Coping with Stress & Burnout as an Accountant: Signs, Symptoms, Solutions

accountants stress and burnout
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Accounting is a demanding job. The path is strewn with long hours of bookkeeping, meetings, and paperwork. It only gets worse during tax season. Below are some telltale signs of accountant’s burnout and some steps on how to relieve it.

The Signs

Burnout is usually associated with ongoing feelings of exhaustion, frustration, and depression, but there are also other ways of telling if a person is being bogged down by the same troubles.

It is sometimes not easy to spot an individual that is reaching ‘burn-out’.

However, burned-out individuals are often not hard to pinpoint, especially if these people were once productive members of the workforce. A burned-out accountant may report to work late and produce lower quality work than before.

Aside from that, he may be less pleasant in interacting with other employees or co-workers. This may be seen in the lack of enthusiasm in dealing with clients and colleagues or in being outright insubordinate to the higher ups.

Burned-out accountants are also more prone to sicknesses, hence absenting themselves more frequently from work.

The Solutions

Trying to simply weather through burnout is counterproductive. Doing so only causes more deterioration in the long run.

A better way to deal with burnout is to stop and rest. As the accountant resumes work, he should make it a point to balance work and leisure properly, allocating ample time for work responsibilities and personal needs.

Taking a timeout from work to deal with a burnout does not necessarily require a long vacation. Accountants can actually work around their clients’ schedules and take their breaks accordingly. For instance, they can go right after they have filed their company’s declarations and statements at the end of the tax season. That way, they don’t have pending tasks to worry about while they are on vacation.

During the work day, it is possible for accountants (or any other employee for that matter) to take short breaks to prevent burnout and regain focus. A short 15-minute break is enough to relax and recharge.

For those who are planning to go on a vacation leave, it is best to plan everything carefully, from the scheduling to the turnover of tasks and contact person while the accountant is on leave. Aside from the boss, the colleagues, contacts, clients, and anyone else who has dealings with the accountant should be informed that he will be on vacation.

There are instances when bosses actually appoint temporary replacements for employees on vacation leaves.


It is much better to prevent burnout than to experience it first and cure later.

Accounting is a naturally stressful job and an accountant on the verge of burnout can prevent falling into it by managing his use of time and properly balancing his work with other aspects of life.

Maintaining communication with family and friends as well as being honest with his colleagues and clients when it comes to the workload he can reasonably handle on his own can also reduce internal stress. This way, chances of fully burning out are significantly decreased.

Accountants bear the burden of managing complicated financial matters and their work is inherently stressful. However, any employee need not wait for a burnout to happen. There are techniques to practice so burnout is not experienced.

When it does come up, be assured that it can be overcome.

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Our Experts

Our Experts

The Accounting Path's in house experts draw upon a broad network of professionals to bring you the most up to date information what’s happening in the accounting world.