Add the temporary-staffing industry to the roster of businesses benefiting from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. With companies barred from using their auditors to bring internal controls up to speed and reluctant to add to head count, finance-staffing firms say they're seeing a spike in business this year.
"We've seen at least a 50 percent increase in requests for help in establishing solid internal controls," says Don Wylie, managing director of Pro Staff Finance & Accounting's Houston office.
Other finance-staffing firms are reporting positive effects as well. Kforce saw an unexpected 5.8 percent increase in revenues in its finance-and-accounting-staffing division last quarter, which "probably wouldn't have occurred without Sarbanes-Oxley," says CFO and COO William Sanders. Robert Half International Inc. CFO Keith Waddell advised analysts in late January that controls-related projects were likely to boost revenues for the firm's Protiviti and Accountemps units throughout 2003.
There's also a hidden benefit to hiring a temp, says Wylie. Given the lack of specificity in the rules, "a lot of clients try to get someone who's done [the work] for other companies," he says. "They want to get a feel for what their peers are doing."