Bay Area Accounting Contractors Thrive on Flexible Lifestyle

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There are a growing number of Bay Area accountants who have stepped off the CFO-driven fast track. In exchange they reduce stress, bask in their flexibility and earn a comparable amount to their full-time position counterparts.

Northern California Bay Area accounting contractors are an optimistic group - with the majority enjoying above-average wages, a lifestyle that agrees with them, and the ability to practice the type of financial work that they most enjoy, according to a survey conducted by Kula Consulting (

The non-scientific survey - conducted in mid-February - polled more than 300 Bay Area accounting professionals about various aspects of their professional lives. Responses were taken solely from accountants who were not working at a full-time position.

"The results quantify what we've seen as a growing trend over the past several years," said Rich Williams, Kula Consulting president. "Whereas short-term contracting used to be a stop-gap measure for those in-between jobs, it has now become a viable professional niche.

Santa Cruz-based Kula Consulting specializes in providing companies with expert senior-level accountants. Kula Consulting places senior accounting candidates in project, interim and regular full-time engagements. Recently, however, Kula has seen an up tick in the number of accounting professionals who are looking for an alternative to the furious pace that accompanies a full-time accounting position.

"Working as a contractor affords me the opportunity to not only smell the flowers, but plant them as well," said one survey respondent.

In addition to enjoying the flexibility of working for a finite amount of time - respondents said the average length of contract is between four to six months - those polled earn more than their full-time counterparts.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of those polled earned between $50-$125 per hour, with 21 percent earning over that amount. One-quarter of those polled earned between $75,000 - $125,000 last year, with 26 percent earning up to $180,000.

For accountants who had previously worked in a full-time position, 43 percent said they earned more as a contractor, while 32 percent indicated that they earned about the same.

Like the careers of their full-time counterparts, accounting contractors have no problem finding new contracts once their current one is completed.

Of those polled, 57 percent said they billed more than 1,000 hours in 2007. Fully 60 percent said they expected to bill at least that many hours this year. For comparison, a regular full-time worker is available for about 1,850 hours of work a year.

"What's clear to us is that contractors are taking a different road than those looking for the fast track to becoming a CFO," Williams said. "Contracting represents a viable option for accountants who want to leverage their skills while pursuing a better work-life balance."

For a complete copy of the 2008 Bay Area Contract Accountant Survey go to

About Kula Consulting
Kula Consulting is a boutique search and consulting firm headquartered in Santa Cruz, with additional offices in Cupertino and Los Angeles. The firm was founded in 2003 by Rich Williams, a long-time veteran of the placement industry.

Rich Williams
Kula Consulting


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