If you have been contemplating the move to a future as an interim manager, you're probably already clear about what a hugely fulfilling role it can be. The focus is always about delivering value, knowledge and ensuring any capability gap has been bridged once you have left the business. For many people, it’s the perfect professional move.
But how do you make the move into interim management? What will your prospective employers be looking for in the best candidate for an interim role? What are the financial and legal considerations of flying solo? And, given the anticipated legislative changes for the self-employed highlighted in the latest UK Budget announcement, what might be the likely implications for interims of the new rules on IR35?
Here at BIE we will be keeping up-to-date on the latest IR35 developments which will allow us to offer you advice once legislation changes. In the meantime, here are our consultants’ thoughts on the top 7 steps that are essential for those searching for interim management positions:
1. Create your Limited Company
You need to set yourself up as a limited company. This is standard practice across the industry. It will demonstrate your credibility and help with employment law status, client expectations and tax efficiencies.
Register yourself at Companies House with a unique, professional name which makes clear the service you offer. You’ll need to provide the details of any other directorships you hold, and choose shareholders – you can be the sole shareholder, but it’s always best to take expert advice on whether to introduce other shareholders into your limited company.
2. Get your accounts in order
If you haven’t already, appoint an accountant. They can advise you in setting up a small business bank account and business savings account – the latter will be helpful in keeping aside money for your tax, VAT and NI payments. You can also consult them on registering for VAT – it has its pros and cons which are worth investigating for your personal circumstances. You’ll need to ensure you comply with the HMRC’s IR35 legislation (and be aware of proposed updates to these regulations for the self-employed), which establishes whether the correct tax and NI is being paid by you or your client.
You’ll need an effective way of keeping your accounting records up to date, too. You’ll need to manage your own VAT, NI, expenses and tax payments, and handle regular monthly invoicing for your clients. A good accounting software package can be invaluable in this regard. Finally, discuss with your accountant how best to work with the potentially irregular flow of money and receive an income from your limited company: as expenses, pension, dividend, salary or direct loan.
3. Create a website and LinkedIn profile
At the same time as you register your limited company, purchase the web domain for your chosen name. Consider the branding or design you’ll want on the site and any invoices, business cards and contracts – many online web design companies can offer simple assistance for this. Both your website and your LinkedIn page should have testimonials and recommendations, recent photographs of you, and case studies from previous clients. On LinkedIn, make sure it’s clear that you’re available to work now. And ensure it’s easy on both sites for clients or recruiters to get in touch with you.
As advised by the Institute of Interim Management (IIM); “Being ‘easy to find’ is much more important than being good at ‘applying’ to vacancies.”
4. Make sure your online presence is polished and connected
Engage with your colleagues, recruiters and industry peers on social media. Join and follow relevant companies and groups across the various channels. Always remember to help others at least as much as you ask for help – recruiters and potential clients will always remember people who have helped them out in the past. Write blogs or appear on podcasts around your expertise, and build yourself up as a specialist in your field.
Most business is conducted through known and trusted relationships. Therefore, building relationships will be key to success.
5. Is your CV doing you justice?
Everyone thinks their CV is fine as it is, but it’s always worth reading up on the latest research on the most effective CVs in the current marketplace for interim managers. Your CV should be detailed and specific to the role you’re going after. It should contain information about your wide range of skills, as well as specific details about how you’ve leveraged those skills to deliver for previous clients in previous interim or management roles. You need to spell out to potential clients exactly why you’re the best interim for this particular position and what you have achieved.
6. Insure yourself
Interims need Professional Indemnity insurance. This covers you in the unlikely event of any litigation costs or damages and shows clients that you take your role seriously and will back it with the necessary insurance. You may also wish to consider Employers’ Liability and Public Liability insurance too. Clients will want to verify your insurance status, so make sure you have your certificates available.
7. Have your paperwork ready
When conversations with a potential client begin, there’s plenty of paperwork they’ll want to see before your work starts. Keep all your documentation ready in PDF form, from your VAT details (if registered), limited company details and insurance certificates, plus a copy of your passport. The smoother you can make this admin part of the process, the better you’ll be making the client’s overall experience with you.
With these 7 steps completed, you can be sure that the service you’re offering clients is professional, secure, and appealing.