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Finance workers’ mental health and productivity affected by pandemic

30 Aug 2021

Nearly 60pc of Irish respondents cited mental health as the most significant issue facing their finance function, compared to 48pc worldwide.

The pandemic has adversely affected the mental health of Irish finance workers, as well as the amount of influence and skills they feel they have to offer.

This is according to a survey by professional services firm PwC and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

The survey, which was done this summer with 3,064 ACCA members, PwC contacts and various CFOs from several locations around the world including Ireland, found that finance teams in general were feeling fatigued and stressed.

More than half of Irish respondents (58pc) said that the mental health and wellbeing of their employees was the most significant issue facing their finance function, compared to 48pc worldwide.

Of these 146 Irish respondents, nearly a third said that productivity was a key issue.

Most respondents were not satisfied that they and their co-workers had availed of the opportunities to become more influential in the world of work. Just 28pc of Irish financial professionals surveyed said they felt finance has become more relevant as a result of the pandemic, compared to 34pc globally.

The survey report entitled ‘Finance Functions: Seizing the Opportunity’ contains a number of recommendations for finance professionals to implement in order to increase their influence.

Among the recommendations is a greater focus on adapting to new technologies and learning digital skills. Almost a third of Irish respondents (32pc) said they would focus on upskilling digitally, and 25pc said they would redesign roles and career paths to reflect the changing future of finance.

A majority (73pc) said the pandemic has had a lasting impact on the technologies used in the industry. (Examples of such technologies include cloud-based solutions, cloud-based computing, scenario modelling and predictive analytics.)

Author of the report, Clive Webb, head of business management at ACCA, said that: “Finance professionals must concentrate on investing in their own capabilities in data, technology, innovation, collaboration and strategy to step up their pivotal role in the post-pandemic era.”

Webb added: “Those organisations that had already started to adopt a digital transformation strategy had managed the pandemic better. There is an opportunity to build an even more relevant function, based on data, insights and collaboration. Finance teams cannot afford to lose sight of this.”

Updated, 2.05pm, 30 August 2021: This article has been amended to correct errors in the data reported.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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