It doesn’t have to be stressful
At Accountex in May I was asked about accountants and stress levels, and I pointed out that stress in the workplace for accountants in practice is nothing new. It is not a recent development, it is just that at this present time more publicity is quite rightly being given over to workplace stress.
I have been in practice for over 30 years and have experienced stressful times. Some Januarys have been worse than others, P35 filing time was always a tad stressful (thank goodness that one has gone), but I wonder how the MTD agenda will stack up going forward.
I always found that analysing the problem was the best way of reducing stress levels and, in fact, bringing back the joy of being in practice and helping so many clients fulfil their business dreams.
I found that, inevitably, a rise in stress levels not just in myself but also the staff was caused by clients who never responded to emails or letters in a timely manner, never provided the necessary information requested in one go, or who were tying up myself or the staff with seemingly endless questions. Of course they then complained about the fee when we had what they thought was the audacity to actually render a fee (never mind the fact that they took forever to actually settle it).
A stress-free working life would be wonderful but you can reduce stress levels if you take control of your practice, and just one way is making sure that the clients you have are the clients you want to have and are the clients that, more importantly, want you and your staff to act for them.
A client is entitled to the best service you and your team can offer, but if you are unhappy you don’t have to act for them, you can resign and pass them on to another accountant who they may treat differently or not.
Stress seldom ends without some form of resolution or determination to make it end, and sometimes it’s as simple as sacking a couple of clients.
- Tony Margaritelli Chair, ICPA
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