The Introvert’s Guide To a Successful Accounting Career

In a world that tends to celebrate extroverts, I think it’s important to understand what it means to be an introvert in a profession like accounting.  While I’ve been an introvert my whole life, it’s only been in the past 5 years or so that I truly recognized and allowed my introverted nature to be empowering rather than something I felt ashamed about.

Here’s the thing – as the demand for skilled accountants continues to grow, individuals from various backgrounds are stepping into the field, each with their unique strengths and qualities. One often overlooked group bringing invaluable skills to the table is introverts.

Contrary to the common belief that success in the business world hinges on extroverted traits like charisma and assertiveness, as introverts we possess a distinct set of strengths that are not only beneficial but crucial in the accounting profession. 

Today I want to explore how introverts can not only survive but thrive in a successful accounting career.

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s get clear about what introversion really means. Introverts are individuals who draw energy from within, finding solace and recharging in quieter, less stimulating environments. 

We are often known for our thoughtfulness, analytical skills, and deep focus. However, in a society that often values extroverted qualities, introverts often feel we need to conform to certain expectations to excel in our careers.

Today I want to challenge that notion. I want to celebrate and harness the unique strengths that introverts bring to the accounting table. 

Whether you’re a student contemplating a career in accounting, a recent graduate entering the workforce, or a seasoned professional looking to optimize your approach, this episode is designed to be a roadmap to success tailored to the introverted individual.

The truth is that accounting is not just about balancing debits and credits; it’s about understanding the language of business, identifying patterns, and ensuring financial stability. These are skills that align seamlessly with the introverted mindset. 

I want to explore the traits that make introverts excel in analytical and detail-oriented tasks, helping us to not only succeed but thrive in roles that suit our natural inclinations.

I’m going to address the misconceptions surrounding introversion in the workplace, emphasizing that being introverted is not a limitation but a unique strength. I’m going to provide practical advice to empower you to build a successful and fulfilling career in accounting.

No matter where you lie on the introvert scale, I want to help you embrace your introverted strengths, unlock your full potential, and carve out a rewarding path in the accounting world.

Understanding Introversion In The Accounting Profession

Let’s talk about what introversion really means and how it fits seamlessly into the accounting landscape.

First, let’s discuss the characteristics of introverts and our strengths.  There have been many books and TED Talks about introverts lately, helping to not only debunk the typical misunderstanding about introverts, but also to help introverts stop feeling bad about their innate qualities.

In fact, many of the experts say that introverts are like the quiet superheroes of the workplace. We are often deep thinkers, preferring meaningful conversations to small talk. 

Unlike extroverts who gain energy from social interactions, introverts recharge by spending time alone, allowing us to focus and bring a unique perspective to our work.

In the accounting world, where attention to detail is key, introverts shine. Our natural ability to concentrate on tasks for extended periods makes us well-suited for the meticulous work of analyzing financial data and ensuring accuracy. 

Introverts often have a knack for seeing patterns and identifying discrepancies that others might overlook, making us invaluable in roles requiring precision and attention.

One common misconception is that introverts lack social skills. In reality, introverts excel in one-on-one interactions and often form deeper, more meaningful connections. 

While we may not be the loudest voices in the room, our thoughtful contributions and active listening make us effective communicators.

Since accounting isn’t just about numbers, it also involves working with people, introverts bring a collaborative approach to teamwork, offering insightful contributions that contribute to the overall success of the team. By understanding and appreciating our unique social skills, introverts can navigate the collaborative aspects of accounting with confidence.

It’s also important to understand that in the fast-paced world of finance, where decisions can have far-reaching consequences, the ability to think critically and remain composed under pressure is vital. Introverts, known for our calm and composed demeanor, thrive in such environments. 

Our capacity to approach challenges with a thoughtful mindset and make well-considered decisions positions us as valuable assets in accounting roles.

Hopefully, by recognizing and embracing these introverted qualities, we can leverage our inherent strengths to carve out successful careers in accounting.

Navigating The Workplace As An Introvert

Entering the workplace can be an exciting yet challenging experience, especially for introverts. But thankfully, with a few mindful approaches, we can thrive in the professional world and find the right work environment.

The first thing to consider is company culture.  You’ll want to look for workplaces that value individual contributions and diverse working styles. 

Companies with a collaborative yet respectful atmosphere can provide an ideal setting for introverts to shine. Research prospective employers to identify those with a culture that aligns with your preferences.

The next thing is focusing on the importance of work-life balance.  Introverts often need time to recharge after social interactions, with work being one of the most social interactions we have on a weekly basis. 

That’s why it’s important to prioritize employers who understand and promote a healthy work-life balance. A supportive work environment that respects personal time contributes to increased job satisfaction and overall well-being.

The next consideration is effective communication for introverts.  You’ll want to leverage your natural strength in written communication. 

