this dynamic environment, interim CFOs and financial directors play a crucial role in driving financial success and sustainability for businesses of all sizes and industries.

And last but not least, if you’re reading this as a technologist with a portfolio of financial services clients, then you’ll know that migrating into FS roles that are less IT-centric could provide you with a broader, richer, (-- dare we suggest) perspective on and understanding of business operations.

Without doubt, if your skills are purely within IT & Computing, the migration would enhance your ability to adapt to changing industry dynamics. Moreover, it could lead to a more well-rounded skill set, allowing you to offer future clients or employers a unique blend of financial acumen and technological insight. By undergoing this shift, contractors could position themselves as versatile, tech-orientated financial professionals ready to tackle a wider range of challenges in an ever-evolving, financial, but ultimately IT-led landscape.

Thursday 28th Sep 2023
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Written by Nick Singh

Nick Singh has over 20 years’ experience in the interim, contract & permanent qualified accountancy market. Over that time, Nick has gained a wealth of experience in providing consultancy to a range of businesses, having built up an excellent reputation based on honesty, integrity and consistently delivering the highest quality of service to companies and job-seekers.  

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