Achieving Work-Life Balance in Accounting 

Riza Ponce, Maureen (Moe) Rynard
Students
| 3/27/2024

As an accounting professional, balancing the demands of work and personal life can be a challenge. With tight deadlines, busy seasons, and complex regulations, having a strategic approach to managing life and work can help you find harmony and happiness.

In this article, our professionals provide practical tips for accountants to balance work and personal life. We'll discuss strategies to handle the pressures of the accounting industry and highlight ways to have a fulfilling career alongside a well-rounded personal life. 

The Realities of the Accounting Profession

Busy Seasons
Working Hours and Workload
Industry Culture
Busy Seasons

Like most professional roles, they come with busier periods than others. Tax season can be incredibly busy for accountants as they work through financial data and ensure precise and prompt filing to meet deadlines. The demand for accuracy and efficiency during this time can lead to high-pressure workdays. Some firms, such as Crowe MacKay, offer employee assistance programs and allocate resources for mental health year-round to guarantee staff have access to adequate support whenever they need.

Accounting professionals can also expect a surge during year-end reporting and in other scenarios such as implementing new accounting standards or managing mergers and acquisitions.

Working Hours and Workload

A 9-5 workday isn't always going to be the case, as many people’s days in the accounting industry regularly extend into overtime. While the firm monitors hours for work-life sustainability, deadlines are often non-negotiable, and clients expect dedicated service that often changes the conventional workday.

For students, not all firms compensate them for overtime (OT); however, at Crowe MacKay, students can bank their time and use it for their CFE study leave. 

Industry Culture
The 'busy season' phenomenon is a part of working in accounting, frequently shaping the course of a professional's year. The industry's culture and the expectation of availability can be daunting for newcomers, yet the rewards and benefits can be very satisfying. At Crowe MacKay, our offices make it a priority to host tax-season parties, celebrating the team’s hard-work and dedication to quality client service. 
People Students Talking

Understanding Work-Life Balance 

Achieving work-life balance involves creating a healthy division between your professional and personal life. While it may vary from person to person, work-life balance typically entails managing responsibilities at work, such as job demands and deadlines, without compromising family life or personal interests.

Crowe MacKay offers a 360-degree rewards package that helps you achieve your professional, financial, and wellness goals throughout your career with us. We want you to have a bird's-eye view of your health and well-being and understand that to see the big picture, you must be supported to live a balanced life. 

Strategies for Maintaining Balance 

Here are six strategies to keep work from taking over your personal time and bring some order to the busiest times. 

Understand Busy Season Expectations
Overtime might be unavoidable during busier times of the year so be proactive in understanding the expectations and how you can work within your team to ensure a healthy work-life balance.
Delegate Tasks

Accountants often find it difficult to delegate tasks due to the sensitivity of their work. However, fostering a trusted network of colleagues and assistants can significantly relieve your workload.  

At Crowe MacKay, our dedicated in-person conferences and weekly goodie breaks helps you to build your network internally, allowing you to lean on colleagues and give your clients the best service possible.

Regular Workouts

Regular exercise is excellent for stress management and overall well-being. Make physical activity a non-negotiable part of your schedule. Some examples include running, weight-lighting, yoga, spinning, hiking, or trying new fitness classes. 

Crowe MacKay typically hosts a firm-wide tax-break challenge, encouraging team members to get up from their desks and move during busy season. 

Enjoy Hobbies

Hobbies and interests are a great way to meet with family or friends and are crucial for mental health and personal growth. They help manage stress, boost creativity, and improve professional skills.

Hobbies such as hiking, cycling, painting, gardening, baking, or fishing allow the mind to recharge, ensuring a refreshed perspective when returning to work.

Maintain a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet helps with work-life balance, especially for accountants during tax season or year-end. Late nights at the office may result in unhealthy fast-food choices, affecting health and energy levels. Meal prep or healthy take-out saves time and promotes nutritious eating. A balanced diet improves energy, focus, productivity, and overall well-being. 
Practice Stress Management Techniques

Incorporating mindfulness and stress management practices into your routine can improve mental health and work-life balance. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help reduce stress levels and increase focus and productivity.

By setting aside time to practice daily mindfulness, accountants can create a mental space for relaxation and reflection, enabling them to approach their work clearly.

Student_Interview

Work-Life Balance for Future Accounting Professionals 

For aspiring accountants, understanding the importance of work-life balance early in your career is important. It sets the foundation for developing healthy habits that ensure long-term success in your personal and professional life. Educational choices, career paths, and choosing an employer are all factors to consider.  

Educational Choices
Career Paths
Selecting an Employer
Educational Choices
Your choices during your education can set the stage for a healthy, balanced career. Considering programs that provide a mix of theoretical and practical knowledge, such as co-op placements or internships, can help prepare students for the demands of the industry. 
Career Paths

In accounting, choosing a career path can significantly influence your work-life balance. Public accounting, for instance, may offer more exposure to diverse clients and service lines, and a potentially more lucrative career but often requires longer hours, specifically during busy seasons. 

On the other hand, corporate or private accounting can provide more regular hours and a predictable schedule, making it easier to plan personal time. However, it can come with disadvantages, such as limited exposure and learning opportunities, slower career progression, and risk of monotony. 

Selecting an Employer

Selecting the right employer can distinguish between a healthy and unhealthy work-life balance. Consider some of these factors when picking an employer. 

  • Company Culture: Look for a company whose values align with yours, particularly one that values work-life balance and offers support during peak times. 
  • Flexible Working Hours: Consider employers that offer flexible work schedules, remote work options, or comp time. 
  • Benefits Package: Evaluate the benefits package thoroughly. Beyond health insurance, consider if they offer mental health support, wellness programs, or paid time off. 
  • Career Development Opportunities: Select an employer that invests in their employees' growth through training, mentorship programs, and provides opportunities for advancement. 
  • Workload Expectations: Inquire about typical workloads, especially during the busy season, and how the company ensures they are manageable. 
  • Employee Feedback: Seek out current or past employee reviews on platforms like Glassdoor to gauge general satisfaction and the company's work-life balance.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, achieving a healthy work-life balance in an accounting role is essential and attainable through strategic planning and fostering supportive relationships. 

By prioritizing time management, establishing boundaries, and engaging in physical and mental wellness activities, accountants can enjoy a fulfilling career while maintaining personal life quality. 

Aspiring accounting professionals can set a precedent for a well-rounded, satisfying professional path by starting early in their career by deciding on programs to enroll in, choosing a career path to take, and selecting the right employer.

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#GrowWithCrowe 

Join our dedicated professionals who prioritize a healthy work-life balance. Embark on a fulfilling career with Crowe MacKay, where your well-being and professional growth are valued equally. Learn why students choose to #GrowWithCrowe or check out some of our other student pages: Student Hub, Mentorship Program and FAQs from students.

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Riza Ponce
Riza Ponce
Manager
Calgary
Moe Rynard
Maureen (Moe) Rynard
Manager, Human Resources
Kelowna

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