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How to Battle Accounting Burnout

Working in the accounting industry can be particularly difficult, especially during tax time. Accountants are almost always bogged down with paperwork, client meetings, and long hours at the office. Here are some tips to help you cope with a looming accountant’s burnout...

Top Signs of Accounting Burnout

Burnout in the accounting field is considered a "slow build." This means the tell-tale signs of a burnout may not be apparent until it’s too late. Here are the most common signs you may be experiencing during a burnout:

  • Consistent tardiness
  • A lack of enthusiasm about your job or taking on new clients
  • Resentment toward colleagues 
  • Defiance toward management
  • Low or declining quality of work
  • Frequent absence from work or work related activities
  • Poor physical health
  • Continuous frustration

How to Battle Accounting Burnout

Take Time to Regroup

There are certain times during the year when it is nearly impossible for an accountant to take a substantial amount of time off. Beside’s tax season, you must also be continuously working with clients whose fiscal year is ending or beginning.

If possible, map out your schedule to find out when your accounting lull period begins and take some time off to recoup. During your vacation, remember to keep work communication at a minimum. In order to do this, delegate tasks to coworkers and give clients a point of contact while you are away.

As an accountant, your workday could be extremely long. If you anticipate an especially long day, schedule breaks in between. Statistics show that even a 15 minute break can help you relax, decompress, and increase your focus. Be sure to take a lunch and dinner break about an hour long when possible and during these longer breaks, do some office yoga, or just sit back and relax with your ringer off so you will not be disturbed.

The key to time management is accurate scheduling. Take the time you need to schedule appointments and tasks for your day and week. When in the thralls of burnout, do not "fit" clients in. Trying to squeeze too much into your schedule will defeat the purpose and further exasperate the effects of burnout.

Let your boss or manager know how you are feeling. If they are aware you are suffering from burnout, they may help to alleviate the pressure by giving you a helper, decreasing your workload, or rearrange some upcoming deadlines. Higher ups may already know you’re performance is slipping, by taking the initiative; you could save your job and get some relief in the process. 

In order to battle burnout, you need to keep your work/life balance in check. Too much work and not enough personal time can be a killer. To help you regain the balance, schedule time to relax, spend time with friends or family, and work on your favorite hobby. 

As an accountant, you are almost always under extreme stress. Trying to "push through" burnout is not an option; the havoc it causes could lead to poor performance and loss of important clients. It is much better to deal with burnout than try and ignore it. Be sure to let your coworkers, managers, and family know what you are going through so that they can help relieve some pressure. Taking personal time and scheduled breaks should help the dark clouds of burnout lift eventually, so stay hopeful and take care of yourself when necessary.

 See also: Midlife Crisis and Career Burnout


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