Achieving Work-Life Balance

Gina Deveney
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Achieving work-life balance may seem easier than ever thanks to connected devices that let you work from home. An accounting firm may offer more vacation time, a telecommute option and four-day workweeks to try to lure top talent. However, many professionals say striking the right balance between personal and professional fulfillment is not that easy.

Accounting Today interviewed 100 of the most influential people in the accounting industry in 2015. One of the questions asked of these vaunted professionals was "Have you achieved work-life balance?" The answers came back with brief, direct and verbose explanations.

One CEO of an accounting firm believes work-life balance depends on your perspective. The key revolves around prioritizing your time from day to day. One day, work may come first. The next day, you could find yourself focusing more on the children. Achieving personal and professional success changes over time.

Another CEO talks about how the term work-life balance seems like a misnomer. Instead, the phrase should read "work-life integration" since neither work nor life diametrically oppose each other. Integrating both aspects properly creates a harmonious balance based on making time for things. If you want to have a family, make the time. If you love sports, follow your passion and take time off for a golf trip every spring.

One trick to planning a work-life balance involves knowing what the immediate future holds. For example, one accountant knew the birth of his grandchild should occur around a particular date. Therefore, he curbed business travel to be close to his children to support his family. Managers at accounting companies should realize that sometimes people just need time off to be with family, so supervisors can make allowances within reason and within company policy.

A simple tip to get more time in one aspect of life or another revolves around the word "no." You don't have to say "yes" to everything, even though an affirmative means you come across as a "yes man." It's okay to say "no" and spend some time away from the office. Set healthy boundaries with co-workers, supervisors and bosses. Try not to rush into situations with an automatic answer, and instead try to reason out the best action to take. Perhaps if you say yes to a huge project with a big client, you could bring a few assistants on board. Attempt to take a lesser role so the team still feels your presence on the work, but not so much that you feel overburdened. If you already have your foot on the gas, try not to accelerate the pace or could face burnout at the office.

Wade through the ups and downs of an accounting career to find your work-life balance. Expect the first four months of each year to represent the busiest times of each tax cycle. Take two weeks off every summer to have a great vacation with the kids, and get ready for a fantastic Christmas.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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