Tax & Accounting Blog

Mentally Taxing: Wellbeing and the Accountant

Accounting Firms, Blog, Business Practices, Business Strategy & Development, Corporations, Financial Institutions, Healthcare & Benefits Providers, Individual Tax, Non-profit Organisations, Organisations, Professional Development, Tax October 10, 2017

Only 3 percent of the world’s finance professionals are able to sleep soundly. The role of Senior Corporate Executive came in at number 7 in Forbes Top Stressful Jobs of 2017. And with increasing pressure from governments, boards and investors to disclose an accurate tax position, not to mention transformations in markets and business models colliding with technological evolution and customer demands, it seems that as tax and accounting professionals, we have our fair share of reasons to feel stressed, anxious and depressed.

So as today is World Mental Health Day, and October is Mental Health month now is a good time to look at what support is on offer for the industry.

The ATO has recently strengthened their commitment to support the mental health of small and medium business owners. Deputy Commissioner for Small Business, Deborah Jenkins, encouraged those experiencing the warning signs of a mental health condition can check out the support available from the ATO.

In addition, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) research into the role of accountants in the mental health of their SME clients is well underway, and they acknowledged recently that accountants are often called upon to assist their clients who are experiencing mental health difficulties, going beyond their role as financial counsellors.

Signs to watch

While stress can be motivating, living in an enduring state of it can have an extremely detrimental impact on your health – physical and mental.  Here are some signs to be aware of:

  • finding it hard to concentrate;
  • feeling irritable, stressed or very emotional;
  • experiencing difficulty sleeping, or waking very early morning and not being able to get back to sleep;
  • a change in eating and/or drinking habits (including eating less/more or drinking more);
  • inability to switch off from thinking about work even when not at work;
  • withdrawing from family and friends.

How to access help

Start with your GP. Reach out to your industry association. If you work for a large organisation talk to your HR representative to find out what employee assistance programmes are on offer. And if you are a smaller business, here is a list of agencies you can get information and assistance from for yourself, or your employees, including:

  • Beyondblue information line on: 1300 224 636;
  • Lifeline (24/7) on: 13 11 14;
  • Black Dog Institute
  • MensLine Australia on: 1300 78 99 78
  • Suicide Call Back service (24/7) on: 1300 659 467

Help your Clients

In this week’s Checkpoint Marketing for Firms we have an article for you to share with your clients.  And for detailed commentary on the global tax reforms and the latest tax and accounting issues See our Weekly Tax Bulletin.