Accountancy has long been a stable and desirable profession; however, it has also become one of the most stressful working environments. A 2019 survey by the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association found that 98% of accountants had been affected by stress at some level.
There is now anecdotal evidence to suggest that these stress levels may have increased even further due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Accountants have been placed under ever increasing levels of mental pressure as they attempt to support clients through these extraordinary times; long working hours, exhaustive workloads, the isolation of working remotely and watching as clients and possibly friends lose their businesses through no fault of their own has not been easy. Many owner practitioners have also had the added burden of having to cope without the support of an HR department or colleagues.
When Covid-19 fades, the Treasury has forecasted that the economy may not recover until the end of 2022. What, then, is the future of general practice? The government economic watchdog predicts that 2.6 million people will be unemployed by mid 2021, with a record number of redundancies, but the flip side to this is the huge rise in start-ups. According to Enterprise Nation, new business formations increased by 9.5% year on year for the first nine months of 2020, and the percentage of small businesses operating exclusively online has increased to 55%. These are trends that are expected to continue as the UK remains in the grip of the pandemic.
For those savvy enough to see where the market is going there will be opportunities to replace those lost fees. But beware, there are likely to be a lot of accountants targeting start ups as a way of replacing lost fee income. If this is the strategy you are going to employ, then you need to make sure your practice is relevant to the market. Technology will feature heavily in successful practices, particularly as the start-up market is expected to be driven by millennials - the youwere ayte--m="lture h"- Accorobitture
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