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Survey Shows Burnout in Accounting Profession

Of the accountants who experienced burnout, 53% were at or above the average score with 24% of them reporting medium-high or high levels of burnout...

FloQast, a provider of accounting workflow automation software created by accountants for accountants, recently released the results of its latest survey, Controller’s Guidebook: Burnout in Accounting – Understanding the Problem, Leveraging Solutions. Using the Maslach Burnout Inventory in an accounting setting for the first time, the survey revealed the extent that burnout has impacted accountants, as well as the impact that burnout has on accounting processes.

The survey was conducted online in March of 2022 and includes the responses of 204 accounting and finance professionals, with participants varied in both position and experience, with firm size varying as well.

For the survey, FloQast and UGA utilized the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the leading measure of burnout; validated by more than 35 years of research. For the first time, this measure has been used to evaluate accountants emerging from the closing process on a 100-point scale. The survey covered three major areas of burnout: Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and low sense of Personal Accomplishment (PA).

Here are a few of the key findings of the survey:

  • Almost all (99%) of accountants experienced some level of burnout with an average score of 47 points.
  • Of the accountants who experienced burnout, 53% were at or above the average score with 24% of them reporting medium-high or high levels of burnout (60+ points).
  • Only 8% of participants scored in the low range (<20 points) and only 1% had a score below 10.
  • The burnout scores are significantly correlated with the disruption of an accountant’s life during the financial Close as well as their confidence in its accuracy.
    • 81% of accountants had at least one month in the past year where the Close disrupted their personal life.
    • 85% of participants reported having to re-open the books in at least one month during the last year to fix errors.
    • Almost half (49%) of respondents had to re-open the books in three or more months.

New Solutions to Overcome Burnout:

The FloQast study also uncovered three key components of modernizing the Close process that would provide the most benefit to accounting professionals:

  • The introduction of an integrated solution
  • Better training for existing tools and resources
  • Reducing the number of tools used to a single solution 

Here’s what Mike Whitmire, CEO of FloQast had to say about the survey and its findings.

“The survey results show that burnout in the accounting industry has become too great of an issue to ignore. With fluctuating economic forecasts, burnout will become even more prevalent unless we act now. Fortunately, solutions exist, including integrating automation with accounting processes, implementing better training for existing tools, and consolidating the overall number of tools used. We were eager to explore these concepts through our recent survey with the University of Georgia and hope the findings significantly help accountants reclaim their work/life balance by modernizing the stressful month-end Close and organizations’ overall operations.”

FloQast plans to continue research into the accounting industry throughout 2022, exploring current challenges within the accounting field as well as offering suggestions for best practices.