Information for Interims

Interim Management: What is Interim Management?    

Defined as a resource to help organisations undergoing change, trying to implement a critical strategy or looking to plug a crucial management or skills gap, organisations use interims for: 

  • Change management
  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Crisis management/troubleshooting
  • Heavy workload and inability to increase headcount
  • Maternity cover
  • Long-term sick leave
  • Sudden departure in the team

Assignments can be part time or full time. VMA Interim Management only takes on contracts over a month in length. Some assignments continue on a rolling basis for much longer, although most are between six and 12 months in length. Most of our clients expect the Interim Manager to be based in their office for the majority of the contract, however there is usually flexibility for some home working, particularly once the Interim has established him/herself.

What is an Interim Manager and what do they do?    

  • An independent, senior level professional with a proven track record
  • Not looking for a permanent job – take on interim assignments as a career choice
  • Over-qualified for the work – able to ‘hit the ground running’
  • A driver and decision maker with a mix of strategic and tactical skills
  • Able to turn things around or build a function/department from scratch
  • Able to manage teams and budgets
  • Able to develop the existing team’s skills by offering hands-on coaching and development
  • Part of the team but also independent – no impact on the headcount
  • Available at short notice

What's in it for you?   

  • Take control – enjoy a better work/life balance
  • Take on new challenges and work in a variety of roles and organisations
  • Be part of a team without getting involved in the politics
  • Enjoy better pay and more free time
  • Build up a portfolio of skills and experiences in a shorter timeframe

Why isn't everyone doing it?    

  • No guarantee of regular work
  • Managing your own finances and time
  • No sense of ‘belonging’
  • Not always enough time to build internal networks within an organisation

What makes a successful interim manager?  

When you’re looking for work, make sure you are:

  • Flexible about where, when and how you work
  • Confident in selling your expertise to potential clients
  • Able to cope with financial uncertainty
  • Able to deal with periods of no work, followed by periods of heavy workloads
  • Confident at networking and marketing yourself as a business
  • Being honest about your capabilities – strengths AND weaknesses

When you’re working you need to be:

  • Committed to interim management as a career choice, not just a stop-gap
  • Over-qualified for the job
  • Able to influence and communicate at every level
  • Hands on
  • Good time, people and project management skills
  • Problem solving/troubleshooting skills
  • Able to operate inside the team but outside the politics
  • Willing to share knowledge and coach staff

Why use VMA Interim Management?  

VMA Interim Management can introduce you to companies looking for interim managers and freelance consultants in a wide variety of industry sectors. We handle assignments across several disciplines, including change management and corporate communications.

With over 30 years’ experience in matching interim professionals with private and public sector organisations, we can offer advice on whether this is the right stage in your career to become an Interim Manager. We can also give guidance on market conditions and daily rates and provide you with contacts to help you with the legal and financial implications of going it alone.

We know that interim management can be a lonely business, so we hold regular events for Interim Managers and those in permanent employment thinking about making the change.

What makes an ideal interim management CV?    

See the “What makes an ideal CV” for general tips.

A classic interim management CV will be succinct and results-focused. Every recruitment consultancy will give you different advice depending on what works with their clients. This is what works with ours:

  • Formatting: Use bullet points which are easier to read than paragraphs.
  • Keep it brief: The temptation is to just keep adding to your CV with each completed assignment, but it is important to edit as you go. Many interim CVs will not conform to the ‘two page’ rule, but three full pages should be sufficient.
  • Evidence: Use tangible examples and mention campaigns/clients/projects by name. It is helpful if the hiring manager reading your CV recognises a project you have worked on – so give more detail where relevant.
  • Achievements: Demonstrate how you have added value, offered a solution and transferred your knowledge and expertise.
  • Jargon: Do not use jargon. The client reading your CV might not have the expertise to translate your experience to fit the job profile.
  • Context: Rather than having a separate skills section we recommend that your skills are placed within the context of each of your contracts, with examples against each skill.
  • Trends: Ask your consultant what clients are looking for and make sure you cover those trends in your CV where relevant – such as ‘change management’; ‘stakeholder relations’ etc.
  • History: Do not forget to include your permanent employment history. Clients like to see the progression of your entire career.
  • Relevance: Is all the information in your CV relevant and necessary? We strongly recommend excluding your date of birth or age from your CV due to the recent age legislation. Marital status, hobbies and interests can be included if you prefer, but are not strictly necessary.

Things to consider before making the leap?    