Craft well-thought-out emails and documents, showcasing your attention to detail and clarity. In meetings, consider summarizing your thoughts in writing before sharing them verbally to ensure precision.

The next thing is strategies for successful team collaboration.  Embrace collaborative opportunities by focusing on smaller team settings. 

Offer your insights thoughtfully and listen actively to others. Use your analytical skills to contribute valuable perspectives, demonstrating the power of introverted qualities in teamwork.

Begin to pay attention to what you need to navigate the workplace and find the right balance that allows you to thrive. By understanding the importance of a compatible work environment and honing effective communication strategies, you can navigate professional settings with confidence. 

Excelling In Introvert-Friendly Roles

As introverts, we possess unique strengths that align seamlessly with specific roles within the accounting field. Let’s explore how introverts can not only excel but truly thrive in positions that complement our natural inclinations.

Since we often shine in roles that require a keen eye for detail and analytical thinking, you may want to consider positions that involve data analysis, auditing, or financial reporting. These roles allow introverts to leverage our natural ability to focus on intricate tasks and ensure accuracy.

You might also want to explore career paths that provide a balance between independent work and collaborative efforts. Roles such as forensic accounting, tax analysis, or financial planning often allow introverts to work autonomously while still contributing to the overall success of the team or organization.

When I started at Deloitte 30+ years ago, I was the only candidate out of 12 that chose to go into the Tax Department.  I didn’t specifically choose tax because I’m an introvert, it just wound up being a much better choice for me and my introvert personality, to be able to be in the office more than going out to see clients one on one.

You might want to capitalize on your ability to immerse yourself in tasks for extended periods. Introverts often excel in roles that require deep focus and concentration. 

This focused approach can lead to more accurate and thorough outcomes, contributing to success in specialized areas of accounting.  Because of my ability to focus so well, it has helped my time management skills immensely.

Another important thing to consider is that while excelling in individual tasks, introverts can also play a crucial role in team dynamics. You see things differently than extroverts so use your thoughtful and considered approach to contribute valuable insights during team discussions.

Introverts’ ability to see the bigger picture while paying attention to details can enhance the overall effectiveness of collaborative efforts.

Thankfully, by recognizing and embracing roles that play to our strengths, we can carve out fulfilling and successful careers in accounting. 

Professional Development For Introverts

Now that we’ve identified roles where introverts can thrive, let’s explore the strategies for continuous professional development. This involves staying updated on industry trends, acquiring new skills, and seeking mentorship opportunities tailored to the introverted approach.

You’re going to want to leverage your preference for focused, independent learning through online courses. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning offer a plethora of courses on accounting, finance, and related skills. 

Choose courses that align with your career goals, allowing you to enhance your expertise at your own pace.

Also, look for workshops and conferences that offer a balance between learning and reflection. Smaller, more intimate events may suit introverted preferences, providing opportunities to absorb information deeply and engage in meaningful discussions. 

These settings can foster connections with like-minded professionals.

Additionally, recognize the value of mentorship or coaching in your professional journey. Seek mentors or coaches who appreciate and understand introverted qualities. 

Building a genuine connection with a mentor or coach can provide valuable insights, guidance, and a supportive network.

Identify mentors or coaches who recognize the strengths of introversion, such as analytical thinking, attention to detail, and a thoughtful approach to problem-solving. We can guide you in navigating the professional landscape while embracing and amplifying your unique attributes.

As we all know, professional development is an ongoing journey for accountants, and introverts can tailor our approach to align with our learning style and preferences. By embracing online learning opportunities and seeking mentorship or coaching from individuals who appreciate introverted qualities, you can continually enhance your skills and advance in your accounting career. 

Becoming a Smarter Accountant: Overcoming Introvert Challenges

While introverts bring valuable qualities to the table, it’s essential to acknowledge and address the challenges that may arise in the workplace. Let’s explore common obstacles introverts may face and strategies for overcoming them.

The first challenge is networking events and social functions.  Large networking events and social gatherings can be overwhelming for introverts. 

Instead of avoiding them entirely, set realistic goals. Focus on having a few meaningful conversations rather than trying to meet everyone. Seek out smaller, more intimate networking opportunities that align with your comfort level.

The second challenge is advocating for yourself in the workplace.  As introverts, we sometimes hesitate to speak up about our achievements. 

It’s crucial to recognize and communicate your contributions. Develop a habit of sharing your accomplishments with supervisors and colleagues in a humble yet assertive manner. Showcase the value you bring to the team through your unique strengths.

The third challenge is developing coping mechanisms and resilience.  You need to learn to identify stress triggers and develop personalized coping mechanisms. 

Whether it’s taking short breaks, practicing mindfulness, or finding a quiet space to recharge, having strategies in place can help us navigate challenging situations more effectively is important.

For me, that means working from home as much as possible.  Not only do I get more done in less time when I work from home, but I also have control over my energy and workspace, allowing me to focus at a higher level than if I was in the office.

