Study Shows Work-Life Balance Makes Auditors Better at Job, But Not Much Happier

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 16, 2021
A recent study has found that auditors getting enough rest and relaxation away from the office leads to better quality work but doesn't make auditors any happier at their jobs than they would normally be, Accounting Today reported

The researchers used statistical modeling to examine 22,376 client years, 4,788 unique clients, and 64 unique auditors. The study found that when auditors have a better work-life balance, there is a lower incidence of financial restatements for clients, a greater  propensity to issue a going concern opinion for a distressed client, and a higher likelihood of detecting and preventing ‘"within GAAP" accrual manipulation to meet earnings benchmarks. The researchers said these auditors are less likely to experience impaired judgment from working long hours, and thus are able to better spot attempts to manipulate financial data. 

However, they also found that work-life balance didn't really affect auditors' job satisfaction. Based on an analysis of Glassdoor data, what was more important as to whether they liked their jobs was “career opportunities,” “senior management [tone at the top],” and “culture and values.” In fact, work-life balance was rated among the lowest priority factors when determining actual job satisfaction. Further, the researchers found that job satisfaction didn't really seem to affect audit quality in the same way that work-life balance did. 

"These results suggest that although accounting firms may keep their employees highly satisfied by offering greater career opportunities, even highly satisfied employees cannot produce high-quality outputs when they are overworked," said the study. 

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