Employer support is key in establishing financial wellbeing

Employer support is key in establishing financial wellbeing

In the UK, less than two percent of workers are unaffected by stress—leaving 98 percent of workers to juggle their stresses and financial woes with their work-life balance. What can accountancy firms do to better support these struggling employees? 

Financial insecurity looks different from person to person, but work-related stresses can exacerbate those insecurities.

Research conducted by CABA, the charity supporting the wellbeing of ICAEW chartered accountants and their families, found that money is the root cause of stress for one in five accountants.

Additionally, their research found that both young and middle-aged adults are more concerned about their finances than their older colleagues.

With this in mind, there are a number of measures that accountancy firms can take to better support their employees’ financial wellbeing and stability.

Paul Day, a Debt Support Officer at CABA, explained: “With more and more emphasis being placed on staff engagement and its connection to productivity, creating a space in which people can flourish is becoming a priority for many organisations.

“The age-old expression ‘you get out what you put in’ rings true when creating a positive work environment, and can certainly reap real rewards for organisations.”

The importance of employer support

Statistics show that financial instability is a widespread problem within the UK workforce. For instance, the 2019 Financial Wellbeing Index showed that a concerning 94 percent of UK employees worry about money, with 77 percent of workers believing that their financial worries impact them at work.

While these financial woes directly affect employees, they also drastically affect organisations. Research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that finances are the largest source of stress to UK employees.

That stress can translate into decreased productivity, poorer job performance, brain fog and absenteeism, according to CABA, which all contribute to a less effective work environment.

However, there are many resources available to employers to help support the financial wellbeing of both individual employees and the firm overall.

Money can be a stressful and embarrassing topic for accountants, so CABA recommends placing resources in accessible places and informing all employees of their availability.

“It would be a good idea to leave information where employees are able to access this in their own time and without having to ask for it, such as on a staff noticeboard or on the company intranet,” Day explained.

Additionally, providing indiscriminate resources to employees can help counter the stigma associated with financial instability. Accountants may feel insecure about their situation, particularly given their career, and may need reassurance that it is okay for them to seek help.

However, even with these resources, employees may still feel uncomfortable discussing their situation with someone inside their organisation. In these situations, employers can signpost their employees to the external resources available through CABA.

Seeking out new opportunities

Outside of the work environment, there are a number of individual solutions that accountants can seek out.

While external resources like benefits and retirement savings can be difficult to navigate, they may offer a solution to a difficult financial situation. Additionally, there are several grants and funds available to low-income or otherwise struggling accountants.

In these instances, CABA is available to help accountants navigate their options and find the solution that works for them.

“The most important thing to do is to be proactive in trying to resolve the issue—many people are acutely aware of being in financial difficulty but often push the issue to one side, hoping that something will turn up and it’ll resolve itself,” Day said.

CABA offers impartial and confidential advice to both past and present ICAEW members, as well as ICAEW staff, ACA students and their immediate families.
For immediate support, call CABA’s 24/7 hotline at +44 0178 855 6366, or chat to the charity’s online specialists 9 – 5 on weekdays at CABA.org.uk.

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