I have been a contractor for six years now. I wouldn’t say that I made a career decision to contract long term, but I do think my principles and professionalism have led me down this path. I have always been passionate about my job and uncompromising applying my ethics and making sure my work is in the best interests of the company and not for a few self interested individuals. Sadly, it seems that, for some businesses, principles are no longer of great importance, as for years I have been told I should ‘bend’ these principles, regardless of the interests of the company.
Surprisingly, as a contractor, I have no problem in upholding what I believe in. I have never been a ‘traditional’ accountant. I am passionate about improving any job or task that I lay my hands on, either in terms of quality or efficiency – or both. Because of my enthusiasm about my work and my desire for making improvements, I have cultivated a wealth of experience and a reputation for picking up new roles quickly, finding weaknesses in processes and identifying errors.
If you thought a contracting role had less stress than a permanent role, you would often be wrong. I have been in situations where I have had incredibly tight deadlines, multiple systems, human error and huge volumes of data to manage. And yet, with every role, I believe I have been able to add value and make tangible improvements to the way the accounts have been processed.
In over 80% of my contracting assignments, I have been asked to extend my commitment. Well, I am an accountant! I have been asked to not complete my initial task but to provide assistance in an area where they either lack the capabilities required or areas where they think I can use my knowledge and experience to make improvements. It can be something as simple as rectifying a budgeting error or a more technical task, such as resolving system errors and reporting configuration, or even human processing, errors.
The dilemma for me is that it seems that companies are not willing to pay for my skills on a permanent basis – well, not the market rate for my skills. However, whilst I believe in doing the job to the best of my ability, just pleasing others at the expense of the best interests of the company will never be in my vocabulary. Maybe that means I am best suited to contracting. So, until a company comes along that is a perfect match for me on a long term basis, I am happy to continue my contracting life.
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