More and more organisations are turning to interim professionals as a source of additional or specialist resource to help achieve their business goals. However, before committing to a career as an interim professional it i s vital that you understand the way the industry works and exactly what you need to consider before you get started.
First of all you need to be sure that this is the right career and lifestyle choice for you. You need to have marketable skills, be able to quickly grasp issues, gain trust and demonstrate that you can deliver. You might come up against resistance, unrealistic expectations and many more obstacles– all of which you have to deal with. On top of that, the market can be unpredictable and doesn’t guarantee a steady flow of contracts; nor will you enjoy the security of permanent employment benefits, such as holiday/sick pay and pension contributions. You may also need to be flexible on location, perhaps enduring a long commute or having to stay away from home.
On the plus side however, the work is often dynamic, varied, challenging and rewarding. You get the opportunity to share your expertise and knowledge and make a real difference; without getting involved in time consuming office politics. You constantly experience new projects, new environments and new people – whilst also having the flexibility to build in down time between contracts as it suits you.
Secondly you need to be able to manage your career as a business. You must be prepared to network, sell yourself and handle your own business affairs.You should - ensure that your CV and social media profile
sells your track record in delivering projects or programmes, make use of your personal contacts and also establish relationships with professional providers like ea Change Group.
It is important that you take expert advice and consider with business structure is best for you. You can choose to work through an Umbrella Company who will require you to sign an employment contract with them and then pay you through PAYE against authorised timesheets. Many choose this as a quick and easy to set up option, particularly when first starting out. There are however a great many providers in this area, so make sure you do your homework and ask for recommendations from people you trust.
The majority of interim professionals however, choose to operate through a limited company (or Personal Services Company) as this is widely considered to be the most tax efficient model. Setting up a limited company is not difficult, but dealing with your financial affairs and budgeting can be time consuming and it is always sensible to seek help from a specialist accountant. You will also be required to obtain Professional Indemnity Insurance to protect against personal financial liability; with a minimum cover of £1m being a mandatory requirement for most clients.
Finally it is essential that you understand current legislation relating to contracted interim work and research this fully. There are many sources of information on this and other aspects of working as an interim professional including:
Interim Management Association (IMA)
Institute of Interim Management (IIM)