Interim Finance Trends, 2023: Skills in Demand and a Challenging Candidate Market

Rutherford Cross Consultant, Christina McLean, has reflected on some noteworthy trends that the Interim Finance market has experienced across West and Central Scotland since she joined the business in 2022. Christina provides a sector analysis below, highlighting some coveted skillsets and sharing an honest review of the challenges presented when hiring high-calibre interim talent in a buoyant job market.

The recent lucrative job market and candidate scarcity, particularly for newly and recently qualified Accountants, has unsurprisingly been at the centre of almost every client briefing meeting and discussion over this past year. As a specialist recruiter operating within this environment every day, it can be easy to find yourself caught up in the demands of the market without taking time to consider which trends may be driving this mandate for talent.

Reflecting on our own experiences over the last 12 months in the interim finance market, we have discovered the following notable trends.


The top 3 in-demand skillsets for finance contractors from 2022-2023:

  1. Financial Accounting / Statutory Reporting
  2. Project Accounting / Systems Accountant
  3. Financial Analysis / Data Analyst


Financial Accounting (and positions requiring a similar skillset), made up almost a third of our contract placements; and notably, circa half of these vacancies arose due to internal projects, with Project Accounting coming second and contributing to nearly 20% of our interim placements. From finance system upgrades to entire transformation projects, technical systems expertise has been in demand. Interestingly, a further 14% of placements required Financial Analysis as a core skillset, cleansing large data in order to support improvements in both Reporting and Forecasting.


The top 3 sectors recruiting interim finance talent so far in 2023:

  1. Charity/Not-for-profit
  2. Service (including Financial Services)
  3. Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)


The Charity/Not-for-profit and Service Sectors have equally engaged the most temporary contractors this year, each taking up a 20% share of the market (40% in total). FMCG also accounted for 14% of our interim placements with a majority coming from the drinks industry – an increasingly attractive sector amongst Finance professionals due to their high market profitability and ongoing company growth.


Challenges when Hiring Top Interim Talent

Contract completion is one of the greatest challenges that businesses will face today when recruiting high-calibre interim talent in what is an exceptionally ‘option-heavy’ job market. The difficult truth within a candidate-driven market is that for many, with the exception of Career Contractors, a temporary assignment can often act as a ‘filler’ role before a permanent or longer-term opportunity becomes available. As a result, Hiring Managers and the organisations in which they work, often find themselves financially exposed, understaffed and overworked.


Combatting these Challenges

Combatting the complications around interim retention may feel out with your control, and sometimes it will be, but data from Rutherford Cross’ interim team suggests that opting for a PAYE Day Rate option when deciphering the recruitment process offers greater likelihood of the contractor committing to the full assignment. This is backed up by a 93% completion rate of all temporary placements over the last year, compared to that of salaried Fixed Term placements which had a slightly lower completion rate of 88%.


Why Choose Day Rate?

At Rutherford Cross, we take pride in collaborating with our clients to ensure that together we source the right interim solution based on business circumstances, hiring preferences and how best to maximise potential. For times when minimising exposure to risk is vital, we suggest considering PAYE Day Rate, and here are some reasons why.

  1. The client will only pay for days worked by the contractor and this minimises the risk of non-refundable up-front fees
  2. There are quicker turnaround times, and when the duration is uncertain, contracts can easily be rolled over or terminated
  3. It often leads to higher completion rates largely due to regular Candidate and Client aftercare from the Consultant


We understand there are scenarios where salaried Fixed Term contracts are the preferred recruitment model, and this is still a highly effective way to hire interim Accountants. An alternative solution many businesses are adopting when hiring interim talent is the inclusion of a discretionary retention bonus, payable upon full completion of the contract.

For a more detailed understanding of the ways you can hire interim talent, the following article written by Rutherford Cross Director, Derek Lauder, outlines the benefits of the Day Rate vs salaried Fixed Term model with a view to better informing businesses who are seeking interim support: Day Rate vs FTC.


If you are a business looking for interim solutions or seeking expert market advice, please contact our interim team here at Rutherford Cross:

Senior Appointments – [email protected]
East of Scotland – [email protected]
West of Scotland – [email protected] / [email protected]