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Becoming an Interim Manager

Make work interesting and manage various projects. See for yourself why interim management is growing.

Interim managers are highly skilled professionals who can come into an organisation, complete a specific project, task or cover for a fixed period of time have proved they are valuable business assets.

Although the concept of interim managers is a fairly recent one, they provide a beneficial service that many companies find essential, especially during a period of crisis or transition. The UK has wholeheartedly embraced the concept of interim management, and as a result, the system we enjoy here is one of the most widespread and effective in Europe. This means that a wide range of roles are covered by experienced interim staff in a variety of sectors and positions.

The overwhelming success enjoyed by accomplished interim managers has gone a long way to cementing the idea that effective use of their services can prove invaluable to a business. The Institute of Directors has endorsed the practice and promotes the idea that an interim manager can provide a huge amount of assistance to a company in need.

Why do companies use interim managers?

If a business identifies a need for an interim manager, they will usually specify a time period for which they will need their services, or a specific assignment that they want completed. The costs and objectives are usually agreed up front, ensuring that the business in question is able to make the most of the manager’s experience and expertise. Having someone who is dedicated to the task in hand can limit the number of distractions and potentially time consuming distractions involved.

As an interim manager you will be strategic, outcome focused and strive for improvement. These admiral business qualities are one of a number of reasons why a company may wish to hire an interim manager, others include:

  • The implementation of new management processes or a restructuring of the business which requires experience, expertise and a fresh pair of impartial eyes.
  • To provide the specialist skills needed to launch a new venture or get a planned project off the ground.
  • Take a ‘clean sweep’ approach to a business which for whatever reason is failing.
  • Help wind up a business which is planning to close or set up and open a new business.
  • Deal with a specific situation that has arisen within the business which needs insight and input from a member of staff, but where there is no time to allocated existing staff to the process of evaluating the available options.
  • Provide cover for a vital position where a member of staff has left, is ill or is otherwise unavailable due to secondment or redeployment.
  • Help manage an unforeseen increase in workload, either through the success of the business or a change in working practices.
  • Help deal with an acquisition or the merging of two or more companies.
  • Use their experience to offer training, mentoring, or team building amongst existing staff.
  • Help manage a crisis or other unexpected event.

Finding work as an interim manager

One of the most important things about working for yourself is ensuring that you have enough work to meet your financial obligations. There are plenty of dedicated recruiters who specialise in matching skilled individuals in interim management vacancies and headhunting candidates for roles which come onto their books. Odgers Interim, Veredus and Marble Hill Partners are three examples of recruitment agencies that specialise in interim management.

The Institute of Interim Management, which is the UK’s professional body for independent professionals working as interim managers is a good first point of call when looking for your next position as new assignments are posted online regularly. The website also has advisory pages and is a good way to keep up with industry news and events.

It is a good idea to keep your CV up to date so that you are always ready to apply for a promising sounding opportunity when it arises. You can also often upload your CV to websites where potential recruiters will be able to view it and contact you about any roles they have to fill.

It is also worth having business cards printed and carrying them with you at all times to ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities which could occur in your day-to-day life. Networking can be important, and many interim managers find that previous colleagues and contacts may know of vacancies in your industry. It is therefore worth maintaining your network and staying in touch with anyone who might help you to find work.

Rates of pay for interim managers

Interim Managers work with a company for a fixed period of time and are expected to implement change and development in that period. Therefore interim managers can often command high rates of pay in return for the results they are expected to yield.

As with all contracts your rates of pay will depend on the role, your experience, qualifications and the company that you are working for. The contract rates below are designed to give you a rough idea of the amount you could expect to earn as an interim manager (based on 2014 availability).

Interim Corporate Property Manager: £400 – £450 per day

Interim HR Change Manager: £400-£450 per day

Interim Finance Director: £600 per day

Interim Customer Service Manager: £700 per day

Interim Programme Manager: £800 – £900 per day

Starting out as an interim manager

If you are considering a career in interim management then you are likely to operate on a contracting basis. As a contractor the two most common ways to operate are through employing the services of an umbrella company or by forming a limited company. It is worth noting that industry figures indicate that around 89% of interim managers work as directors of their own limited company. This allows them to benefit from tax planning opportunities and make savings in a number of different areas.

Setting up a limited company is a relatively simple process, which can often be completed the same day. If you choose to operate as a limited company then you will need to ensure that you have all the relevant insurance in place to allow you to minimise the risks you will be exposed to, such as professional indemnity insurance.

If you choose to become an interim manager, then there are a number of things you will need to consider as you set up your business, such as:

  • The level of administration you will have as you manage your own marketing, client negotiations, dealing with invoicing and other day-to-day activities associated with running your own business.
  • Calculate a pricing structure which will offer a competitive option to potential clients whilst not underselling your skills and providing an alternative to a full time employee – average rates for interim managers are usually between £400 and £900 per day with some executive managers on ‘top end’ contracts commanding as much as £2,000 a day.
  • Provide clients with options which will give them flexibility, such as working location and duration of assignment.
  • Manage your finances to ensure that you will be able to weather any gaps between contracts, meet travel costs and other out of pocket expenses, which may be payable before a contract starts.
  • Manage your time to ensure that you maximise your availability for short-notice contracts.

Finding an accountant

For most interim managers, hiring an accountant is one of the most important things they can do to ensure that they make a success of their career. A specialist accountant will be able to help you negotiate the legislation surrounding self-employment and help you to make the important decisions enabling you to maximise your earnings. Using an accountant who has experience in your field means that they understand the unique challenges that you could face while you are establishing yourself as an interim manager.

Choosing a suitable accountancy firm may sound like a daunting task given the number of options available to you. To help narrow it down it may help to look at the kind of relationship you are looking for, you may find it beneficial to have a dedicated accountant who is familiar with your situation and that you can contact directly whenever you need to. Specialist advice is another important element as the regulations governing self-employment and limited companies can change quickly, so having an expert who is up to date with the latest changes to the law and the tax system can save you money and help you avoid some of the potential pitfalls you could face.

How Nixon Williams can help

As experienced accountants who have been advising contractor clients for years, the team at Nixon Williams have a vast amount of experience in helping those who have chosen to work for themselves to make the most of their income. We can help you navigate the complicated world of tax, expenses and the other aspects of working for yourself, whilst providing advice on how to keep your costs down and plan for the future.

For more information on how Nixon Williams can help you, please contact our new business team on 01253 362062.

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