Accountants not supported as workload takes toll

Accountants are complaining that longer working hours are having a detrimental effect on their health. A survey conducted by CareersinAudit.com found that 40% of respondents also said their company offered no support.

Bosses are not creating the right culture for people at work and 72.5% of accountants accept giving greater priority to personal interests and or family would hinder their career progression.

Continued...

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Paul Scholes's picture

In the good old days....

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

The unpaid/unacknowledged hours situation has always been an issue as far as I can remember only I feel that it is perhaps more debated in the media these days plus I acknowledge that, with the ability to be reached at weekends, night and on holiday via phones & other IT, the pressure is more intense than it was when I used to do my 12 hour days trying to impress the boss.

Thre is a human condition, or perhaps more specifically a male condition, that when you experience hardship like this in your formative years you can go one of two routes when you are in the position of power, ie the boss.  You either follow the doctrine, "I had to suffer when I was making my way up and you can damn well do the same" or "I can still remember those dark hours of unpaid overtime and there's no way I'm imposing that when I start employing people".  In my experience most women, ie those who do not try and out do the men at being big boys, follow the 2nd route.

My first boss cared for and encouraged all his staff to approach him if things were not going well and whilst we did overtime, it was discussed, authorised and paid for and you got presents & treats for going the extra bit every now & then. So it was a shock to my system when I qualified and went to work in a series of firms where that ethos was alien.  It was probably the biggest factor in deciding to go out on my own as soon as I could.

Bad employment practice like this is so difficult to combat, it's effectively bullying and, with no power, it's unlikely that most employees will have the whotsits to stand up and say NO or even go to law once they are forced out of their job for not answering emails on a Sunday.

Behaviour change can happen though through media exposure and small numbers starting the ball rolling by saying NO, starting perhaps with ignoring all work emails & texts when not at work?

There are many who say that Trade Unions have become an anachronism, maybe they have in some sectors and in their methods, but the need for something like them has not gone away.

 

 

Bob Harper's picture

Change the business model

Bob Harper | | Permalink

This will continue (and get worse) as pressure continues to increase in the market until the profession changes it's business model.

The current model in the majority of firms is based on providing a service where the price is driven by the cost of time. Some charge on a time basis, some quote a fixed fee based on how long they think the service will take to deliver. All record time and believe efficiency is the answer.

The new business model is based on knowledge, being effective and charging based on value. Because time is not the driver of profits in the new model there is no reason why accountants need to long hours. 

Bob Harper

Paul Scholes's picture

Only part of the picture Bob

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

Whilst I agree with you that charging for the work we do should relate to value rather than hours X £s, and can imagine convincing the boss of a firm that this is the way to go, I don't think that will necessarily stop him (and as I say above it does tend to be him) from still taking on more work than the firm can cope with or running the practice badly, with poor staff moral. 

A bully and/or poor manager is so whether they keep timesheets or not, this is an issue of personal attributes & values rather than business model, ie human not spreadsheet.

Bob Harper's picture

New model new behaviour

Bob Harper | | Permalink

@Paul - Value Pricing impacts how the firm is managed, not just how prices are worked out. This is why it is not easy to implement.

Firms that have poor staff moral will not be performing at high levels, and will not retain talent. Eventually they will not be able to attract talent, social media will see to that.

This opens up opportunities for firms who do adopt a new business model. Not only will they attract top talent they will win the best clients.

The rest, well that will move online and employees will clock in and out.

Good luck to all.

Bob Harper

Cardigan's picture

Been there

Cardigan | | Permalink

I was in the situation described above and it was an absolute misery. There were several other members of staff who left before me and after me. A lot of experience and firm knowledge gone.

People were even refused time off for funerals. In one case, I told my team member to go to the funeral and I would deal with the boss for her. Turns out, there was no real deadline but the boss wanted to "punish" her for missing a deadline the week before. I left not long after.

This bad boss behaviour went hand in hand with poor practice management and poor training. Instead of doing things smarter we were just putting more hours in. We were pedaling faster and faster instead of getting off the bike to fix the puncture.

I have promised myself that I will never do that to my own staff (when I start hiring) because I don't believe that it is an efficient way to run a practice. As long as the work gets done, I don't mind if staff are not at their desk strictly 9 to 5. Life is too short to be so miserable. I think some bosses forget that they are dealing with other human beings, each fighting their own private battles.

Hardly worth it

mackthefork | | Permalink

Paul Scholes wrote:

Bad employment practice like this is so difficult to combat, it's effectively bullying and, with no power, it's unlikely that most employees will have the whotsits to stand up and say NO or even go to law once they are forced out of their job for not answering emails on a Sunday.

If you do this you will probably only get a months pay plus costs even if you win, so there is no point.  If you are a woman, disabled, gay/lesbian (can you even say those words now), or a minority, you might be able to spin an angle for yourself and get real compensation.

Regards

MtF

 

Bob, what is this about?

mackthefork | | Permalink

"Firms that have poor staff moral will not be performing at high levels, and will not retain talent. Eventually they will not be able to attract talent, social media will see to that."

 

what possible impact could social media have on punishing firms with poor staff moral.

Regards

MtF

Bob Harper's picture

Social Media

Bob Harper | | Permalink

@MfT - employees are connected, there is nowhere to hide.

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants

Marion Hayes's picture

The real world---    1 thanks

Marion Hayes | | Permalink

does not depend on social media!!

We always knew who were the good and bad firms in an area - the grapevine was just as effective, if not more so, before the media days.

Sadly, if you need a job and they remain in short supply, you need to go where you can especially in these days of losing jobseekers support if you turn down interviews and offers.

Most people need their jobs

mackthefork | | Permalink

Bob Harper wrote:

@MfT - employees are connected, there is nowhere to hide.

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants

If someone is to criticise your firm who works for you, you can let them go reasonably, failure to meet obligations of mutual co-operation.  if an ex-employee trashes you online, most people will think they are being vindictive, you also have an audit trail for the defamation case, otherwise notoriously hard to prove.  Social media is the new darling of the marketing types, it is probably here to stay, but it aint all that for what is and mainly will stay a local business serving mostly people who hear of them by word of mouth.

Regards

MtF

Bob Harper's picture

Social Media

Bob Harper | | Permalink

@MtF - you are free to assume the past equals the future and Social Media will not have a profound impact on businesses and the profession.

Bob Harper

Crunchers Alternative Franchise

Paula Sparrow's picture

Smacks of martyrdom

Paula Sparrow | | Permalink

"Even when accountants are on holiday more than a third of accountants are checking their phone or computer for work purposes at least once a day, with a further 21% checking between 2-4 days."

It's more a fear that the place won't fall down if they are not there.