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Worried accountants losing sleep over workload

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Exasperated practitioners are being kept awake at night due to work pressures, according to a recent survey from AVN.

13th Mar 2023
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A survey carried out by AVN Inspiring Accountants has found that work worries common in the profession have led to an average of 45% of practitioners struggling to sleep at night.

The survey, which received responses from 1,034 accountants from around the UK, touched upon a variety of topics focused around the various pressures practitioners face when running their firm, with the results painting a particularly grim picture.

Aside from the fact that nearly half of the respondents found themselves awake at night worrying about their firm, the survey also revealed that two thirds of respondents were struggling with work-life balance and were spending less time with friends and family due to the pressures of their work.

Money troubles

The survey also asked respondents how they feel their finances are coping, with the results highlighting a similarly negative outlook from practitioners. 

Over half (61%) of respondents admitted to experiencing “fee pressure” from clients and prospects looking to drive down their pricing, while another 72% felt that they were not attracting the kind of clients who will pay a premium for the services they most enjoy delivering.

The survey concluded its findings by noting that 48% of those who responded felt “a great sense of fulfilment from their work”.

Commenting on their findings Shane Lukas, managing director AVN Inspiring Accountants, said that the findings lined up with the their talks with accountants: “Worrying about work at night is just the tip of the iceberg. They’re crying out for support and training to help them gain the skills they need to take control of their business and their lives.”

A wider issue

Stress, burnout and sleepless nights have been consistent features on the Any Answers forums, with scores of users airing their grievances with the profession and its effects on their mental health. 

In an article touching on the subject last year, the occupational charity Caba offered similar statistics on the declining wellbeing of accountants, noting that over half of their respondents were struggling with burnout. 

Commenting on the article, users were quick to empathise with their fellow practitioners with members such as raj1234 offering their own experience.

“I have suffered massively in the past from burnout. Not a good place to be,” AccountingWEB user raj1234 said, asking their fellow practitioners to “try to take care of yourselves”.

More recently, a reader called 'in the brown stuff ' shared their personal story of how a series of events, alongside the long hours and extremely demanding workload required to run their firm had left them in a difficult financial position.

“A note of caution to those accountants working long hours, I was told lack of sleep had contributed to this and very likely caused the type 2 diabetes that I now have,” said the AccountingWEB reader. 

“It's not worth killing yourself for your practice as I have nearly done. My company will fold because of insolvency but at least I'm still here - just about.”

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By Hugo Fair
13th Mar 2023 18:53

All very true and valid ... but with the possible exception of the 48% of those who felt “a great sense of fulfilment from their work”, how do any of these figures relate specifically to Accountants?

For that matter - how does any of this differ from what you'd have encountered within any area of 'the professions' during the last 50+ years?

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By indomitable
14th Mar 2023 16:39

I've never had sleepless nights worrying about work. I don't think this is an 'accountants' problem.

This is a individual's problem, some people worry more than others, some are more resilient than other. There is nothing particularly stressful about being an accountant. In fact it is relatively stress free.

Work in a busy A&E department, that's probably stress.

Are we accountants such "snowflakes"? maybe that's what the profession attracts

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By Mr J Andrews
15th Mar 2023 09:25

One wonders what the selection criteria entailed to pick out 1034 members of the accountancy profession. But, by inference , it's somewhat reassuring than more than half do not have problems sleeping. There's no guarantee that the plug - signing up and subscribing to The Accountants KnowHow Club -, or any other training course , will resolve those apparently affected but as suggested by Indomitable , targeting the Nursing profession with a similar survey would reveal far more disturbing stories of long hours , financial problems , burnout - and real ''brown stuff''.

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