Why accountants should be mindful about financial wellbeing

Why accountants should be mindful about financial wellbeing

Check out this video, made in partnership with the charity CABA, for advice on achieving financial stability, understanding financial wellbeing in the accountancy world, and finding support to achieve your goals.

Accountancy Age sat down with Paul Day, senior support officer at CABA, to understand more about financial wellbeing, how it affects accountants, and what can be done to address the issue of financial instability. But what is ‘financial wellbeing’?

“Financial wellbeing is a sense of security and the knowledge that you have enough money to meet your needs,” Day said. “It’s about feeling in control of your day-to-day finances and being able to make the financial choices that allow you to enjoy your life.”

In Day’s experience, accountants of all ages and walks of life can struggle with financial wellbeing for many reasons, but it will continue to affect the accountant until its addressed—either by themselves, or with the assistance of a firm’s leadership.

“We’ve seen an increasing amount of evidence that poor financial wellbeing does have an impact on people’s performance in the workplace,” Day said. “There’s also been a real desire from employees who’ve said, ‘We could like to hear about this from our employers, we would like to be supported in this, too.’”

Accountants who struggle with their own financial wellbeing may also suffer from poor mental and emotional health, stemming from the additional stress that debt places on one’s life. Citizen’s Advice found that 74% of respondents with poor financial wellbeing had experienced mental health issues, leading to over half reporting having had panic attacks.

With the added stigma of being a financial professional whose own finances are in question, it can be difficult for employees to seek help on their own.

To augment this, a practice’s leadership should watch out for some of the warning signs of financial difficulties and take proactive steps to remedy the situation.

“It could be looking into group income protection insurance or group life insurance,” Day said. “It could be asking local businesses if they do employee discounts for places like restaurants or gyms.

“It could even just be something as simple as providing employees information on the free resources out there.”
No matter the method chosen to combat financial insecurity, due to the sensitive nature of debt, both company leaders and financial advisors should treat the matter “sensitively, compassionately and confidentially,” according to Day.

“From my own experience of working with people in financial difficulty, the overwhelming emotion that they feel is shame,” Day said. “It’s very important, regardless of whether their financial choices align with your own values, to treat the matter non-judgementally.”

From trainee accountants to partners and beyond, financial hardships can hit anyone, for a multitude of reasons. There are many potential solutions, but the key to finding them is understanding why it happened in the first place—and then reaching out for help.

In our video, Day goes into more information on financial wellbeing, how it is handled, and why accountants have nothing to fear by asking for help.

If you would like direct advice from CABA on financial wellbeing, please visit CABA.co.uk or phone the 24-hour helpline at 017885 56366.

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