Does any of this sound like you?

  • Our team’s capacity is maxed out and there’s still so much to do
  • We need an outside perspective
  • Our HR VP is going on parental leave
  • My company doesn’t have the expertise to get this project done
  • Our CFO unexpectedly resigned
  • We’re a startup and we need to get smart about HR
  • We’re unsure if we should hire a full-time employee right now

If you’re reading this guide, chances are you could use some expert help.

Well, luckily, Salo has been matching senior finance, accounting, and HR consultants with organizations for more than 20 years. We work with organizations nationwide to find the right consultant(s) for their needs. We’re ready to help you get the information you need to confidently partner with an expert consultant.

What’s in this hiring guide

Whether you need help immediately or you’re planning ahead, read this guide to learn how to find the right consultant(s) for your organization.

Part 1: How consultants benefit your business

  • Get to know today’s professional consultants
  • 10 great reasons to hire a consultant
  • Common myths about consultants

Part 2: How to choose and onboard consultants

  • Choose the right consultant(s) for your situation
  • Foster successful consulting engagements
  • See our hiring and onboarding checklist

Get to know today’s professional consultants

For some of today’s most senior and specialized professionals, consulting is a flexible and lucrative career choice. They’re former c-level execs, VPs, and subject matter experts. With their sought-after skills, these in-demand consultants are ready to jump into crisis situations, take on tough challenges, or lead a team. Today’s consultants have been in your shoes. In fact, they might be your former colleagues.

For senior practitioners, consulting is a great way to use their skills and make a difference—while being their own boss. Most are corporate veterans who want variety, better work-life balance, and the ability to choose their projects. They get the career they want, with the ability to work whenever, wherever, and how much they want. Additionally, many consultants say their pay exceeds their compensation at previous permanent roles.

Check out these stats about freelancing and consulting in the U.S. Highly skilled professionals are gravitating to freelancing

Highly skilled professionals are gravitating to freelancing

  • 53% of freelancers provide skilled services such as business consulting, IT, and marketing (up from 45% in 2019).
  • 51% of workers with postgraduate degrees are freelancers (up 6% since 2020).

Salo consultants have the best of both worlds

When consultants work with Salo, they get all of the advantages of freelancers as well as perks they’d expect from full-time jobs. For example, Salo consultants get benefits such as health and dental insurance, paid time off, community-building opportunities, and more.

It’s a career choice …

  • 70% of independent contractors said they are working as contractors by choice.
  • 48% already see it as both a full-time and long-term career opportunity.
  • 59% of freelancers believe they are making more money freelancing than they would in a traditional role.

And a lifestyle choice

  • 84% of freelancers are living their preferred lifestyle, as opposed to 54% of traditional employees.
  • 60% say that there is no amount of money that would convince them to take a traditional job.
  • 86% of freelancers think that the best days for freelancers are yet to come.

Why hire a financial consultant?

A fresh start for a department in transition

When a CFO resigned, an organization realized their accounting records were in disarray. Salo provided an expert consultant with experience as a CFO and expertise in helping companies during a transition. The consultant spent time with each area of the finance team—talking through what needed to change and what work needed to be done. Then, the consultant empowered the employees to do the bulk of the work, reviewing their progress as tasks were completed. As a result of the consultant’s help, the client now has a solid team and financial practices in place.

10 great reasons to hire a consultant

  1. Speed: When you need to get something done fast, you need experienced, knowledgeable people. With seasoned consultants, you don’t have to spend weeks handholding, training, or onboarding. They hit the ground running and add value immediately.
  2. Expertise: If your existing team is missing critical skills, a consultant with subject matter expertise can be the perfect fit. Whether you need a one-time expert opinion or you need to build an entirely new skillset within your organization, a subject matter expert can cultivate the know-how you need.
  3. Affordability: Although you may pay more per hour for a consultant, your overall costs will probably be less. You don’t have to withhold taxes, pay unemployment, provide healthcare benefits, or fund training/development. You only pay for the work you need done.
  4. Interim leadership: When a leader leaves, takes a leave of absence, or changes positions—the whole team is impacted. It’s important to have an experienced leader who’s ready to manage, mentor, and evolve the team.
  5. Role definition: No use hiring a permanent employee for a role that’s in flux. A consultant can help you define the role you need and create a job description to help you find the right permanent resource.
  6. Extra capacity: Big projects or big challenges can overwhelm your team. If you need some extra hands on deck, professional consultants can help your team shoulder the load.
  7. Problem-solving prowess: Got a tough problem to solve? Bring in someone who has “been there, done that.” An experienced consultant has likely worked in a variety of organizations, industries, and project teams. They will help you clearly identify the problem and come up with creative solutions to solve it.
  8. Change/transition help: Times of change are critical for businesses. When you’re in a transition, a knowledgeable consultant can help you steady the ship. Consultants can provide confidence with insights, ideas, and processes that have worked in similar situations.
  9. Objective analysis and decisions: As outsiders, experienced consultants can often identify opportunities and eliminate blind spots in your organization. They look at your business in new ways and without bias.
  10. Growth and innovation: Creating a new subsidiary? Establishing a new team? Want to launch a new product When a business starts something new, there’s a lot of work to do. Consultants can help you get your initiative set up and started. Then, they’ll prepare for a seamless transition to the permanent team and set them up for future success.