Because of the nature of interim work, the client’s requirement is usually for an Interim who can start as soon as possible. Contracts usually start within two weeks of us taking the brief. As a result we are unable to consider people currently working in permanent roles with notice periods of one month or more for interim roles. It is a real “Catch 22” situation, as we would not encourage people to hand in their notice without having other work lined up, or being financially prepared for a possible break between roles. It may take several months to source a suitable contract opportunity. If you are keen to make the move, then we would strongly recommend that you prepare financially, research the market and actively target any previous contacts that you have, in case they can provide you with short-term project work as a stop-gap measure.

Laws and regulations: Financial and legal considerations for Interims:

Interim Management can be lucrative, but there are practical considerations you need to look into before you start.

Will you set up as a Limited Company or a Sole Trader?

If you would like the flexibility of working for a day rate rather than pro rata salary, you should consider setting up as self-employed (sole trader) or starting your own Limited Company. Self-employment is the most straightforward option and very quick to set up, however, an increasing number of companies are unwilling or unable to pay self-employed consultants, as it results in extra liability for them. Setting up your own Limited Company will give you the most flexibility in whom you work for and will also enable you to work through recruitment consultancies that don’t have their own payroll, as is the case with VMA Interim Management.

Do you need an accountant?

Whether you decide to go self-employed or set up a company, you will need to hire an accountant for general financial advice, help with tax returns, etc.

Will IR35 legislation apply to your situation?

One other aspect of working on a contract that you should be aware of is IR35. This is a piece of legislation introduced by HM Revenue & Customs to gauge whether an interim can be deemed an employee of the contracting company for the purposes of tax and NI collection. If you are deemed to be working ‘within’ IR35 while on a contract, you could be liable for full PAYE tax and NI, whereas Ltd Company contractors who operate outside IR35 pay preferential rates of tax. You can find more information at

How will you manage the uncertainty of your finances – do you have money put aside?

There are no guarantees that one contract will immediately follow another when you become an Interim, so you need to have a financial buffer to protect you between contracts.

What insurances will you need – e.g. Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Professional Indemnity Insurance covers you and your business in the event of damages being awarded against you due to professional error, omission or an act of negligence towards a third party to whom you owe a duty of care. As with any insurance policy you may well never need to make a claim, but we strongly recommend that you do have the insurance.
What office equipment will you need if the client wants you to work off-site?

All clients will expect you to have an email address and access to the internet. A mobile phone is also a must.

Daily Rates vs. Salaries    

If you are offered a fixed-term contract, for example to cover maternity leave, you are likely to be paid via the client’s PAYE system and will be entitled to holiday and other benefits on a pro rata basis. The client will take your tax and National Insurance contributions at source and you will be paid the net amount monthly in arrears.

In many cases, especially at the more senior level, clients would prefer to offer a flexible contract period and expect candidates to charge a daily rate. If you are a Sole Trader, we will need to agree with the client in advance that they are happy paying you direct. Unfortunately VMA Interim Management is unable to pay sole traders – so your agreement has to be with the client in this case.

If you are set up as a Limited Company, VMA Interim Management will pay you the gross amount, based on the number of days you work. We usually pay monthly in arrears, based on approved timesheets and our payment terms are 30 days from receipt of your invoice. You will only be paid for the days you work – i.e. you are not entitled to holiday pay or sick leave and will not receive any other benefits. You will need to prove that you are registered as a Ltd Company and will be responsible for paying your own tax and NI. We strongly recommend that you have your own accountant and professional indemnity insurance (see 'Useful Links').

If you do not have your own Limited Company, or are not planning to work as an interim in the long term, you might prefer to use an umbrella service. These are companies that provide professional accountancy and legal services and they will register an individual Personal Service Company (Ltd Company) for you, through which you can be paid. Payment via an umbrella service will not give you the same level of tax saving as setting up your own Ltd Company as they are required by law to deduct PAYE tax, employers’ NI and employees' NI from your daily rate, although professional expenses can be offset against the taxable amount. All umbrella services also charge a fee, which varies from company to company. The benefits of using an umbrella service are that it is very quick and easy to set up and you don’t have to worry about paying your own tax and NI or engaging an accountant to manage your finances.

This website provides a price and service comparison for umbrella providers:

The following websites provide general information for contractors, including an overview of the different payment methods and requirements for IR35 compliance:

Daily rates vary from assignment to assignment, depending on industry sector, discipline, location, length of contract etc. If you would like to discuss what you might expect to earn as an Interim Manager please call the interim team on 020 7436 4243.

Visas and Work Permits     

If you are interested in registering with VMA Group, whether for permanent or interim assignments, you must show us proof of eligibility to work in the UK, regardless of whether or not you are an UK/EU citizen.

Useful contact details:

Home Office
0870 606 7766

UK Visas

Work Permits UK
+44(0)114 259 4074

For more information on the Interim Management market