Accounting and bookkeeping is often associated with attention to detail, and long hours spent poring over financial data. These can be demanding professions that can often be stressful, with a recent study showing that 90% of accounting professionals feel stressed in the workplace and 43% of these professionals have had to take time off as a result of stress. Accountants and bookkeepers also play an important but demanding role in a company’s success. They are often solely responsible for managing an organization’s financial health, meaning handling high-pressure situations, tight deadlines, and complex financial data. This pressure often takes a toll on mental health over a period of time, making it common to see heightened levels of burnout among accountants and bookkeepers.
How Accountants and Bookkeepers Can Improve Their Mental Wellbeing?
1. Employ Stress Reduction Tactics
Finance related professions tend to be stressful, especially during tax season or financial audits. It is not healthy to spend prolonged work periods working under uncontrolled anxiety and stress. Prioritizing mental health while working through high pressure periods requires an emphasis on stress-reduction strategies. These could include putting time aside for mindfulness and self-care practices, such as going to the gym, taking a walk or simply taking short breaks to clear your mind.
2. Maintaining a Calm Mind for Decision-Making
Bookkeepers and accountants need to have a clear head to make sound decisions. A healthy mental state is important for analyzing complex data, spotting irregularities and completing tasks with precision. Improving your mental health and reducing stress will allow them to improve your cognitive function, which will improve your quality of work. This will help to minimize stressful encounters with stakeholders or the need to redo work multiple times.
3. Prioritize Balance for Enhanced Productivity
A healthy work-life balance has been shown to have a positive impact on productivity. Overworking and stressed individuals have decreased efficiency in the workplace and increased errors in their work. Bookkeepers who prioritize their mental health and personal time are often more productive, more focused and more motivated in the long run.
4. Know When to Ask for Help
Recognize that it’s okay to seek assistance when the weight of the work becomes overwhelming. Don’t hesitate to reach out to colleagues, supervisors, or professional support networks to discuss challenges or concerns. Sharing your burdens and seeking guidance can be a crucial step in maintaining good mental health and ensuring your long-term success in the field of accounting or bookkeeping.
Remember, prioritizing your mental wellbeing is not a sign of weakness but a demonstration of resilience and self-care, essential for a fulfilling and successful career.
5. Seek Medical Support and Prioritize your Mental Wellbeing
If you find yourself grappling with persistent stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to qualified medical professionals or mental health specialists. They can provide the necessary guidance, therapy, or resources to help you navigate these challenges effectively. Your mental health is as important as your professional growth, so seeking support from experts can be a vital step towards a healthier and more fulfilling life. Remember, you’re not alone, and there’s always help available when you need it.
Remote and Flexible Work Models: A Mental Health Lifesaver
The shift towards remote and flexible work models in recent years has been a breakthrough solution for employees in the bookkeeping and accounting industry, offering numerous benefits for mental health:
1. Reduced Commuting Stress
Remote work eliminates the need for long daily commutes. This saves precious personal time and reduces the stress associated with traffic or crowded public transport. This extra time can be devoted to self-care, exercise, or spending quality time with loved ones to unwind and destress.
2. Enhanced Work-Life Balance
A more flexible work model allows professionals more flexibility in their schedules, allowing them to take breaks when needed without having an effect on their ability to meet deadlines. This newfound flexibility empowers accountants and bookkeepers to strike a healthier work-life balance, ultimately reducing stress and promoting mental well-being.
3. Working in a Comfortable Environment
For employees who struggle with their mental health or with stress and anxiety, working in a more private and comfortable setting like home can help them to feel more relaxed while working. It will allow them to shuffle around their hours as needed to accommodate their mental state. Moreover, working from home provides them with the flexibility to tailor thier surroundings to their unique preferences. Adding calming elements such as soothing colors, plants, or even soft background music to create a relaxed atmosphere. This more personalized workspace allows bookkeepers to better manage stress and anxiety, and find a more of a sense of calm in their daily tasks.
How Organizations Can Support Mental Health Through Virtual and Flexible Workflows
Supporting your employees in prioritizing their mental health is an important step in retaining happy and efficient bookkeepers. Remote and flexible work models are a great way to do this, but to do so businesses need to set up the framework for a virtual or more flexible workflow. Here are some key steps:
1. Embrace Cloud-Based Software
Transition to cloud-based software for storing documents and files. This will allow your employees access to data from anywhere with an internet connection. This will allow them the flexibility to pick up working from anywhere they may be that day.
2. Implement Secure Communication Tools
Many employers have concerns with security around bookkeepers sharing and accessing files and communicating through devices outside of the office. Using encrypted communication platforms to facilitate collaboration and securely exchange sensitive financial information with clients or colleagues, can eliminate this concern and allow for easier virtual collaboration.
3. Establish Clear Expectations & Boundaries
Setting clear expectations with clients or colleagues about deadlines, allows your bookkeepers to schedule their workdays accordingly and avoid the stress of last minute inquiries. With a more flexible workflow, It is also important to communicate clearly any expectations and boundaries around response times, availability hours, and preferred modes of communication. Clarity on these matters promotes better work life balance and fosters a more positive work environment.
4. Prioritize Self-Care
Encourage your employees to take regular breaks, exercise, and relax to help them maintain their mental health. Virtual work allows for greater autonomy in managing one’s schedule, making it easier to incorporate self-care practices.
Prioritizing mental health should not be seen as a luxury; it’s a necessity for accountants and bookkeepers. The demanding nature of the profession underscores the importance of staying on top of self-care, stress reduction, and work-life balance. Remote and flexible work models, coupled with the establishment of a virtual workflow, provide a powerful framework for corporations to promote mental well-being and employee satisfaction By embracing these practices, accounting and bookkeeping professionals can lead healthier, more fulfilling careers and better serve their clients and organizations.