How to know if you're getting a true interim manager and not a temp?

Over the last five years, the market has distorted the meaning of an interim manager to the point that it can often be hard to distinguish between a true interim manager and a highly qualified senior temporary. Those senior temporaries, while still having a place in the market, are often seeking permanent opportunities and as such act more like an employee with regards to their relationship with the end-user. While there are many benefits to employing temporary staff for a business, interim managers offer an unparalleled level of expertise. 

Why do companies use temp agencies? 

Whether using a temp agency or an interim management supplier, the main benefit to businesses is the use of a contingency workforce – benefiting from specific skills and/or resource on demand and as required. Unlike a permanent headcount, businesses only pay for the hours or days that the contractor works and do not have to pay National Insurance or other costs that come with a permanent hire. While pending IR35 legislation, now delayed until April 2021 has brought some changes to the definition of interim managers, the overarching benefit of using temps or interims is the cost efficiency and effectiveness that contingency workers afford.  

Businesses often uses temp agencies specifically to find temporary employees as they retain the overarching management and responsibility for that employee. Temp agencies will assign temporary staff based on their skills and the requirements of the business, generally for more junior to mid-level tasks, which in the finance and accounting space may include accounts assistants/managers, part-qualified financial accountants, some financial analysts etc.  

Temps are brought in generally to help cover peaks in workloads or to support specific projects, however, temp agencies rarely have the ability to provide senior-level staff with the ability to manage or oversee complex projects. 


What does it mean to be an interim manager?

An interim manager is brought in to manage projects for a business for a specified amount of time and unlike temps, commit to the length of the assignment. While a temporary employee may be temping whilst looking for permanent roles, an interim manager is focused exclusively on the assignment, ensuring that the integrity of the project is not put at risk. Much like a temporary employee, interims can work with a business for anywhere between two weeks to two years. However, they are brought in at a very senior level: finance interims are frequently brought in to manage or oversee periods of major transition, including business transformation initiatives, systems implementations or upgrades or business process improvement. They become important resources of expertise, industry knowledge and crisis management.   

Interim managers are able to make an immediate impact on a project or department. They can often even provide assistance before a project starts and will usually see it through to the end, providing legacy knowledge-transfer to permanent teams.  


What’s the difference between an interim manager and a temporary contractor?

Seniority and specialist, niche skills are among the main differences between an interim manager and a temporary contractor. While there may seem to be some similarity between the two roles, however, interim managers bring a series of added benefits: 


  • Seniority – Interim managers are able to assume very senior roles and manage teams of varying sizes.
  • Ability to deliver transformational business objectives – From day one interim managers provide tangible deliverables for a project.
  • Wealth of experience – they usually have upwards of ten years’ experience in a wide range of companies and scenarios.
  • Professionalism – Interim managers conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism because every role depends on their reputation to deliver efficiently and effectively. Their exceptional communication skills also mean they are able to manage stakeholders and provide reassurance and stability for the business during a time of transition.

The tax reform changes via IR35 that, while delayed until April 2021, bring an opportunity for the true interim manager to demonstrate their abilities and skills as the determination status of each assignment should not only consider the contractual nature of the role but also how the person delivering the solution operates. This should, therefore, underpin the true advantages of using a professional interim as the combination of factors will not only secure a highly-skilled solution but a cost-effective outcome of the end-user. 

What is the best way to maximise on the resources of an interim?

Although interim managers can be rapidly deployed, offer immediate impact in engaging and working with the business, bring a unique background of experience, insight and industry knowledge, it can be difficult to track that project’s KPIs against a benchmark of industry best practice using this traditional staffing model. 

Oakwood Resources offers businesses the opportunity to leverage the immediate value and impact of interim managers as part of a wider, forward-planning engagement to enable consultancy team augmentation and enhancement for key initiatives. Using consultancy teams help enable industry best practice and meet strategic objectives. The Oakwood Resources Blended Model® enables businesses to access the strategic capability of a consulting firm but with the hands-on delivery of an interim, providing businesses a cost-effective alternative to a traditional consultancy engagement. 

Oakwood Resources can help to accelerate your consultancy delivery by sourcing interim managers that are assessed based on their experience in the market who can work alongside your consultancy agency to deliver bespoke solutions.


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