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Accountants are they workaholics?

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A recent survey has revealed that the number of sick days taken by staff has risen – but accountants are bucking the trend, according to an online survey by accountancy recruitment specialists Nicholas Andrews and Temps Financial.

UK workers took 176m sick days last year costing £11.6bn. However estimates of those taken as a result of feigned illness were in the region of 15%. Nevertheless, fewer than 1 in 10 accountancy staff would be willing to throw a “sickie”, the questionnaire revealed.

The survey also highlighted that 8.5% of respondents would take a day off if they were not ill. However, whilst unacceptable to employers, this figure is tempered when the reasons for making up sick days are investigated.

One part qualified ACCA commented, “If I need to study, I do not get study leave and do not want to let my company down by failing. Therefore I would be willing to take a sickness day in order to pass.”

However that view was not typical of the majority of respondents.

Carol Cooper, a purchase ledger clerk, commented, “During 20 years in one position I took less than 10 days off sick and they were always legitimate. People who habitually take time off sick are not doing themselves, or their employers, any favours.”

Are we impressed by accountants’ devotion to duty? Or is it the case that financial professionals are working in a culture dominated by performance anxiety in response to staff cuts over the past couple of years?

Accountants have also had to tackle increased legislative changes. New forms of red tape have added to the strain on accountants, which analysts would typically expect to see reflected in rising absenteeism. The fact that the online survey did not find evidence of this shows the true character of accountants.

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