What To Consider When Taking On Contract Accounting Jobs

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More and more companies are realising the resource and cost benefits of hiring accounting professionals on a contract basis in South Africa. Similarly, many professional workers, particularly those with familial obligations, are appreciating the flexibility that contracting have. Thanks to the advancements in technology and the advent of cloud accounting, many businesses have shifted from traditional hiring methods and are hiring independent contracting accountants. If you are a qualified accountant and are considering contract accounting work in South Africa, here are some of the things you should consider.
How does an independent contract differ from ‘normal’ work?

Below are the three different contractual types of work available in South Africa:

Permanent - work a set, although reduced, amount of hours every week and the employee will receive the same company benefits as that of a permanent employee. 
Fixed-duration contract - refers to a person who is employed for a fixed period of time with an end date or agreed outcomes. The employee will receive the basic benefits, as laid out in the BCEA, such as annual and sick leave, and UIF. Fixed duration contracts are typically for maternity cover jobs or to complete a specific task or project. 
Independent contractors (IC) - are often hired at an hourly rate or project fee, and receive no company benefits as independent contractors are not on the company payroll. Freelancers, consultants and contract workers are often considered independent contractors. 

Is an independent contract part-time or full time?

It can be both. It depends on the employer’s needs. For example, an employer might hire an accountant contractor for year end on a full time basis, until the project is completed. Another example would be where an employer hires an accountant contractor for ten hours per month. Independent contracting is considered as more flexible working arrangements, with some employers allowing you to work remotely or in-office, making it ideal for working moms. RecruitMyMom specialises in matching forward-thinking companies to professional skilled women looking for these types of part-time jobs and flexible employment.

What is an independent contract accountant's salary?

As a contracting accountant, the salary you earn is dependent on your experience, the hours worked and the amount that the company is offering. As a fixed duration or part-time permanent employee, you will earn a fixed salary every month. If you are employed as an independent contractor, however, you will have the advantage of being able to work for more than one company, which may offer different or higher rates, allowing you to earn more money. If working as an IC through RecruitMyMom, we ensure that the companies contracting accounting services through us are properly vetted and the salary is market-related. You can check salaries on Payscale.

Can I gain exposure to new work environments working part-time as an independent contractor?

If you are hired as an IC, you could be exposed to different industries and have the advantage of being able to choose whether you would like to remain within a particular industry. For example, if you choose to accept contracts from finance companies exclusively, it will allow you to increase your knowledge of the finance industry. This would be valuable experience gained should you someday consider applying for a permanent role as an accountant within a finance company. 

Will a contract job improve my work-life integration?

Contract accounting jobs afford you the opportunity to improve your work and personal life balance as you are no longer tied to a traditional work schedule and can prioritise tasks better. Skilled moms, in particular, are often attracted to this type of role, for this very reason. The amount of time you will have available is dependent on the contractual agreement you have with your employer. For moms needing more time, you may consider independent contracting at first, and then a fixed duration or permanent part-time job as the child becomes older.

Do I have the right support to undertake a contract accounting job?

Taking on contracting work is extremely helpful when trying to juggle work and kids, but it is not without its challenges. You will need to be disciplined to focus on work during the allotted working hours. This requires that children are well cared for while you are at work, even while working remotely. You may need to consider outsourced care such as Play Sense or hire someone to assist you if family members are not available to help out. 
If you hire child care or outsource care, you will need to take into account the cost of child-care vs. the income you will gain through working. With increasing travel costs and traffic congestion, it might not make economic sense. 

How can I access cloud accounting training?

Being employed as a part-time accountant, it would be beneficial to have training in cloud accounting. Cloud accounting will allow you to securely access and share data with the company you are being hired to work for, from any device and location you are at, provided you have a valid email address. This will be an essential part of your job should you have the option to work remotely. If you are considering a contract accounting job but are still using traditional accounting methods, you can upskill yourself by accessing cloud accounting training courses from companies like Sage and Xero online. 

Read: How to become an Independent Contractor at RecruitMyMom

Finding an IC accounting job will allow you to remain within your career as an accountant whilst still being able to attend to family needs. RecruitMyMom understands the need for flexible working opportunities for qualified accountants and other careers, and endeavours to continuously try and match skilled women with flexible work opportunities, as well as add valuable skills and experience to businesses looking for skilled accountants. If you have not joined our site, it’s free. Sign up here