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A Strong Talent Strategy Helps Manage M&A Disruption

Mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. sustained a vigorous pace in 2015-2016, recording 3,349 transactions with a total market valuation of nearly $371 billion. And for 2017, according to a J.P. Morgan Global M&A Outlook report, that activity is likely to continue strong.

The healthy volume of M&A transactions is driving a need for finance and accounting professionals to handle the complex dealings required prior to, during and after businesses consolidate. Across industries, companies are developing talent strategies that include contingent solutions to fill staffing needs and handle critical operations.

Pre-transaction Staffing Needs

Voluntary turnover of key finance and accounting personnel can begin even just based on rumors that a company will be acquired or merge with another company.  “Many companies anticipate that employees will leave and choose to be proactive in securing temporary talent in order to backfill crucial positions in the interim,” according to Rebecca Camacho, account manager for Aston Carter. In addition to sustaining daily operations, temporary talent can also preserve the transfer of knowledge that might be lost with a gap in accounting support.

Meanwhile, companies contemplating the sale of the business may seek headcount reductions to create a balance sheet that’s more attractive to potential buyers. Either scenario can create a substantial talent gap at the same time financial responsibilities necessary to prepare for the change in corporate ownership and structure are ramping up. Contingent support can supply the necessary talent needed to align with business objectives.

Support Required during the Merger/Acquisition

The complex M&A process can often trigger a demand for short-term support during the course of the consolidation. Uncertainty created by unknowns during the M&A process can create hiring needs as companies might not know how long an enterprise resource planning (ERP) process can take to consolidate accounting procedures, eliminate redundancies and create or modify procedures.

Accounts payable and collections multiple transactions needed to be done in multiple systems before fully integrated.

Certain M&A activity will require specific talent specializations.

Sale of division: Companies that are selling off divisions or assets will need a way to handle the short-term accounting required for a spin-off, notes Camacho; carving out balance sheet items, discontinuing operations after the separation, opening balance sheet projects and other transactional requirements.

Publicly held companies: If one of the companies involved is publicly held, additional skillsets may be required in order to satisfy the resulting needs based on Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and other regulatory requirements.

Loss of shared resources: During an M&A, a company may lose access to existing resources or assets it once had, creating new needs or new requirements based on having to adapt on the fly.

Hiring Needs Post-transaction

After the merger or acquisition has been finalized, the company may have a different vision for the finance and accounting teams, which could create turnover and/or a need for additional staff.

Other hiring needs may crop up if the new or merged company moves or consolidates operations in a new city or state. Whether these positions are temporary, permanent or temp-to-hire, broad-based hiring may be needed to replace workers who don’t make the transition.

A merger or acquisition can be an intense undertaking for all the employees involved. Knowing that you are working with a trusted recruitment partner to take care of your staffing needs can provide a level of confidence that allows management to maintain focus on the big picture.

Want to learn more? Contact Aston Carter now.

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