By Jim Wong, CPA | August 6, 2014


“Talented individuals need organizations a lot less than organizations need talented individuals.” – Daniel Pink, Author of Free Agent Nation

Daniel Pink’s Free Agent Nation may have been published more than a decade ago but the concept of the independent entrepreneur is still alive and well. In the 2001 best seller, Pink explores the notion of a Free Agent Nation, the phrase he coined in reference to professionals who leave large corporations for contingency work. Taking from his own work–life revamping, leaving his role as a White House speech writer to become an independent consultant and collecting interviews throughout his cross–country travels, Pink unearths what he deems is the inevitable evolution of the workplace. He proclaims that the majority of the workforce will eventually move from organization–based to an independent consultancy.

And today’s trends might be forecasting just that.

What Do Statistics Say?

The idea of the independent consultant or independent entrepreneur is growing in popularity. The Staffing Industry Analysts report by 2016, 20 percent of the U.S. workforce will be consultants. That’s a predicted two–percent jump in two years. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, temporary positions rose by 10,100 jobs in June 2014 with the penetration rate reaching a new high of 2.0667 percent.

Albeit growing, the concept of the contract worker or full–time consultant is still provocative to some. However, it bodes well for professions in high demand, like that of the accounting, finance and IT fields.

How Does It Affect Accounting, Finance and IT Professionals?

It’s no secret that accounting, finance and IT professionals are being sought after from hiring companies. With the decrease in accounting graduates, more regulations and legislation, accounting, finance and IT professionals are becoming hot commodities. Therefore, whether you want to work on a project–to–project basis, or want to entertain a permanent role with a company, if you’re a talented high–quality individual within those professions, you’re in a good position for finding employment.

More from Pink

In a 2012 interview, Daniel Pink talks about the recent change in economic times. He says, “What’s interesting is that this situation has forced companies to treat their internal workforce more like an external workforce. They must now provide a greater degree of autonomy, more freedom, more opportunity for challenge, more flexibility and so on. It used to be that there was a stark boundary between who’s working on their own and who’s working in corporate America. The boundary is now more permeable.”

Is There a Right or Wrong Answer?

Some argue Pink’s notion is a reaction to the decline in loyalty and stability from large corporations while others argue it’s ingenious. Whatever your opinion, Free Agent Nation is becoming a timeless phrase within the current workforce.

Here are our Pros and Cons for the Independent Consultant:

Pros

  1. You have the ability to test the waters at a company before deciding to stay or go.
  2. You have access to many technology advancements.
  3. You gain diversified experience that can improve your personal marketability.
  4. You gain exposure to new IT systems and management styles.
  5. You will expand your professional network including professional references.

Cons

  1. You constantly need to be brought up to speed with the state of a company, its processes and systems with each new assignment.
  2. You must demonstrate a previously proven success record before consideration.
  3. Maintaining a predictable and consistent workload can be challenging.
  4. You may have a lack of employment benefits, if not supported by a staffing firm.
  5. You must be able to work with new people on a consistent basis.

Do you have other Pros and Cons to add to the list? Comment below and let us know!


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