FloQast survey said they experience some level of burnout. According to FloQast’s “Controller’s Guidebook: Burnout in Accounting – Understanding the Problem, Leveraging Solutions,” the burnout scores are significantly correlated with the disruption of an accountant’s life during the financial close as well as their confidence in its accuracy.
Utilizing the Maslach Burnout Inventory for the first time in an accounting setting, the survey offers an in-depth and critical perspective on the current state of the accounting industry and challenges faced by today’s accountants.
Most prominently, FloQast uncovered the extent and impact of burnout on accountants and their work. Through this survey, FloQast found that burnout is an increasingly prevalent and impactful issue in the accounting sector. The MBI survey evaluated accountants emerging from the closing process on a 100-point scale covering three major areas of burnout: Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and low sense of Personal Accomplishment (PA).
Key findings include:
- The 99% of accountants experiencing some level of burnout had an average score of 47 points
- Of the accountants who experienced burnout, 53% were at or above the average score with 24% of them reporting medium-high or high levels of burnout (60+ points)
- Only 8% of participants scored in the low range (<20 points) and only 1% had a score below 10
- 81% of accountants had at least one month in the past year where the Close disrupted their personal life
- Almost half (43%) of them experienced disruption in three or more months out of the year
- 85% of participants reported having to re-open the books in at least one month during the last year to fix errors
- Almost half (49%) of respondents had to re-open the books in three or more months
FloQast co-founder and CEO Mike Whitmire says that considering the importance of the close in the accounting industry, its impact on employee mental health and wellbeing, and the consequences burnout has on its accuracy and reliability, these findings clearly show that it’s time for a massive shift.
“We believe improving the Close is one of the key changes to be made and our results support this,” Whitmire says. ” In fact, 57% of the accounting professionals we surveyed agreed that the monthly and yearly Close is in desperate need of modernization.”
Looking Ahead – Developing Solutions to Overcome Burnout
The FloQast study uncovered three key components of modernizing the Close process that would be most beneficial to accounting professionals:
- Introducing an integrated solution—When integrated solutions were present, burnout was nine points lower and dropped from being above average to being below average.
- Implementing better training processes for existing tools—Those who experienced insufficient training also showed much higher burnout scores than those who had useful training.
- Reducing the overall number of tools used—Individuals who used one tool had the lowest burnout score and those who used four or more tools had the highest.
Accounting Operations Evangelist Stefan Van Duyvendijk says that burnout has been a consistent issue in the accounting sector and, due to fluctuating economic forecasts, will likely continue to be a problem unless it is addressed. “While solutions are still being uncovered and developed, ‘Controller’s Guidebook: Burnout in Accounting – Understanding the Problem, Leveraging Solutions’ has put us in a great spot to start building toward a more sustainable and collaborative industry.”
FloQast plans to continue research into the accounting industry throughout 2022, releasing results that explore critical challenges within the accounting field, including those that must be changed, suggestions for best practices, and more.
For additional findings, an eBook with more detailed survey results can be found on FloQast’s website HERE. Additional resources on how to manage burnout among accountants are available as well.
In addition, FloQast will be hosting a webinar at 8 a.m. (PST) on Aug. 10, where van Duyvendijk and Dee Warmath, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director of the Consumer Analytics Program at the University of Georgia, will review the report. They also will highlight the impact of burnout on the accounting sector and discuss potential solutions.
You can register HERE.
About the Survey
Conducted online in March 2022—immediately after the monthly close—and in partnership with the University of Georgia’s Consumer Analytics program—the survey includes the perspectives and opinions of 204 accounting and finance professionals sourced from the Precision Sample panel. Participants varied in position and years of experience and their respective companies varied in size and IPO status.
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