98% of accountants stressed – even before the coronavirus outbreak

98% of accountants stressed – even before the coronavirus outbreak

The state of our mental wellbeing has increasingly become a central health issue in modern times – and that applies to accountants just as much as people in any walk of life

But it was still quite a shock to read a report from The Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association last year that found just two per cent of accountants were unaffected by stress in their job.

Accountants report daily stress at work

So, 98 out of 100 accountants are feeling stressed every single day at work – and that was long before the coronavirus wreaked havoc on the whole of society, bringing all kinds of new worries and problems for all of us, including how businesses can successfully work from home full time.

When we drill down into the survey figures some more, we can see that 31 percent of those surveyed said they felt stressed on a daily basis. This figure rose to 43 percent for 18-34-year-olds and 45 percent for 35-44-year-olds. Some 37 percent said their job was the main cause of their stress, while 29 percent cited the difficulty of trying to maintain a work-life blend.

Some 38 percent said they checked emails outside work every day, while 33 percent did so while sick or on annual leave.

The picture painted by the research is quite a stark contrast from the CABA’s inaugural Wellbeing Report from 2012. The organisation noted that its regular catch ups with accountants found, only a year after in 2013, that the situation had deteriorated and appears to have got worse every year since.

Why are accountants becoming more stressed?

In some ways, it’s not too surprising, with the pressures of ever-changing legislation and compliance. The accountancy industry has changed – almost beyond recognition – over the last decade and the changes keep on coming.

The Making Tax Digital reforms have been an enormous readjustment for most, with more to come on the horizon for this particular area of regulation. Then there have been data protection updates with GDPR, and the new Anti-Money Laundering rules that took effect in January. On top of this, there’s increasing administrative burden, and numerous daily tasks that many accountants would rather do without.

For some it might simply that you’re fed up with the long, demanding hours you’re doing, feeling forced to work while you’re on holiday and perhaps even when you’re ill. You might be overloaded with huge stacks of client work and endless stress-inducing complex number-crunching that leaves no room for error.

For even the most resilient accountant, the combination of these factors can be enough to wear you down and leave you feeling less than loved up with your job.

What’s the solution to increasing stress?

For many accountants, this is a time to rethink their future. It doesn’t take too much searching of online news and opinion forums for accountancy professionals to realise many have thought about plotting an exit.

This is one of two pathways that open up for accountants who really have become too unhappy with the status quo to simply go on as they are. That’s to say, start planning a sale of their practice and look at forging a new life. Perhaps retirement beckons? A new life in a new location?

The second path is to find better ways to work to fall back in love with the job. It might be simply about finding a better work-life balance. With a simpler, less stressful, more fulfilling work-life, and more time to spend on what you love doing and less on what you don’t, you’d probably feel differently.

There are many ways that you can rediscover the reasons you got into accountancy and reignite the romance.

Indeed, IRIS has created a handy guide with lots of ideas about this very subject here.

What next?

Do you forge a new life? Or renew your love for your job?

Whichever way you decide to go in your accountancy career, IRIS can help you.

Check out our range of resources here to help you make that crucial choice – and importantly, make a success of it.

Please visit www.iris.co.uk/love  and contact us via 0344 844 9644 or [email protected]

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