Two in five accountants ‘too drained’ to work

A third of accountants blame their work and studies as the cause of their strained mental health, while two in five accountants feel too emotionally drained to work

The survey of 1,222 UK accountants and ACA students from the accountancy wellbeing charity CABA found that 41% of accountants feel as though they are unable to carry out work effectively due to low energy, with 30% stating that they recently felt isolated.

More than half, 56% shared that they had felt emotionally challenged in the last 11 months.

When asked about the cause of the stress 33% cited either their work, career, or studies, 18% put it down to the impact of Covid-19 on their work and life, and 14% put it down simply to feeling constantly under pressure.

When asked how respondents were coping with these feelings, as many as a quarter, 25%, said they do not feel able to speak about their feelings when angry, stressed, or worried.

The survey was conducted between June and July 2021 and has been released as part of National Stress Awareness Day on 3 November.

Paul Day, support officer at CABA, said: ‘We all have different ways of coping with stress and anxiety. However, there are also times when we find ourselves not coping as well as we might like.

‘Some individuals may be put off from seeking help due to the perception of stigma, time barriers or simply not knowing where to look or how to find help. Whatever it is you’re struggling with, though, it’s vital you get some kind of support.’

The research also found that nearly a quarter of accountants are currently struggling to feel optimistic with 21% stating that they either never or rarely feel optimistic about the future.

 In response to this finding, CABA has compiled a collection of techniques that are proven to ease the stress levels which accountants often face and try to counteract the negative mindset which the research has shown that many experience.

In regard to steps to take at work, CABA urges accountants to take regular breaks and stick to their office hours. The wellbeing charity says that accountants should aim to take at least a five-minute screen break every 90 minutes and to always try and take lunch away from the desk. All office-based staff should try and get 10 minutes of fresh air as this is known to increase motivation, energy and productivity levels in the afternoon.

By sticking to office hours then accountants can set themselves strict boundaries between home and work, other techniques such as leaving work phones and laptops at work or setting a curfew for checking emails can also help alleviate stress and unwind at the end of a day.

CABA highlights that stress is eased when what we are facing is predictable, the charity recommends that workers should focus on what things can be controlled and influenced. If an employer invites staff to participate in planning or evaluations then getting involved could help ease stress in the future.

Finally, accountants should celebrate their achievements. As the accountancy industry moves forward incredibly fast then achievements can often quickly be disregarded as we move on to the next task. By taking a moment to identify the work that was done and building on it, this can often make work more enjoyable and ease the stress related to it.

In terms of physical suggestions, CABA recommends accountants remember to stay hydrated, eat well, pace themselves in terms of workload, and take momentary pauses to maintain a level of calm in situations that could cause stress.

Ruby Flanagan |Reporter, Accountancy Daily

Ruby Flanagan is reporter on Accountancy Daily. Contact her on

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