A global fire and security services provider had grown significantly through several small and midsized acquisitions. Each acquired company still operated with stand-alone accounting functions with different practices and software, and the company risked making financial misstatements.
The company decided to build a shared services center in Florida to centralize controls and eliminate redundant work. Company leaders knew they needed talent but were unsure of the specific skills they’d require to get the center running and then operate it. They wanted to hire pedigreed Big 4 talent on a permanent basis and then determine roles and responsibilities, but faced a major challenge: they had a poor reputation with candidates, and were unable to source the talent they wanted for the role.
Aston Carter partnered with the customer’s management team to understand their challenges, timelines and needs — and propose a solution.
We had planned to support the company by hiring permanent staff, but given their hiring challenges and the lack of clarity about which long-term roles were needed to support a shared services center, we stepped in with a suggestion to meet their challenges.
We proposed the company hire workers from sources outside the Big 4 on a contract-to-permanent basis, which would allow access to a new pool of workers. This model would also avoid hiring talent with skills that might not be needed permanently, leading to unnecessary future lay-offs. We knew from experience which candidates possessed the skill and drive to meet the client’s needs, and that the contract-to-permanent model could allow them to try this hiring approach with much lower risk.
The company had never hired on a contract basis — or outside the Big 4 background — but was very impressed with the skill and drive of our workers. Over the course of the 18-month center buildout, Aston Carter placed more than 170 professionals — 36 percent of whom were brought on to support the center full-time. Our contract employees also helped the company implement Hyperion Financial Management, which significantly streamlined work.
Their support of various phases of process improvement and system integrations resulted in better internal controls over financial processes and reduced the risk of financial misstatement.
In fact, the program was so successful that the company expanded use of the contract-to-permanent model across their business.