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CFOs Drawn to Consulting as They Near Retirement

By Michael Cohn
May 6, 2014

Consulting may be an attractive career move for CFOs who may not be ready to stop working when they retire, according to a new poll.

Robert Half Management Resources recently surveyed more than 2,100 CFOs and found that 75 percent said they find the prospect of consulting somewhat or very attractive.

"Financial professionals who are ready for a change but don't want to retire often choose consulting as their next career step," said Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald in a statement. "Project work provides intellectual challenge, the opportunity to take on new types of assignments and the ability to mentor others."

CFOs were asked, "How attractive would you find the prospect of consulting when you approach retirement?" These are their responses:

Very attractive

17%

Somewhat attractive

58%

Not at all attractive

23%

Don't know/no answer

2%

100%

An infographic presents the research findings.

For those deciding whether to transition to project consulting, here are four questions that Robert Half urges them to consider before making the move:

1. What do you hope to accomplish through consulting? You may be looking to work fewer hours or at your own pace, or to bring in supplemental income once you leave your full-time job. Whatever the reason, have a plan before you begin consulting to ensure you are on track to reach your goals.

2. What expertise can you provide? If you can serve a niche in your field, you'll be in demand as a consultant. Think about a particular skill set or area of expertise you have trouble filling on your own team. The more marketable your skills are, the greater your opportunities.

3. How much do you want to promote yourself? If you'd rather focus your time on consulting versus self-marketing, consider partnering with a staffing firm that can help locate consulting gigs for you. A staffing firm also can take care of logistics such as billing and taxes on your behalf.

4. Do you thrive in new environments? If you would happily trade the predictability of a full-time job for the variety and flexibility of project-based work, an encore career as a consultant may be right up your alley.


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