PPS Mutual raises concern about signs of stress for accounting workforce

Report outlines most common challenges impacting accountants' wellbeing

PPS Mutual raises concern about signs of stress for accounting workforce

Life & Health

By Roxanne Libatique

PPS Mutual has released its 2023 State of Health and Wellbeing in Accounting Report, emphasising the concerning signs of stress for the accounting workforce despite overall job satisfaction.

The survey, commissioned by PPS Mutual and conducted by global industry research firm Investment Trends, claimed to be the first of its kind to analyse the insights of Australian accountants in practice and across the workplace. It delves into Australian accountants' professional wellbeing, working lives, any impacts on their physical health, and the safety nets created to avoid losing income or ability to work.

“We sought to bring some key insights into the drivers behind the health and wellbeing of Australia's hardworking accountancy profession,” said PPS Mutual CEO Michael Pillemer. “Given the significant role that accountants play across Australia's taxation, superannuation, business advisory, and compliance sectors, the overall wellbeing of this professional group can have a direct impact on our economy and broader community. The continued success and health of the profession are essential.”

Key findings

The report found that most accountants (80%) were highly satisfied with their current employment. However, some were unhappy with long hours of work, too much work, or the “category killer” of compliance.

Among the challenges in the accounting profession, compliance obligations (42%) and the impact of new regulations (28%) topped the list, followed by paperwork and administration (24%), regulatory uncertainty (24%), and succession planning and staff retention (23%).

The report further found that 29% of accountants expect to experience significant health issues in the next 10 years related to cardiovascular disease or cancer. A third of accountants said they might one day be prone to cancer, one in five said they might suffer from a heart attack, and 17% expect to suffer a stroke. By contrast, only 9% of accountants expect mental illness to affect them over the next 10 years.

Focusing on physical wellbeing, 43% of the respondents said their job has a negative impact due to pressure, stress, long working hours, and insufficient exercise. Regarding mental health, 35% attributed stress to work targets, seasonal pressures, strict deadlines, miscommunication, and continuous change.

Commenting on the report's findings, Pillemer said: “There is a clear opportunity for greater education around the income protection, total permanent disability, and life insurance options available that can provide a ‘safety net’ for accountants and their families in the event of illness, injury, disability, or death.”

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