Work pressure on young accountants is too high, survey finds

Almost half of young accountants are contemplating leaving the profession because of the pressures of work, a survey by accountancy umbrella organisation NBA has shown.

Nine out of 10 accountants under the age of 35 said their personal life is suffering because of the pressures of the job, while three quarters of the 500 participants said they were unable to do the work to a good standard because of the long hours.

The NBA said the results of the survey are worrying because fewer people will opt for the profession. Accountancy training institutes have already reported a 15% drop in students, it said.

A similar survey two years ago flagged up much the same issues but, the NBA said, not much seems to have been done to improve the situation.

‘It’s not that nothing has changed,. Some firms have made steps and there is an awareness of the problem,’ NBA spokesman Adrian Egas told the Financieele Dagblad. ‘But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a long way to go.’

The issues most cited by young accountants are limited office capacity, problems arising from planning and information provision by clients, and the combination of work, study and personal life.

The working situation in the sector had already been labelled unsatisfactory by inspectors this spring, when 22 out of 28 firms were found to lack the basic measures to monitor work pressure, such as internal procedures to report problems.

The NBA has said ‘the sector will work with the results’ and devise a long-term plan to change the working culture among accountancy firms. ‘Things need to change but we are not in a position to determine the policy of individual firms,’ a spokesman said.

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