The accountancy profession is in the grip of a mental health crisis, with a shocking new study finding that a third (31%) of chartered accountants feel stressed on a daily basis. The research, conducted by CABA, the chartered accountants’ wellbeing charity, found that as few as 2% of respondents claim to be unaffected by stress.
Nearly two-fifths (37%) said that their job was the main cause of their stress, while a third (29%) cited the difficulty of trying to maintain a work-life blend. Driving this issue home, two-fifths (38%) check their emails outside work every day, and a third (33%) even check their emails while sick or on annual leave.
There are various pressures within the workplace itself, which many accountants are grappling with on a regular basis and are sure to contribute to the rising industry stress levels. The research found that the most commonly felt workplace frustrations include:
- being overworked (41%)
- office politics (33%)
- feeling undervalued (29%)
- failure to increase pay or rewards (29%)
- having to attend too many meetings (28%)
Kelly Freehan, Service Director, CABA said, “While a certain degree of pressure can help with motivation, if stress levels are excessive, we risk becoming less productive or burning out. With our research finding that many chartered accountants feel their workloads are so severe that they need to constantly check their emails outside work, it’s clear that firms should be actively encouraging their staff to maintain a healthier work-life blend.’”
A fifth (21%) of respondents cited money as the main cause of stress, though this was of greater concern to younger and middle-aged respondents than it was to their older colleagues. A quarter (24%) of 18 to 34-year-olds and a third (32%) of 35 to 44-year-olds report money being their main source of stress. This was in comparison to just one-in-10 (10%) 45 to 54-year olds and fewer than a fifth (17%) of those aged over 55.
The research actually found that younger and middle-aged chartered accountants are likely to feel more stressed overall than their older colleagues. More than two fifths of 18-34-year-olds (43%) and 35-44-year-olds (45%) report feeling stressed every day, compared with just 13% of 45-54-year olds and 15% of those aged over 55.
Freehan concluded, ‘It’s particularly concerning to see that so many young people within the industry are wrestling with stress, with our research showing that they are the most likely to take work home, stay late in the office and work on days off. Business leaders must provide tangible support that helps staff to form healthy working habits at the start of their careers, if we’re to avoid the risk of fewer young people seeking opportunities in accountancy.’