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Accountants at risk of burnout and stress according to accountancy charity CABA.

CABA – chartered accountants benevolent association

CABA, which is a charity supporting the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has recently published statistics on the metal health of Accountants in the profession finding worrying levels of burnout, stress and depression which is considerably higher when compared to other industries.

Many Accountants in practice are considering the option of selling their Accounting Businesses to help them preserve their mental health and reduce current stress levels.

Worrying times for Accountants

According to a surveying of over 2,800 accounting professionals in the field currently working across a variety of sectors, CABA publishes that over half of all respondents which is 56% are struggling with burnout, depression and excess stress, compared to only 41% found in other industries.

To compound this issue, 79% of respondents also believed that high levels of stress and a culture of poor mental health is integrated and ingrained into the accounting profession, citing intensive workloads, the complexity of the role and the lack of room for error being the three main problems.

These numbers come in stark contrast with the recent push by employers to offer their staff mental health assistance.

According to CABAs research, while employers have taken steps to develop a positive wellbeing support structure, many within the profession are not taking advantage of these initiatives.

When asked why employees were not taking advantage of these initiatives, a significant number believed they simply did not have the time to take out of their busy schedules, while others utilised more informal methods to reduce stress, such as a walk in the park, listening to music or by running – rather than more formal and substantial approach for mental health.

Fear of repercussions from the employer

Many within the accounting profession still feel a level of stigma when it comes to the topic of mental health at work, with CABA discovering that 30% of accountants would be concerned about their manager or HR department believing them to be unreliable if they sought wellbeing support.

Accountants were also more likely to be concerned about how opening up about their mental health could detrimentally impact on their career.

Nearly half 48% of accountants were worried about being treated differently, while 42% feared an impact on their career progression.

Commenting on the research, Dr Cristian Holmes, chief executive of CABA, agrees that while the profession is moving in the right direction when it comes to mental health, there is still much to be done to change perceptions within the accounting community.

“It’s very encouraging that many in our profession are attentive to improving their mental health and wellbeing. Yet for many others, this has been a much more difficult time, and it’s troubling that the survey indicates that there hasn’t been adequate and timely support in place.”

“Whilst accountancy is a demanding profession, it’s important for all of us to understand when stress becomes unmanageable and how to seek more formal support.”

Self-care is key – For Accountants, and for everyone else! 

While CABAs findings make for some pretty bleak reading, they are substantial steps that an individuals can take to promote happiness and to reduce stress other than by simply taking a longer lunch or by having a walk in the park.

Jay Wilson, Managing Director of Jaccountancy also commented on the research by CABA, Jay believes by clearly delineating between what needs to be done perfectly and what can be done adequately, when working through the day to day, is a key ability for everyone to master when it comes to their self-care.

Managing Director Jay Wilson comments  “It’s okay to not always be perfect every single time. In a high-pressure fast-paced environment, this distinction and the ability to recognise when perfectionism is and isn’t warranted – is so important to maintaining good mental health, ideally it is  this mode of thinking should be used in all parts of an accountants working life, hammering home that self-care and positive wellbeing should be prioritised over burnout-inducing levels of work. 

People are often resistant to the notion of self-care. On a cultural level, we tend to feel it makes us weak or self-indulgent,”