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Accountants: Going Once, Going Twice

Bring your auction paddle and get ready to bid for finance help.
Laura DeMars, CFO Magazine
November 10, 2006

What if companies could bid for temporary accounting help on the Web as easily as Bruce Springsteen fans chase concert tickets on eBay? Now they can.

Slated to launch this month, GreenBrim.com provides an auction service for companies looking for temporary finance and IT help. "Usually companies call up a staffing firm, take whomever they can get, and pay fees to both the person and the agency," says Robert Stewart, a former auditor and founder of GreenBrim.com. "Now they can pick the person they want and save money."

The site lets companies view profiles of finance professionals, which include the prospect's job history, certifications, and education. Companies can also solicit bids for specific projects, such as Sarbanes-Oxley compliance work or a financial-software installation. As on eBay, both parties can provide feedback on the transaction, so workers and companies can build a reputation for reliability. While companies can search free of charge, finance professionals looking for jobs pay a monthly membership fee of $20 to $40 to search and bid for positions.

Last year the demand for temporary accounting and finance staff jumped 23 percent, according to Staffing Industry Analysts, a research firm that follows the temporary-staffing industry. Barry Asin, executive vice president of SIA, estimates that companies will spend about $9.1 billion on temporary finance staff this year.

Nonetheless, job auctions will be a tough sell. "It's a chicken-and-egg problem," claims Asin. "Site membership needs to hit critical mass before many staff seekers will use it." And, he explains, many companies do not have time to sift through profiles to find the right person for the job: "That's why they hire staffing agencies."




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