The pendulum has swung: accountants and finance professionals can make more money—and have wayyyy more freedom—taking on freelance work, especially when compared to a full-time salaried position at a public accounting firm.
Just imagine it! Working from home in your pajamas, setting your own hours, taking Netflix-and-nap breaks. No co-workers bugging you with stories of their latest golf triumphs—no sound at all, really, just silence and solitude and letting your personal hygiene slide …
… wait …
… OK, imagine all of that stuff, but for real and permanent, with no “return to office” plans hitting your inbox in a few weeks.
And the whole WFH thing is just an option, not a requirement, and you can really work from anywhere—which means you can travel. Oh, and imagine you’re getting to pick what you want to work on and who you want to work for, and you’re making more money than you do at your current job.
OK, that’s better.
That dream is a reality for many of the top-tier finance professionals providing freelance CFO leadership, controllership, accounting, bookkeeping, financial planning, analysis, and more as part of Paro’s freelance/temp placement network.
We know what you’re thinking: “I’ve looked into the freelance thing before, and it’s just not for me.” But Paro is different. In this article, we’ll show you how—and we’ll start by getting straight to the good stuff.
Find out what you’re really worth—and then earn it
Though he wasn’t exactly the greatest role model, a (fictional) clown once taught some bad guys a lesson by telling them, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” It wasn’t long after that he was sliding down a giant pile of cash. (Then some other stuff happened, but we don’t need to get into that.)
Unfortunately, many accounting and finance professionals don’t get paid anywhere near their real market value. If you’re not sure what your value should be, you can check the salary guide from Robert Half or various other calculators and resources online.
“I cut my teeth at a Big 4 firm,” said Jon Repka, vice president of sales at Paro. “I was told what I was worth, which was 15% of my bill rate at the time. But on an open marketplace, how much should a senior auditor with 15 years of experience go for on an hourly basis? A lot of people guess, some overbill—really, the vast majority underbill. But with Paro, you’ll know exactly what you’re worth, and we’ll do everything we can to get it for you.”
Even if you’re one of those lucky so-and-sos who is actually getting paid what you’re worth, just think of how much more you could make by taking on the occasional high-paying freelance gig when times are slow?
The amount you earn will vary based on a number of factors, and Paro will help you identify accreditations or certain types of experience that will boost your rate. But here’s a general sense of what professionals in Paro’s network get paid, broken down by job title:
CPA Firm Support:
- CAS: up to $30/hr
- Tax preparation: up to $50/hr
- Prep and review: up to $60/hr
- Review: up to $75/hr
Small Business (SMB) Support:
- Bookkeeping/accounting: up to $40/hr
- Controller: up to $65/hr
Take the fear out of freelance
OK, so technically taking the “fear” out of “freelance” leaves you with “elnce,” but you get what we mean.
If you’ve never done it before, taking the plunge into the world of freelance accounting can be a bit frightening. But don’t worry—Paro takes care of all the scary stuff for you. And as a famous (fictional) sensei once said, “It’s OK to lose to an opponent. It’s never OK to lose to fear. Now go wax my car.”
For those of you who do have some freelance experience, you know you don’t always get a ton of choice in the companies you work for. Inevitably, you wind up dealing with people who aren’t your type (unless “people who take six months to pay your invoice” is your type). And sometimes you sign on for a job you thought you were qualified for—but when you get there, it turns out you’re in a bit over your head.
You won’t have to worry about any of that when you work with Paro. Paro has a sophisticated matching system that leverages years of expertise and artificial intelligence to help align your skills and interests with a client’s needs.
“Paro has given me the platform to find clients that are a perfect match for my services,” said Kristie Woods, a CPA and member of Paro’s talent network.
You’ll have the full freedom to set your own rate and hours, control the number of projects you work on at a time, and turn your availability off and on at your leisure. And once you’ve begun working with a client, you can rely on continuous support from the Paro Home Team.
“Paro handles all of the marketing, billing, and collections for me, so I can fully focus on my clients’ accounting needs. They are great to work with,” Woods said.
Get your life back
A famous (fictional) teacher once told a student who got so caught up thinking about the future that he failed to continue standing on his head while telekinetically lifting some rocks and a robot, “Control, control, you must learn control!”
For accounting and finance professionals, control means recognizing when it’s time to put your nose to the grindstone—and when it’s time to work a little less and live a little more.
“Someone I talked to recently said, ‘When I was in public accounting, during busy season I used to drop my daughter off at school and I wouldn’t see her until the next day,’” said Alex Loewenstein, head of CPA practice at Paro. “One day her daughter said, ‘Mommy, why don’t I see you anymore?’ She left public accounting to spend more time with her family, but she’s still working with firms during the season because it’s great money.”
Teaming up with Paro gives you all that freedom and more. Want to work 60 hours a week and—unlike in public accounting—actually get rich doing it? No problem. Want to take a few jobs here and there and spend the rest of your time with family or video games? You got it. Need some time off to travel the world—or play video games even more? Paro has your back.
Perhaps most importantly, Paro gives you the freedom to work with the firms of your choice rather than for them. Through Paro’s white-labeling services, you’ll get the prestige of representing a big firm (or the comfort of representing a smaller one) but you’ll do it on your terms, picking the jobs and industries you want to work on while passing on the ones you don’t.
Paro can’t help you mentally project a hologram of yourself across the galaxy where you can fight your nephew in a duel that’s really just a distraction to give your friends time to escape from an assault by an evil empire—yet—but we still think the teacher we mentioned earlier would be impressed by you exercising that level of control.
What are you waiting for?
The potential to earn more money, work with better clients, get more freedom—there’s no downside to checking out Paro and applying to join their network. Go pay them a visit and see what they’re all about.
As a famous (fictional) computer hacker said as he offered a newbie a choice between a red and a blue pill, “I’m trying to free your mind. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”
So walk through it, already! Trust us on this one—that blue pill may look tempting, but it tastes like unpaid overtime.