A noticeable percentage of accountants are not OK.
A recent survey from Thomson Reuters that polled professionals in the legal, tax and accounting fields found that about 28% of tax and accounting firm professionals report that their work is having a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing. The poll found 22% of such professionals saying their jobs had a moderately negative impact, while 6% reported that their jobs are having a strongly negative impact.
Granted, lawyers seem to be in worse shape, with 34% reporting moderate to strong mental health impacts due to their jobs. But that’s still a material amount of accountants. What’s more, this data point lines up with another report from subscription software developer Zuora (see previous story), which reported that 19% of accounting professionals in enterprise organizations have nightmares about revenue data. Even if they’re not getting nightmares, the poll said a comfortable majority of respondents (63%) said their company’s revenue processes and reporting are negatively affecting their mental health.
If one is having nightmares about revenue data, it might indicate one’s job isn’t a major source of comfort, and further survey data bears this out: 59% report their revenue accounting team members feel unfulfilled with their work.
Accountants, given that they are human beings living in the modern world, can suffer from mental illnesses like anyone else. Yet, whether due to culture or upbringing or other circumstances, studies have found they are among the professions least likely to discuss mental health issues, so the problem can remain invisible, with only 23% saying they would feel comfortable discussing mental health needs and challenges with their managers (the professionals most comfortable were in marketing and advertising, at 41%), versus 71% overall.
But accountants do want more support, even if they’re hesitant to ask for it. A report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants found that 71% of office-based professionals want more mental health support from their organizations, and 61% said they feel their mental health suffers due to work pressure. However, accountants are also not confident their leaders will hear them, as only 48% believe mental health is a priority.
Incidentally, when restricting the sample only to those who work at Big Four firms, 70% said work pressures are harming their mental health.