Interim with the Interview: Graham McConnell, FCA, BA

An Interim Manager shares his view of the Interim market place…

How did a career as an Interim Manager first present itself to you?

It was suggested to me as an option by a colleague at KPMG where I worked at the time. The step into the interim market was made easier by having worked in Professional Services as, in many ways, there is a similarity in the way of working – variety of clients/sectors, short lead times to come up to speed, and also the uncertainty of knowing where the next piece of work was coming from.

What have been the difficulties that you have found in getting established in the market?

Initially, it is the lack of a regular pay cheque and the gaps between roles. I think this is something that becomes less of an issue with experience and of course it helps to have a financial cushion when you start out. Increasingly, having established my CV as an interim manager, I can be more selective about the roles I take on and have flexibility on day rates.

What have you found to be the best way to secure new assignments?

This has been something of a learning curve. My own high quality network was certainly advantageous at the outset, as those people who have worked with me before or been recommended to me have a broader view of my abilities than the recruitment businesses. Whether it’s to pander to client demand or lack of insight into the transferability of skills, many recruitment providers seem to pigeon hole you quickly. The other frustration is trying to find out what’s happening with an opportunity – you want to know what’s happening but equally don’t want to be seen as a pest.

What have you learnt about yourself since becoming an interim manager?

Not to undervalue my skill set and wide range of experience. Feedback from an MD after completing an assignment reminded me of the impact that I can make quickly to a business. In many ways it confirmed what I already knew but the MD was impressed with the speed with which I was able to pick up the key issues and run with things. Clearly confidence and technical ability are essential but my own specific experience also makes it somewhat easier for me to quickly determine the key business drivers and begin to bring real value to the client.

What’s been the most satisfying experience as an interim manager?

A recent assignment saw me pulling on my many years of experience of the Capital Markets but this time I was sat on the client side and could quickly see the problems and solutions from the company’s perspective.

What professional ambitions are you still looking to achieve these days?

To continue the success of my Interim business and enjoy the work I do.
Many thanks.

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