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Overview Of Temporary vs. Permanent Accounting Staffing: Which is Right for Your Business?

The workforce is a diverse place with job seekers hoping to fill positions that accommodate their lifestyles or ambitions. For example, those who want to reach the top of the corporate ladder need permanent positions while people who have school-going children might want a part-time position in budgeting and forecasting services. 

Employers also have diverse needs. They might need a position for a short time, in which case a temporary employee is the answer. For example, you might not need a full-time accountant but when tax season rolls around, you need someone to gather and compile data and submit the tax return.

We’re going to look at the benefits of temporary and permanent accounting staffing as they relate to key features, including flexible accounting services, cost savings, skills, and engagement.

Discussion Of Temporary vs. Permanent Accounting Staffing: Which is Right for Your Business?

Your business changes over time. Sometimes it’s a feast when you have more clients than you know what to do with. Other times its famine when you only have enough clients to keep the wolf from the door.

You must decide if you’re going to take a leap of faith and hire a permanent accountant or financial manager, or choose a temp or two to manage specific financial services.

It’s a good idea to have an overview of both options so you can make an informed decision that best suits your company.

1) Flexibility and Adaptability

Ideally, you want someone who doesn’t strictly adhere to certain processes, even when they stop functioning optimally. The person needs the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances and alterations to regulations and laws. Temporary and permanent accounting staffing can provide what you need, but which is best for you?

Temporary Accounting Staffing Permanent Accounting Staffing
  • A flexible workforce that can be adjusted to suit your staffing company’s current state of growth.
  • Perfect for short-term projects or temporary staff shortages. 
  • Provide specialized skill sets for tasks when necessary.
  • You can terminate contracts relatively easily if the person isn’t performing.
  • It’s relatively easy to contract new employees to fill the vacant position.

Unfortunately, you’re at their mercy because they can leave at the drop of a hat to take a better job elsewhere. 

  • Long-term commitment to your company.
  • Perfect if your staffing company has been stable for several years and needs someone to take on the responsibilities of everyday and long-term operations.
  • Facilitates transfer of knowledge regarding the firm’s finances, including data entry, reporting, and analysis.
  • Permanent employment facilitates integration with other staff and the company’s energy and atmosphere.

Lacks the degree of flexibility inherent in temporary, outsourced accounting solutions.

It’s not easy to terminate employment even when the accountant’s performance or work ethic is abysmal.

2) Cost Considerations

Costs are a concern for even the biggest and most powerful staffing companies. Anything that cuts costs is worth consideration. When it comes to saving expenses, temporary outsourced bookkeeping services usually pip permanent employment to the post.

Temporary Accounting Staffing Permanent Accounting Staffing
  • No ongoing salary costs.
  • No benefits.
  • No additional overhead expenses, like IT infrastructure.
  • Helps financial planning and budgeting because temporary employees charge fixed rates which you only need to include when necessary.
  • High recruitment costs because the process has to be repeated for every project. 

Rates are usually higher than permanent staff to compensate for lack of benefits.

However, it is still far more cost-effective than permanent employment.

  • A long-term investment with a view to retaining employees for 5+ years, usually through advancement opportunities.
  • Workflow continuity.
  • Consistent (familiar) reporting manner, including format and presentation.
  • Budgeting is easy because salary costs remain stable, with a predictable rate of increases and benefits.

Higher initial recruitment costs because it involves advertising, interviewing, training, and onboarding.

Recurring recruitment costs if employment contracts are canceled prematurely (within 2 years).

3) Skill Requirements

Temporary projects usually need a skill set that your financial department doesn’t have. You just need them long enough to complete the task, which could be anything from a few days to a few weeks. On the other hand, it might be worth investing in training for permanent staff whose growing skill sets benefit your company.

Temporary Accounting Staffing Permanent Accounting Staffing
  • Quick access to specialized skills for specific tasks.
  • Fresh perspective and external insights that could optimize accounting practices.
  • Changes implemented to optimize business processes can identify fraud or embezzlement.
  • Accounting procedures are carried out without interruption.
  • Intimate familiarity with your company’s financial systems for in-depth reporting and data analysis.
  • Stability and consistency for clients.
  • Fosters close working relationships with clients, vendors, and internal stakeholders.

4) Employee Engagement and Loyalty

One of the best things about permanent staff is the relationships they build, the team mindset, mutual support, and loyalty to the company that recognizes and rewards hard work. This sense of cohesion is missing when temporary staff enter the picture. One way to counter this is by making the position temp-to-hire. Temp staff who want to transition to permanent employees are likely to make the most of the opportunity and prove their ability to be team players.

Temporary Accounting Staffing Permanent Accounting Staffing
  • Using several temps means you have to regularly spend time onboarding new people.
  • Using the same temps saves you time because you don’t have to do any onboarding.
  • Several temps for short-term projects don’t develop company loyalty.
  • The same temps who frequent your company can start to feel like part of the team and may feel loyalty to the extent that they choose you over other job offers.


  • Loyalty, commitment, and ownership result when you invest in employees by providing opportunities for professional growth through ongoing training and career development.
  • Permanent employees understand your vision, mission, and culture and uphold them to build your reputation for quality service and reliability.
  • Enhanced relationship building to establish strong connections with clients, vendors, your supply chain, and other departments in your staffing company.

Conclusion and Final Recommendations

Temporary and permanent staffing each have advantages and disadvantages, so you must think carefully about your needs before you outsource staffing company accounting services. 

If you decide to go the temporary route, for example, you need to fill a gap after someone resigns suddenly, you must do your due diligence to find someone who has a good reputation for the skills you need. 

Consider how long you’re going to need your temp worker. You need a person who has the flexibility to stay until you fill the role, and you don’t know how long that will take. You don’t want a temp who can only stay for a week and then you have to go through the whole process again.

If you decide to go the permanent route, you must do your due diligence to find someone with a broad skill set who is a good fit for your company in terms of quality work and character. For example, if your team is both professional and relaxed, you don’t want a dour personality clouding the office space.

You’re looking for someone who wants the financial security and job stability that a permanent position provides. Someone you can invest in, who will take the training you provide and use it to benefit your company and not run to the first company that provides better opportunities for advancement.

You can simplify your life by choosing to outsource accounting solutions. Outsourcing companies not only have expert staff to manage all your accounting needs, but they also have highly advanced software, like Sage Intacct ERP, that provides all the data you need as soon as you need it. 

When the pressure of managing your finances is lifted from your shoulders, you have more time and resources to focus on filling temporary and permanent positions.

Recruitment has a unique set of challenges. You can find out more about the challenges you’ll face in the second half of 2023 in this article.

When considering temporary or permanent accounting staffing for your business, it’s essential to have the right tools in place. Sage Intacct, known for its versatility, can provide the foundation you need. By Sage Intacct ERP, you can make an informed decision regarding accounting staffing. Whether you require temporary staffing to address short-term needs or prefer a permanent solution for long-term stability, Sage Intacct and LWI can help you navigate the complexities and choose the right staffing strategy for your business.

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