Toxic environments plague the accountancy profession, according to new research

Communication issues (18%), working unrealistic hours (17%) and cliquey colleagues (15%) are creating toxic environments, according to a new survey of over 250 chartered accountants.

The survey conducted on behalf CABA, the chartered accountants’ wellbeing charity, found that more than half (55%) of those working in the profession believe their workplace to be toxic.

Alongside working unrealistic hours and cliquey colleagues, jealous or competitive peers (13%), people sabotaging one another (12%) and a lack of accountability (12%) were among the reasons cited by respondents.

When asked if work had negatively affected the respondents in the last 12 months, worryingly 76% agreed with this statement.

Interestingly, the younger generation (18-34) feel this more than any other; a staggering 80% revealed they work in a toxic environment, with over 1-in-4 of these respondents believing it was due to people sabotaging one another.  This compares to 60% of 35-44-year olds, 35% of 45-54-year olds and 29% of those aged 55+ who think they work in a toxic environment.

Kelly Feehan, Service Director, CABA, comments on the findings:

‘The issue of the ‘toxic workplace’ is certainly not confined to the accountancy profession, but it’s worrying to hear that so many chartered accountants feel as though they work in such an unhealthy environment. It’s recognised that this type of culture can take its toll on employees’ mental health, leading to an unproductive and unmotivated workforce.

‘Leaders must recognise the signs, whether that’s unrealistic expectations, a clear lack of communication or unsupportive colleagues, so that measures can be put in place to turn a toxic atmosphere into a productive and happy one.

‘It won’t happen overnight, but it’s important that both employers and employees are involved in stamping out toxicity within an organisation. If it’s not tackled head on, it could lead to increased absenteeism and high staff turnover which will be felt by the whole business.’