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How satisfied are accountants with their employers?

Oksana Patron1 December 2023
Financial stress life insurance financial literacy

The Australian accounting profession is overall in good shape in terms of their physical, mental and financial wellbeing however there are a couple signs of stress, according to life insurer PPS Mutual’s 2023 State of Health and Wellbeing in Accounting report.

The study has found that most accountants (80%) reported that they were highly satisfied with their present employment, and where employees were not happy, it was often related to working long hours, too much work, or the ‘category killer’ of compliance.

Compliance obligations (42%) and the impact of new regulations (28%) topped the list of the key professional challenges for accountants, with additional challenges including paperwork and administration (24%), regulatory uncertainty (24%), and succession planning and staff retention (23%).

Most satisfied accountants cite having an understanding employer, flexible working hours, exposure to diverse business services, and good team members as contributing to their job satisfaction.

In terms of physical well-being, 43% of accountants reported that their job had a negative impact, citing pressure, stress, long working hours, and insufficient exercise as key contributors.

Concerns extended to mental health, with 35% experiencing a negative impact from their current roles, attributing stress to work targets, seasonal pressures, strict deadlines, miscommunication, and continuous change.

The study also found that accountants may have a false sense of security when it comes to risk insurance even though they felt confident in their understanding the financial implications of critical illnesses and other health issues, the data showed that not everyone was equipped with sufficient insurance coverage.

Three out of four said they understood the potential costs they may incur if they required treatment for a serious physical or mental health condition. However, fewer than half, or 41% of accountants, were ‘highly confident’ they already had the appropriate risk insurance coverage for a critical illness. In addition, most respondents did not have access to a group insurance policy.

“That means the majority, or 59%, are not confident that they are appropriately covered, which can create further stress. Without group insurance, many are also vulnerable to financial risk. 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,” PPS Mutual’s chief executive, Michael Pillemer, said.

He added that the research was borne from understanding the vital role of accounting in Australia’s economy and broader society.

“We sought to bring some key insights into the drivers behind the health and wellbeing of Australia’s hardworking accountancy profession,” Pillemer stressed.

“Accountants rank among the most trusted professionals in the country and constitute a significant proportion of our small to medium enterprises (SMEs), which accounted for one-third of Australia’s total GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2022.

“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.”



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