In 2004 when we setup GHRL very few people had heard the term Interim Manager. Consultants had a bad name – I think they still do? We wanted to make it very clear what we did and why we were different.
Ironically, nearly a decade on, interim management is in the mainstream. But do you really know what an interim does, and why they’re different from a consultant?
The old joke was that the definition of a consultant was someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time! A little unfair, perhaps, but consultants have a reputation of telling you what you need to do and then leaving you to it (along with a big invoice!).
As an interim manager it’s very different. You become a part of the business. And you have to deliver from day one – you don’t have the luxury of taking a few months to get to know the business. It’s a high pressure role, with high client expectations. But that gives you focus and clarity.
Our version of interim management back in 2004 was different from what the market was used to. We were disruptive even back then! We had identified a huge opportunity for interims in the SME market. Traditionally interim managers would go into one company for a period of time – perhaps as an interim Finance Director for six months, while the company tried to find a full time replacement.
However in the SME market, as companies grew there was often a need for someone part-time. So that’s what we did – you could have a finance or sales director one day a week, two days a month, whatever the budget allowed. It helped the company grow, without blowing the budget. Quickly we had a dozen interims in our team, including myself and my co-founder Brian Sherret. We also had a regular flow of opportunities, with the banks and accountants being regular introducers.
Interim management was great fun, but it was also time consuming. When you were on a project you were working in the client’s business, just as a full-time member of staff would do. That could be in Edinburgh, London, Aberdeen, or even Nairn. We also had our own book-keeping and accounting to do (each of our interims had their own company, including Brian & I) as well as GHRL’s. That’s where having a great accountant helped – someone who could take the hassle away and give us peace of mind that everything was being taken care of as we concentrated on developing the business and delivering for clients.
Having been that interim manager, I know what people expect of their accountant and we try to make sure that FW Accounting does this for our clients. We’re not just accountants who practice – we’ve actually been out there and done it ourselves. We’ve got the t-shirt and scars to prove it.
So if you’re looking for an accountant that understands the life of an interim manager, look no further. Give us a call and we’ll be delighted to speak to you.