Even though they’ll usually only work for you on a short term basis, a freelance or contractor accountant could do much more for your business than you might think. If your company has yet to capitalise on the perks of the growing freelancer economy, then read on. Because here are 4 very important reasons why your business should consider hiring an accountant on an ad hoc basis.

Freelancers are happier, so work harder

A recent freelancer happiness survey has shown that “although freelancers work longer hours than their employed counterparts, they are much happier.” While staff happiness if always an important part of a businesses success, for smaller companies or startups it can feel like a lower priority as you fight to establish your brand.

The advantage with freelance workers being happier is that they’ll be more productive. Meaning, even if you’re only hiring them for a few hours or days work, they’ll make much better use of the time. Alternatively, if you are hiring them for projects, they’ll be more willing to put in extra hours where they need to to ensure it gets done.

Of course, all of this increased positivity is something you’d want to instill in you own team. But it’s easier with freelancers, especially accountants, as they’ll be largely working remotely and won’t feel as pressured by the business’s overall success.

Accountants can be hired ad hoc to reduce workforce costs

Businesses which hire freelancers can often “find more targeted and better-qualified talent to address their needs—typically at lower costs.” While hiring a permanent, full-time accountant would require a yearly wage and benefits, hiring a contractor or freelance accountant on an ad hoc basis can help you curb costs of funding a workforce when you’re a small business.

Choosing how and when to use a freelance or contractor accountant, such as near to the end of the tax year rather than keeping them on all year round, will save your outgoing wages by a considerable amount. Remember, you can always carry out accounting work for your business yourself, then use a freelance accountant to check its all correct before making any financial submissions or setting targets.

The number of freelancers is rising

Within 5 years, a whopping “50% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers,” while The Office for National Statistics has said that “self-employment has now reached a 40-year high and makes up around 15pc of the UK workforce.”

Many choose to freelance or contracting work for the independence and the freedom that it can offer them. And the advent of the digital revolution has made the transition from full-time to freelance work much easier for a lot of people. It provides a simpler way for them to “secure a greater volume of assignments, market themselves, use secure payment systems and vet potential clients” in a way that suits them and their schedules.

With the difficult job market for some industries leading to many skilled workers taking up freelancing, as a small businesses owner you’re at an advantage. Finding a freelancer account is easy as the market is saturated. As a result, you can afford to sift through and only take on the best one, at a reasonable rate for you. The pressure is on them to wow your business and win you as a client.

Caveat: hire based on the skill you need, not a skill set

The ability to hire someone as and when you need them can be a great advantage to any small business, because “When working with freelancers you don’t have to worry about finding someone who is the best in many different areas.”

Even when it comes to contractor accountants, you don’t need to hire someone with a diversity of skills. In fact, if you do you can expect to pay more, simply because they have more skills. Instead make it clear what jobs you want the accountant to do and hire the best person for that job. This could mean you work with different freelancers for different aspects, such as one for business planning, and one for tax.