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Finance professionals are experiencing an unprecedented exodus. Over the last two years, more than 300,000 U.S. accountants and auditors left their jobs — a staggering 17% decline​​.

Worsening the crisis, salary bumps and temp workers haven’t helped fill gaps. Baby boomers are retiring without backups. And faced with the extra credits, classes, and costs required to earn a CPA license, recent grads are deciding careers in finance don’t add up.

Those still bookkeeping often struggle to reconcile work with life. Exhausted by repetitive processes and gruelling hours, 28% of accountants say their work is harming their mental health.

Burnout is serious business. But accounting has always been about balance. With the right tools and tips, finance professionals can help their teams beat burnout before it takes root. 

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Signs of burnout: What to watch for 
  2. The high costs of accountant burnout
  3. Why accountant burnout is growing
  4. How managers can help prevent burnout
  5. Reducing burnout by automating accounting tasks
  6. Beating burnout 
28% of accountants say their work is harming their mental health.

Signs of burnout: What to watch for

According to Mayo Clinic, job burnout is work-related stress: physical or emotional exhaustion “that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Most American workers — 75% of them —say they’ve experienced it. Signs include:

  • Trouble concentrating or staying focused
  • Increased impatience or irritability
  • Decreased energy or productivity
  • Feeling more dissatisfied, cynical, or critical 
  • Reduced participation in meetings and work functions

While job burnout is not a medical condition like anxiety or depression, it is now classified as an “occupational phenomenon” by the World Health Organization.

Accountant burnout affects more than job performance: It can put both professional and personal relationships at risk.

The high costs of accountant burnout

If you’re experiencing one or more burnout symptoms, ask your doctor or mental health provider for help. Untreated, it can also lead to a wide range of physical conditions, from headaches and stomach problems to heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Replacing a burned-out employee can cost three to four times their salary.

If you’re a manager, you know that burned-out workers are not just unhappy, unproductive, and unfulfilled. They’re unlikely to stick around. Replacing an employee can cost three to four times their salary.

Plus, accountants are getting harder to find.

The average time required to fill an accounting position has more than doubled, from 23 days in 2008 to 56 days in 2022.

Why accountant burnout is growing

Mayo Clinic says you may be at greater risk for job burnout if you struggle with work-life balance, face boom or bust workdays, or feel like your workload is out of your control. 

These challenges are painfully familiar to accounting professionals. Witness the wide range of perspectives offered by nearly 900 commenters to the WSJ’s article, "Why So Many Accountants Are Quitting":

“This prescriptive, out-of-this-world complex nature of the field is turning new folks away from it in droves.” Alexander Larson

“I left the tax world several years ago… losing three months of your life every year is miserable.” Mary Norris

“I'm a millennial with an accounting degree… we just want… a better work/life balance than accounting firms can offer…” Francis Marion


For many, accounting is a tough job that’s only become more complex and stressful. The hours are gruelling (especially during tax season, when 70- and 80-hour weeks are common), and repetitive tasks like balancing and reconciling tasks seem endless. 

But burnout is preventable. And a rewarding accounting career is achievable.

Gallup reports when managers listen to their team’s work concerns, employees are 62% less likely to burn out. 

How managers can help prevent burnout

As a finance team manager, there’s a lot you can do to foster a happier, healthier workplace while helping employees overcome and even avoid burnout. So watch for signs — but also lead with empathy and understanding.

Keep the door open

According to Gallup, when managers listen to their team’s work concerns, employees are 62% less likely to burn out. If you don’t have regular check-ins with direct reports, schedule them or set office hours. Occasional skip-level meetings can also help you identify signs of departmental burnout before they take hold.

Recognize each job well done 

Create a culture of recognition. Encourage your team to say “thank you” frequently and openly. Make time to trade kudos during staff meetings. High-recognition cultures feel less stressful. And when employees feel less stressed, they’re more productive and less likely to leave.

Reduce overwork

Corporate wellness solution Calm also recommends analyzing overwork. Occasional late nights aren’t an issue. But if overwork is prevalent at your company, evaluate each employee’s tasks and explore ways to delegate and outsource.

Take care of yourself

Lead by example. Reprioritize work that can wait. Demonstrate your own work-life balance so employees know it’s OK to turn it off. 

You can also give your team room to breathe and space to innovate by embracing technology that automates repetitive accounting tasks. 


79% of accounting firms are either considering, planning, or already relying on technology to fill gaps by performing basic accounting tasks.

Reducing burnout by automating accounting tasks

A major contributor to accountant burnout is the mountain of mindless manual tasks. Automating recurring accounting processes — like accounts payable and receivable functions — can free finance professionals to focus on analyzing data and solving problems.

In fact, 79% of accounting firms are either considering, planning, or already relying on technology to fill gaps by performing basic accounting tasks. And those who’ve recently switched to automated payable and receivable software are already realizing results.

We’ve saved approximately 40 plus hours a month… roughly $50,000 a year, says Emily Ahier, Finance Manager of Toronto’s Greenhouse Juice Company. 

All of these savings come from physically preparing these cheques, coordinating all the people who are responsible for signing off on physical cheques, and of course, all the automated entries that come from using the Plooto platform.

James Allen, Partner, MBF Chartered Professional Accountants, is another Plooto customer. Of accounting automation, Allen claims, “The time and the cost savings have been exponential… It's like magic. Everything just happens seamlessly, without data entry or reconciliations. I’ve saved one hour a week and our admin (has saved) 8 hours a week."

Beating burnout

Financial professionals facing burnout must stay vigilant, watch for signs of physical and emotional stress, and get help when it’s needed.

Accounting automation can offer relief from mundane, manual payable and receivable processes. When you’re ready, you can try Plooto free for 30 days. It’s trusted by thousands of teams like yours.

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