Beyond Blue has teamed with the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants to address the high rate of depression and anxiety disorders among people working in the accounting profession.

The linked article published in the Sydney Morning Herald, brought to light this issue and presented stories of 2 young professionals battling with depression in the workplace.

A young, former employee of one of the Big 4 accounting firms, said that after 'putting in 14-hour days for the first 6 months, he was unable to get dressed for work.'  Another young man from a mid-tier insolvency firm said that he 'dreaded' coming in to work where unattainable goals were set.

These issues have been heard before within other industries (e.g. legal practices), and are certainly not limited to the accounting profession.  However smaller firms have the potential to have a major advantage over some of the larger ones in this area.  In smaller practices, the goals and expectations of the partners and the team can be more aligned . Client service can be a dominant driver, rather than the bottom line.  Furthermore, the lack of barriers and red tape between the leaders and the team not only on a professional level, but also a social one, provide opportunities to generate a genuine positive and co-operative environment.

However, just because a firm is small in size, does not mean it is inherently like this.  The culture still needs to be developed and cultivated within the office

Recognising all of this, Overells has over the years, worked to provide a rewarding and reduced stress working environment.  Some of the practices we have in place include:

  • Flexible work environment and hours
  • Well-being program including subsidised personal training sessions, onsite massages
  • Encouraging and valuing contribution to the management of Overells by all employees
  • Monthly one-on-one personal development meetings with a partner, concentrating on all areas of individual development, not just progress within the firm

An individual's work, home, health and social life all affect each other.  In order to have a productive, efficient and enjoyable workplace, no matter the industry, this must be acknowledged within the firm.