This article is about effective stress management tips and techniques for accountants and internal auditors. These 16 most effective stress management tips for accountants and internal auditors that are discussed in this accounting blog post is not only for accountants but for anyone experiencing workplace related stress.
The increasing level of responsibilities and huge deliverables expected from accountants and auditors is causing a lot of accounting and finance work- or job-related stress. I recently counseled some junior professional colleagues of mine who are burning out all in the name of working as accountants and internal auditors.
Stress is a silent killer that has been eating into the fabrics of the accounting and finance departments of many organizations without the top management realizing it. This is despite the fact that a new phrase ‘great resignation’ has been introduced into the lexicon of accounting and finance dictionary of late.
Causes of stress for accountants and internal auditors
In my many years of experience working under various nomenclature in the accounting and finance space, I have observed 7 major causes of stress for accountants and auditors. The major causes of stress for accountants and auditors are:
- Being incompetent
- Not keeping up with latest changes in accounting, auditing and especially tax legislations
- Being too serious with situations
- Not leveraging on the power of business technologies
- Lack of proper exercise
- Financial pressure
- Trying to take on too much responsibilities
The stress management techniques discussed in this post are derived from research to address the causes of stress as identified above.
16 most effective easy to implement stress management tips for finance professionals
- Be competent: at the top of the list of causes of stress for accountants and auditors is not being well grounded in their job. Very many people work in accounting and auditing role but cannot confidently convince themselves let alone convincing others that they are competent in what they do. You find these group of people mostly in junior to mid roles- this explains why they are haven’t qualified yet as accountants. There may be few instances of people who really know their onion but are still not qualified accountants but these are few compared to the vast majority of accounting and auditing staff that are not chartered accountants. So, my number one tip on getting rid of accounting job stress is to become a chartered accountant.
- Be trendy and Up-to-date in industry knowledge: the next on the list of culprits of accounting- work stress is not keeping tabs with changes in the accounting industry. Internal Auditing 4.0 for example is gaining momentum yet some internal auditors are still doing things the old way. Number 2 tip on the subject matter of keeping stress under control is to ride with the industry trend. A useful external source of information that can help you keep up with the changes is the professional publications of accounting associations like ACCA
- Be tech savvy: hey! Technology is here to stay and make our lives easier both on the job and off the job. You will be doing yourself and accounting career a big disservice if you are yet to start learning how to code as an accountant. Be hungry for more tech knowledge and gradually you will be closing the gap between efficiency and inefficiency at work. Infotech accountants are already ripping the benefits of embracing tech so what are you waiting for? You can start by mastering spreadsheet programs like Microsoft excel and then walk up the tech knowledgebase ladder. The respects and accolade alone that comes from your colleagues simply because you are a technology accountant is enough to heal all work related stress 😊
- Delegate effectively: the I can do it better syndrome will only cause you more pain at work as a professional accountant or auditor. The benefits of delegation cannot be overemphasized. If you really want to be stress free, start delegating routine not mission critical tasks today.
- Take vacation: am sure you have probably heard the phrase ‘all work and no play’. The only thing that you have probably not heard is that working without taking vacation kills you in all material respect. Also, it is very wrong from fraud prevention perspective to work without going on holiday. Vacations must be elaborate as many thinks. You can simply travel to a remote village with your family if you have and treat yourselves with some local edifies without breaking the bank – I know that accountants are cost savers buy investing in your future wellbeing is a worthwhile investment by any standard.
- Sleep well: the medical professionals have repeatedly told us that good night sleep is the solution to most health issues that we have yet, we tend to ignore these professional warnings (I am also guilty of this crime some times 😊). But we shall not stop trying to discipline ourselves when it comes to getting adequate sleep. The medics say that 6-8 hours of sleep a day is all that we need to avoid lack of sleep related medical conditions.
- Be humorous and laugh at yourself sometimes: laughter in my experience has been a very potent de-stressor that is sadly often neglected. Being humorous sometimes is all that we need to deescalate a potentially stressful situation. I have lost count but I know that this is another stress management top tip that you must take very seriously.
- Expand your income frontiers: lets face it, accountants and auditors are humans that also have financial needs that must be met. Not having enough money can not only cause stress but can make accountants steal. There are many ways that accountants can make extra money that you can explore. This site is one of my many residual income sources. Start something outside your normal hustle today for that extra money to solve our numerous money problems. Gaining financial independence could be the difference between being stressed and not being stressed.
- Exercise regularly: if really want to keep stress at bay, have a regular exercise schedule that you follow religiously. It doesn’t have to be something big and rigorous. The key is being consistent with your exercise routine. Stress hates exercises and stress will also hate you simply because you have a positive association with exercise.
- Eat healthily: I am not a medical doctor but I have experienced real stress when I eat wrongly. There may be no universal definition of what healthy meals are but working with your dietician is the sure bet you have. The psychological healings alone that comes from knowing that you eat healthy meals is enough to kick stress out.
- Speak out: the preachers will tell you that a closed mouth is a closed destiny. These preachers are not wrong. We have that moment in our lives when we need to talk to someone. Bottling up emotions is a stress time explosive waiting to happen. Speak to your close allies about issues that are bothering you. Yes, I know that people close to you can sometimes take under advantage of you telling them of your problems but you still have to sparingly share some burdens in order to be stress free.
- Use stress balls or de-stressor balls: I remember how my employer back when I was working as a customer complaint handler would litter our tables with these soft balls that we can squeeze when dealing with a difficult customer over the phone. I initially didn’t believe it will work until I tried it. I didn’t look back after that initial trial. So, yes pour out your frustrations on that stress ball as hard as you can.
- Breath well: as simple as this may sound, the act of taking regular deep breath helps reduce stress. In some of those nights when sleep blatantly refuses to come, I simply take a couple of deep breath and sleeps off within few minutes. Yoga classes spend reasonable time teaching people how to breath well for very good reasons.
- Avoid using drugs and stimulants: I have seen many accountants make claims that they cannot meet up with deadlines if they don’t put in the extra hours. According to them, these extra hours requires that they take one stimulant or the other. My standard piece of advice for them is a loud STOP IT! All that you need to meet up with your deadlines is to be efficient with your use of resources including time. Top not time management technique when combined with competence beats all deadlines.
- Don’t over promise: in our pitch to land that job or win that clients, accountants tend to over promise on what they will deliver. This is a very dangerous tactics as it backfires when the over the moon promises are not being kept. It is better to under promise and over deliver than the other way around. After all, prudent concept in accounting is one of the underlying accounting assumptions that we all preach about in financial accounting.
- Seek work-life balance: the recent developing workforce trend is what every accountant should endeavor to embrace. Workers are now demanding for more flexible work-life equation and this is good as it will greatly help in our fight to reduce stress for accountants if they follow suit.
The 16 most effective stress management tips for accountants and internal auditors that we have briefly explored in this article on managing stress worked for me and I sincerely hope that they would work for you. To the success and stress-free work environment for accountants all over the world!!!