Hiring a consultant can be a great ROI

Working with an experienced consultant can have long-term benefits for your organization. With a relatively small investment, you can see significant results—such as expedited timelines, streamlined processes, more confident teams, or innovative solutions to your business challenges.

Common myths about consultants

Leery about hiring a consultant? No worries. We’re here to bust the most common myths about consultants and consulting engagements. Let’s dig in.

woman holding a book

MYTH: Consultants are expensive
Not always. Effective, rewarding consulting engagements can be tailored to almost any budget.

MYTH: It takes too much time to onboard a consultant
It’s the opposite. Experienced consultants are pros at hitting the ground running—they often add value on day one.

MYTH: Consultants only work on prestigious projects
Nope. Consultants can fill day-to-day roles, allowing your employees to work on special projects and meaty initiatives.

MYTH: Consultants aren’t as dedicated as employees
False! Consultants want to make a difference (and their careers depend on referrals)—so, they go the extra mile.

MYTH: If you need a consultant, your team is doing something wrong
No way. Even the most successful teams hire consultants when they need temporary extra capacity, specialized skills, or a new perspective.

MYTH: Consultants take their knowledge with them when they leave
Not at all. Good consultants leave client teams with the knowledge they need for future success.

MYTH: Consultants only work for big companies
Incorrect. Consultants help organizations from startups and family businesses to Fortune 100 companies.

MYTH: Consultants want to take employees’ jobs.
Not likely. Most consultants choose a consulting career for the flexibility and variety permanent roles don’t offer.

Why hire an HR consultant

Leading an HRIS project from RFP to implementation

A privately held consumer packaged goods company was looking for a partner to lead an HRIS project from RFP to implementation. A Salo consultant with deep HRIS experience managed all aspects of the client-side project. With the consultant’s help, the new system was delivered successfully: on time, within budget, and with minimal disruption to the business. After the system was put in place, the HR and payroll teams gained a broader scope, influence, and engagement in their organization.

Read More
man on laptop

Choose the right consultant(s) for your engagement

You don’t need just any consultant; you need the right consultant for your engagement. (You might even need more than one.) Finding the right consulting match requires preparation.

First: Define your business needs

Start your consultant search by creating an initial definition of the engagement. While the details may change over time, you need a starting point that includes:

  • The challenge(s) and expected outcome(s)
  • Skills required
  • Budget and timing
  • Workplace parameters (e.g., in-person, remote, hybrid)
  • Duration and hours per week (e.g., a few hours a week for a month or a full-time, year-long commitment)

Second: Questions to ask consultants before hiring

Choosing the right consultant is about asking the right questions. Ask candidates questions, such as:

  • Do you have the proven ability to do the work (e.g., do you have references or past work examples)?
  • Do you have the problem-solving acumen and ability to innovate?
  • Do you have broad knowledge, a specific area of expertise, or both?
  • Can you quickly create trusted relationships and gain people’s confidence?
  • Are you able to communicate complex concepts quickly?

Timing, budget, and availability

  • What are your rates?
  • How do you prefer to bill for your work (e.g., hourly rate, per project, fixed fees, retainer, etc.)
  • What is your availability? When could you start?
  • How much time can you commit to us?

Culture fit

  • Are your values aligned with our team’s?
  • Is your workplace/workstyle compatible with ours’?
  • What could the consultant add to your team culture?
  • Do you collaborate with others effectively, including listening and taking feedback?

The Salo advantage

When you work with Salo, our business development directors (BDDs) do most of the leg work. They help you define your needs, find qualified consultants, set up interviews, and negotiate the terms of the engagement.

Why hire an accounting consultant?

Setting up a sustainable finance function

At a high-growth, family-owned engineering firm, the president was moonlighting as their accounting department—in addition to all of her other work. She knew she needed to set up sustainable finance/ accounting processes but didn’t know where to start. Salo assigned a tried-and-true, controller-level Salo expert to act as interim controller. On day one, the consultant stepped in and started taking things off the president’s plate. The consultant quickly began managing day-to-day tasks, setting up long-term professional processes, and preparing the company to welcome a permanent controller.

