As a profession that requires long hours and meticulous attention to detail, accounting can be a challenging field to work in. As with many careers, there are seasons of hustle and seasons of flow but during those seasons of hustle, taking care of yourself is paramount. “I’ll rest when tax season is over!” How many of you CPAs uttered that sentence? Many accountants work non-stop through the tax season, which can lead to stress and burnout. The pandemic has further added to the challenges, as many professionals have transitioned to working from home. Working from home has benefits, however, the flip side is that it can exacerbate burnout. Stress and burnout are not a given though, here are practical solutions for maintaining a healthy work-life balance this tax season.
“I’ll rest when tax season is over!”
Burnout is a common issue in the accounting profession, caused by a combination of long hours, high expectations, repetitive tasks, and client pressure. This can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion, decreased motivation and productivity, and an increased risk of mental health problems. For success in the accounting field, it is essential to prevent burnout and maintain a healthy balance of work and home.
Long hours and heavy workload
One of the leading causes of burnout in accounting is the long hours and heavy workload, especially during the tax season. Many accountants are expected to work overtime, often resulting in little time for self-care or leisure activities. To address this, accountants should schedule regular breaks throughout the workday, prioritize and delegate tasks, and set realistic goals for themselves. Taking short breaks can help refresh the mind and increase productivity while delegating tasks to others can help to reduce workload.
Lack of work-life balance
Another common cause of burnout is the lack of work-life balance. Accountants often find themselves struggling to balance their personal and professional lives, leading to exhaustion and reduced quality of work. Remember why you do what you do and schedule leisure activities and self-care. Set boundaries between work and personal life and consider flexible work arrangements. Making time for non-work-related activities such as exercise, hobbies, and socializing can help to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
Repetitive tasks are a significant cause of burnout in the accounting profession. Doing the same work over and over again can be tedious and draining. To address this, accountants should mix up tasks or add variety to their workday. Try something like the Pomodoro Technique to plug in activities that may be draining to keep your brain fresh. Use a timer to switch between tasks. Our brains can find comfort in the familiar but it can get stale and boring. You can also try taking on new projects, seeking out new learning opportunities, and collaborating with colleagues to help keep work fresh and exciting.
High expectations are another significant cause of burnout in accounting. Many accountants feel pressure to perform at a high level and meet demanding deadlines, leading to stress and exhaustion. To address this issue, accountants should set realistic expectations for themselves, communicate their needs and limits with clients and colleagues, and seek support and mentorship when needed. By setting achievable goals and communicating with others, accountants can reduce stress and promote a healthy work-life balance.
Finally, client pressure is a common cause of burnout in accounting. Dealing with difficult clients can be stressful and overwhelming, leading to frustration and exhaustion. To address this issue, accountants should develop effective communication skills, handle difficult clients with professionalism and empathy, and set boundaries with the client. By establishing clear expectations and boundaries with clients, accountants can lower stress and allow for better mental health.
Achieve Success Without Burnout
Avoiding burnout is essential for success in the accounting profession. By addressing the common causes of burnout, including long hours, heavy workload, lack of work-life balance, repetitive tasks, high expectations, and client pressure, accountants can promote a healthy work-life balance and maintain their overall well-being. By implementing the solutions, such as scheduling regular breaks, setting boundaries, and seeking support, accountants can reduce stress, increase productivity, and achieve success in their careers without burning out. Employers need to recognize the challenges of the accounting profession and provide support to their employees, such as offering flexible work arrangements, providing mentorship, and promoting work-life balance.