Accounting is a notoriously challenging profession. Not only is there the constant pressure of needing to get everything done without the slightest error, but overbearing client communication, ever-evolving IRS rules and regulations, and the grueling hours of the busy season can make many CPAs question their career choice at one point or another.
In this article from Harness Tax, we explore the very real problem of burnout within the accounting sector, outline strategies for staying motivated, and uncover how a one-of-a-kind accounting practice management platform like Harness Tax can help you stay on track to reach your professional goals without burning out.
Table of Contents
- The Statistics of Burnout in Accounting
- Warning Signs of Burnout for CPAs
- Burnout Management and Prevention Techniques
- Harness Tax: A Platform for Success
The Statistics of Burnout in Accounting
Almost all tax professionals experience burnout, and it’s leading to an exodus from the accounting industry. According to a 2022 report from the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association (caba), 56% of respondents from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) reported that they were experiencing burnout and chronic workplace stress. For context, that’s 15% more than the burnout rate across other professions, which is reported at 41%
Not only is this pervasive burnout making it difficult for CPAs to find satisfaction in their jobs, but it’s also making it increasingly difficult for accounting firms to hire new employees and find qualified talent and job candidates. According to the Wall Street Journal, over 300,000 accountants left their jobs between 2020 and 2022.
Warning Signs of Burnout for CPAs
The signs of burnout in accountants can be both subtle and significant. Key indicators can include:
- Extended working hours: As highlighted by the Journal of Accountancy, during tax season, staff often endure 55-58 hours per week, while partners may work 85-100 hours. This extended schedule can lead to both physical and mental exhaustion, and it’s one of the most common reasons for accountants to quit their jobs.
- Declining performance: The stress from extended or unusual working hours can compound, leading to poor concentration and reduced motivation, which makes it challenging to do your best work.
- Personal changes: You may notice reduced motivation to do the things you enjoy outside of work and changes in your emotions, diet, or exercise. All of these can be the cost of compounding from late nights and the feeling of never-ending tasks.
Recognizing these signs early is crucial for taking proactive steps to manage and prevent further burnout.
Burnout Management and Prevention Techniques
Everybody handles and addresses burnout in different ways, and it’s important to build strategies of self-care that are uniquely tailored to the challenges you’re facing. Incorporating mindfulness practices, regular physical activity, and hobbies outside work can offer significant relief, as can team bonding events, especially during the holidays and other times leading into a busy season.
Specifically within your professional environment, there are a number of tactics you can consider that will help both you and your peers.
Build a Supportive Peer Group
A robust support network is invaluable. Having fellow accounting professionals to lean on during busy seasons can offer an emotional safety net and provide the camaraderie to keep going. However, since many accountants switched to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that level of camaraderie is increasingly challenging.
When you join Harness Tax, you gain access to a supportive community of experienced accountants from around the country who are there for each other for expert advice, commentary on recent tax code changes, and camaraderie and support.
Leverage the Right Technology
Modern software can relieve tedious manual work. The right technology and tools can be instrumental in helping you reduce burnout by providing the foundation and framework necessary to better manage your growing workload.
At Harness Tax, we’ve built a one-of-a-kind accounting practice management solution that combines best-in-class software and technology with a human Harness Concierge support team to assist with all your operational, administrative, and client servicing needs. Context switching and mundane tasks can easily get in the way of your accounting work, and by joining Harness Tax, you can focus more on your actual client work—the accounting work you enjoy–and leave the busy work to our internal team.
Narrow Your Focus
Similarly to the above, narrowing your focus can be a big part of preventing burnout. As your tax practice grows, you’ll likely find yourself working on a wider array of client needs, and it could make it difficult for you to maintain your focus over time. If the many facets of your work are spreading you thin, it might be time to consider making your first hire and delegating work appropriately so that everyone on your team can focus on what they know best.
Harness Tax: A Platform for Success
From best-in-class accounting workflow automation software to a nationwide community of accounting firm leaders and an in-house team of support staff, Harness Tax is uniquely positioned to empower tax advisors to scale their practices while maintaining a strong work-life balance.
The accounting profession doesn’t have to lead to burnout. If you’re ready to take your tax firm to the next level, book a complimentary demo with our team today.