Andrew Conway FIPA FFA
Our impact on mental health and wellbeing
We cannot deny that we live in a digital world and global digitisation will continue to advance to drive systems and processes,including artificial intelligence.
Not all client interactions are straightforward and,in fact,can be quite challenging,especially for those clients that are in need of support beyond normal compliance and accounting services.
In conducting our nationwide small business road show as part of our research for the second edition of the Australian Small Business White Paper,we heard many stories in talking to hundreds of small businesses who were facing genuine dilemmas;many of which impacted their health.Every day,accountants encounter clients who are under pressure and experiencing very real stress,anxiety and depression.Mental health is a global issue.
World Health Organisation statistics in 2014who 800,000people die from suicide globally;one death every 40seconds.They also reported that 60countries had less than one psychiatrist per 100,000population.
In 2016,global share of population which a mental or substance abuse disorder was 15.5per cent (1.1billion people of a world population of 7.442billion).Of these,268million suffered depression and 275million suffered with anxiety disorders.
Nine out of 10small businesses turn to their accountant for advice beyond compliance.This does not mean that as an accountant you need to hold a PhD in psychiatry,but it does mean you may be in the best position to tell of warning signs.Through this awareness,you may well be in the best position to help the client who is suffering to attain the professional support they desperately require.
Our research,including the roadshow insights gained,categorically informed us that visiting their accountant had a direct and positive impact on their stress levels.
Of course,recognising a client that is in trouble also adds stress to the accountant practitioner and this raises a number of questions.As a profession,are we ready to provide the necessary advice in relation to have the conversation?Are we even aware of the impact it is having on us?Importantly,are we supporting each other?
While our world is so focused on automation and digitisation,we cannot overlook the social value of our work.Our value lies within our human interactions.There is nothing ‘artificial’about emotional intelligence.
As we head into the Christmas and holiday period,I wish you all a very enjoyable and safe time.And let’s ensure we are indeed looking after one another.
Andrew Conway FIPA FFA