Working in finance can be stressful. Recent research shows that four out of five Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) say stress levels in their job are rising.
Research by recruitment company Robert Half found that the majority of CFOs see their jobs becoming more stressful in the next 24 months and key factors include larger workloads, higher business expectations and staffing shortages. The survey suggests that pressures are increasing on CFOs across the globe.
Rising stress levels
There’s no denying it, CFOs are some of the most stressed executives in any organisation. They make sure that the company’s finances are at the optimal level, financial risks and controls are handled properly, and that the books are always kept in check. CFOs also play managerial roles in the finance department as they oversee their performance and mentor future finance leaders. Finally, they are also expected to contribute to the overall business strategy and leadership.
British CFOs predict an increased level of stress
With so many responsibilities on their plate, it is understandable that CFO stress levels are rising.
A study conducted by the American Institute for Stress reveals that unmanageable workload contributes to 46% of the main causes of workplace stress. As a CFO, it is normal to have a lot of things on your plate, but these should always be manageable. If you find yourself always lacking time for everything else other than work, then you have a problem.
To address work overload, you should evenly delegate whatever tasks you can to your team, automate routine and manual tasks. A modern Cloud-based FP&A system such as Adaptive Insights is a great way to lighten up your load, and that of your team, so you can focus in addressing more complex issues that need your full attention.
The worst thing about stress is that it can distract us from reaching the goals that we set out to accomplish. In the heat of the moment, even the most experienced professionals can forget about the necessary steps in hitting their targets, and even the most basic tasks they have in hand.
Set realistic goals with your team and make sure that everyone is on the same page. These keep you aligned with your team in every step of the way, and provide checks to ensure that tasks are handled properly.
As much as you can, end your meetings with clear and finalised decisions and points-of-action. Doubts and issues should be addressed during the meetings.
Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new software platform or a new sport, helps build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.
"By continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person,"
"It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching television."
Reading is is a great way to learn and is and is proven to relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles. A study by the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. Why not take a look at our must read books for CFO's.
Don't rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping as in the long term, these crutches won't solve your problems. They'll just create new ones."It's like putting your head in the sand," says Professor Cooper. "It might provide temporary relief, but it won't make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress."
It's proven that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient to stress.
"Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective," says Professor Cooper. "The more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel."
If you don't have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues.
A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things differently.
"If you don't connect with people, you won't have support to turn to when you need help,"
The activities we do with friends help us relax. We often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever. Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems," says Professor Cooper.
By making changes inside and outside of work stress can be kept under control, ensuring that mental and physical health remain as high as possible.
The key to reducing stress levels is however by understanding the root cause and creating an action plan for change.
A modern Cloud-based FP&A system such as Adaptive Insights is a great way to lighten up your load, and that of your team, so you can focus on addressing more complex issues that need your full attention. If you don't think you can afford the time to deliver to implement a new system, then think again. Formulate are Adaptive Insights Platinum Solution providers - meaning we do all the lifting and hard work for you behind the scenes with our team of accountancy qualified consultants.
Find out more about Gartner leading Adaptive Insights and how it has revolutionised finance departments and transformed the way organisations, forecast, report and plan, all while saying goodbye to Excel hell.
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