January 1, 2023

On the Brink of Busy Season: 99% of Accountants Experience Burnout

By: Center For Accounting Transformation / news-and-updates

Of the stressed, more than half were at or above the average score and nearly a fourth reported medium-high to high levels of burnout.

Finding qualified talent has long plagued the accounting profession. However, with COVID-19 and remote work, the past three years have ushered in a new age of attrition and burnout.

A July 2022 article in Accountancy Age explored a survey that showed 99% of accountants are suffering from burnout, with 24% reporting medium-high to high levels of burnout.  Further, that burnout is generally listed as the reason many CPAs leave public accounting.

The survey, conducted by FloQast, a provider of accounting workflow automation software, and the University of Georgia, used the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI)—the leading measure of burnout and validated by more than 35 years of research—in an accounting setting for the first time. Using a 100-point scale, the survey covered three major areas of burnout: Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and low sense of Personal Accomplishment (PA).

Additional findings include:

  • Only 8% of participants scored in the low range (<20 points) and only 1% had a score below 10.
  • 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.
  • 81% of accountants had at least one month in the past year where the close disrupted their personal life.
  • 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.

On January 17, thought leaders in the accounting profession will join together for a webinar to discuss the importance of self-care during The Value of Personal Resilience: What Accountants Need to Know. In less than 90 minutes, busy professionals will learn to identify the causes of stress and burnout, as well as recognize when it turns into mental health issues. Additionally, the panel will discuss small changes that can be made to increase productivity; view new ways to integrate productivity and work-life balance; and learn the differences between a professional career coach and a therapist, as well as recognize the signs of when one is needed more than the other.

This webinar, which is only $10 for CPE credit or free for non-credit, will feature the following panelists:

  • Randy Crabtree, CPA: Co-Founder & Partner, Tri-Merit Specialty Tax Professionals
  • Donny Shimamoto, CPA, CITP, CGMA: Founder & Managing Director, IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC
  • Courtney Deronde, CPA: CEO, FORGE Financial & Management Consulting
  • Samuel Kim: Psychologist, Professor, Speaker, SamuelYKim.com
  • Amber Setter: Executive Leadership Coach, Conscious Public Accountants

Shimamoto, who is also the founder of the Center, said, “I personally know lots of professionals who question their careers and their life choices when they are tired and burned out. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re experiencing so much attrition in accounting. But we can make changes and do things differently so we are attracting the brightest minds and showing the world how rewarding accounting careers can be.”

“The survey results show that burnout in the accounting industry has become too great of an issue to ignore. With fluctuating economic forecasts, burnout will become even more prevalent unless we act now,” said Mike Whitmire, CEO of FloQast. “Fortunately, solutions exist, including integrating automation with accounting processes, implementing better training for existing tools, and consolidating the overall number of tools used.”

Learn more or register today at https://improvetheworld.net/events/value-of-personal-resilience.

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