Read More

How to successfully work with a consultant

When consulting goes well, it’s a mutually beneficial experience. Both the organization and the consultant grow, learn, and succeed. But that partnership takes effort from the consultant and the organizational representatives.

Prepare your team in advance

Consultants are generally exceptional relationship builders. But it helps if you—the project sponsor—give any impacted teams a heads-up before the consultant arrives. Why? When consultants appear without warning, it can cause stress and fear for other team members. They might worry the consultant is going to take their job or “come in and change everything.”

To get ahead of this concern, provide an overview of who the consultant is, why they’re coming, and what you hope the engagement will accomplish. Talk, specifically, about how the consultant will benefit the team (e.g., reducing their workload or increasing their knowledge).

Hiring a consultant: How to start off strong

At Salo, we often say our consultants can “hit the ground running.” Career consultants are pros at acclimating quickly, but they need a little help from you to get started. (Check out our “Onboarding Checklist” below.)

To help your consultant start adding value on Day 1:

  • Get technology set up, security clearances, and paperwork done in advance.
  • Have a kick-off meeting to reiterate the scope of work and any other expectations.
  • Introduce the consultant to the team and set up 1:1 meetings with key colleagues.
  • Provide a list of go-to people that the consultant can contact for quick questions and clarifications.

Note: If your consultant is working remotely, ask if they are open to meeting the team in person at the beginning of the engagement to establish some relationships quickly. While an in-person visit isn’t necessary, it can make the onboarding and teambuilding aspects easier.

Work together effectively

Managing consultants is similar to managing most employees. The partnership works best when you:

  • Make your consultant part of the team. Treat your consultant like an employee. If there’s an all-employee meeting or employee happy hour, include your consultant. Especially on long engagements, consultants are invested in your success and want to build relationships with your team. The more integrated they are, the more value they can create.
  • Have regular check-ins. Consultants can do a lot on their own, but if you really want to see “the magic happen” it helps to meet regularly with your consultants. Regular (preferably weekly) check-ins are key to the success of
    the engagement. They help you gauge your consultant’s progress. Finally, check-ins provide a regular opportunity for the consultant to ask for help, information, or feedback.
  • Be honest and open about your organization. Consultants are here to help your organization succeed, but they can’t do that if you’re not telling them the whole story. Make sure the consultant has the context they need (warts and all) to do their job.
  • Stay open-minded about what consultants tell you. Consultants see your organization with fresh eyes. That means they have insights you might have never noticed. Use that knowledge to your advantage. For example, they might see an employee with talents you didn’t know about or a process that could work better. You’re paying for a consultant with expertise gained from moving from organization-to-organization—use that knowledge!

Why hire an HR consultant?

Building an HR function from scratch

One of the nation’s largest drugstore chains and a leading pharmacy benefit manager created a joint venture to deliver prescriptions to consumers’ homes. The new company needed to build an HR function from the ground up. They needed an interim leader with experience with benefits and compensation. Working remotely, our consultant was able to build a total benefits structure, strategy, and team.

Expert help is just a chat away

Have a tough challenge? Need an extra pair of hands? Looking for interim leadership? At Salo, we’ve got you covered. And the process couldn’t be easier. We have vetted, expert finance, accounting, and HR consultants ready to help your team succeed. Just contact us at to discuss your needs, and we’ll find the right consulting experts for your situation.


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Salo is now part of Korn Ferry

Salo connects senior finance, accounting, and HR professionals with organizations that need their expertise. Joining Korn Ferry’s Interim Executive & Professional practice enables us to continue our twofold, people-focused approach: connecting people with meaningful careers where they can make a positive impact and offering innovative and customized business solutions for clients looking to tackle big challenges. Together with Korn Ferry, we are committed to putting people first, to build a world that works better together.

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Explore meaningful careers

Salo specializes in connecting finance, accounting, and HR experts with meaningful work. We know that being empowered to pursue work that matters means endless career possibilities. Therefore, we find roles tailored to your interests and goals, whether you want to advance your career, mentor and lead teams, innovate and collaborate with new partners, or work with clients of all sizes across industries. Find out how we can be your career partners.

Looking for a meaningful career? Learn more here.

Solve business needs

Combining Korn Ferry’s global reach with Salo’s customized client approach means we’re able to deliver world-class service to organizations of all sizes and in all industries. Because our people have functional backgrounds in finance, accounting, and HR, we have a holistic understanding of your business needs and challenges. Our pool of executive and professional talent is uniquely motivated to do the best work they can. No matter your business talent need, we are your trusted partner.

Looking for interim talent? Learn more here.