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Contract accountants in SA are the new trend

Permanent employment is on a downward spiral, and it’s a trend that’s happening all over the world.

If you’ve started to notice that more and more skilled workers seem to be opting for contract rather than permanent positions, you could be observing a growing world-wide trend of non-permanent employment. It’s a phenomenon that’s rooted in several factors, and it means that contract accountants in SA are growing in diversity, skill and number.

The International Labour Organisation released a widely-researched report in October last year. The study included data from more than 180 countries. Its findings estimated that less than 25% of employment – spanning all of these countries — took the form of full-time, permanent work.

In South Africa, between 25% and 50% of workers are estimated not to have permanent contracts, according to a report by the Mail & Guardian. In China, that number is closer to 90%. Advanced economies such as the USA and those in Europe are showing the same trend.

The fact is, all over the globe, it’s making more and more sense to employers to create contract (rather than permanent) positions to fill their needs. Contract accountants in SA make up these growing figures.

Why employers are choosing to employ contract accountants in SA:

Employers in South Africa’s current economy are having to make smart decisions about employment to decrease risk and keep their cash flows healthy. As a result, many are choosing to employ contract accountant rather than their full time counterparts. Take the example of a construction firm, written by Sarah Evans for the M&G, to illustrate the principle.

Johan Visser, general manager at Lenco Construction, oversees a construction site in Johannesburg. In the 1980s, Visser would have employed his own staff, including laborers. Now, he keeps a skeleton staff of 40 or 50 people and outsources the rest.

“We are just lucky to have work,” he says. Visser says this is why he, like others, uses subcontractors rather than directly employing workers.

He learned this lesson recently, when work that was expected did not materialise. Carrying the costs of full-time staff when the company had no contracts cost his company R4.5-million in one year.

The risk of employing skilled staff is even higher, with the cost implications being more severe for the company than with semi- or unskilled workers. Add that to the fact that many industries are currently finding it difficult to predict their incomes for the next 12 months, and it becomes clear why contract accountants in SA are growing in popularity.

‘We choose contract work’

And, while many see non-permanent work as the less desirable option, many contract accountants in SA have actually chosen the position over full time work.

The matter of full versus part-time work in South Africa is complex one. While some organisations, such as labour unions, are pushing to decrease the figure, contract accountants in SA are part of a second, growing movement – one that is mobilised by employees themselves – bolstering the number.

It points towards a dichotomy of needs in the workforce. Unskilled and semi-skilled workers favour permanent positions, because of the stability it provides in an environment where competition is fierce and unemployment is high.

But for skilled workers such as contract accountants in SA, the non-permanent work offers the stimulation of new work environments, new management styles and new business problems to solve.
The Finance Team has built up a network of diverse, experienced and highly qualified contract accountants in SA to meet the growing needs of employers and the desires of the accounting workforce. Contact us for a free cost analysis and determine how you can bolster your cash flow and your expertise at the same time.

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