No matter what challenges you face as an introvert, you need to work on building resilience through dealing with challenges incrementally.  That means gradually exposing yourself to challenging situations. 

Start with smaller, manageable tasks that push your boundaries slightly. As you build confidence and resilience, take on more significant challenges. This incremental approach allows introverts to grow without feeling overwhelmed.

As we all know, overcoming challenges is a natural part of any career journey. By acknowledging these obstacles and implementing tailored strategies, we can navigate the workplace with confidence. 

Becoming a Smarter Accountant means learning what works best for you because the better you feel, the more effective and productive you can be.  It truly is a win/win situation when you allow your introvert power to shine through.

For far too long I denied my introverted personality, but now I’m gradually beginning to celebrate it.  I can see where my strengths lie and leverage them.

I am no longer ashamed to say that I’m an introvert and let others know what I need in order to be at my best.  My suggestion – come out of the shadows, own your introvert nature, celebrate it, and manage your career and your life around what works best for you.

Well, that’s what I have for you.  Thank you for joining me as I shared the introvert’s guide to a successful accounting career.  I hope you’ve gained valuable insights and practical tools.

If you are struggling with any aspect of being an accountant, you can simply go to and book a free session with me.

I’ll explain The Smarter Accountant 6-week Program and how you can apply it to whatever you’re struggling with.

That’s what I have for you, but make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.

Make sure you go to and take The Smarter Accountant Quiz. You’re going to want to know if you’ve been underutilizing your accountant brain so that you have a starting point for becoming a Smarter Accountant..

Also, I would appreciate it if you could get the word out to other accountants about this podcast.  The more accountants find out about it, the more we can begin to change the narrative in the accounting profession.

The truth is that you’re already smart, but this podcast will show you how to be smarter.

3 Skills That Will Make You a Better Accountant

Okay, so I want you to imagine that it’s just you and me here, catching up and seeing what’s been happening.  How’s it going on your end? Are you finding fulfillment in your career, or is the constant pressure making it difficult to appreciate your achievements? 

Have you been pushing harder but feeling less confident in your abilities, productivity, time management, or decision-making?

I get that some days are great, while others seem like an uphill battle. Between you and me, let’s be honest about your stress level – has anxiety been a frequent companion, and is it affecting your focus? 

What about your analytical skills? Have you noticed any slip-ups or missed opportunities lately?

Are you already dreading tax season or busier times of the year?  Are you secretly considering doing something else, other than accounting?

Believe me, I get it.  I’ve been in the accounting profession for over 30 years.  I know how demanding it can be.

I know the highs of success and the lows of self-doubt. As accountants, we often grapple with the delicate balance of professional excellence and personal well-being. It’s a common thread that ties us all together.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, the challenges of being an accountant are real, and they deserve an open dialogue. While there are countless resources on general career advice, I’m here to address 3 particular skills that will help make you a better accountant.  

I’m here to share insights and strategies that resonate with all accountants, recognizing the shared experiences that connect us.

What I really want you to know is that you are valuable and the profession needs you!  So let me help you make things a little easier and suggest some things you could improve upon so that you can not only be a better accountant, but have an easier accounting career.

Skill #1 – Improve Your Time Management And Productivity

As we all know, in the world of accounting, being organized and getting things done efficiently is crucial.  But there’s often a tricky roadblock that gets in the way of our time management and productivity – stress. 

While stress is common for accountants, it makes it harder for us to manage our time well and do our work efficiently.

I want you to start thinking of stress as an unwelcome guest at a well-planned party. It doesn’t just spoil the fun; it messes with how well your brain works. 

Stress and trying to get things done are like trying to mix oil and water – they just don’t go together. Unfortunately, when stress shows up, your brain, instead of calmly handling tasks, turns into a busy and confused orchestra trying to play a tune.

When stress goes unmanaged it can cause anxiety and make your ability to manage your time even more difficult.  It’s like putting the parking brake on your car and trying to drive 100 mph.

For example, have you ever felt it’s tough to focus when you’re anxious? That’s because your brain is wired to be extra alert when it senses a potential problem – even though your work isn’t a real danger.

Before I became a Smarter Accountant, stress was my constant companion, it made me slower, more prone to mistakes, and even put my job at risk. The game-changer was learning how to manage stress – a skill that not only boosted my productivity but also made mistakes a rare thing.

Not only do I get more done in less time, but I’ve also learned how to create more time for the things and the people I love.

This brings us to why coaching in mind management is so important. Think of it as your guide to cleaning up the mental clutter. 

By teaching your brain to reduce and even eliminate stress, you can take back control over your time and get things done more smoothly.

The truth is that stress might be making you feel busier than you really are. The skill of managing your mind is like having a special tool to turn chaos into a well-organized plan. 

Skill #2 – Improve Your Analytical Skills

Did you know that you are actually smarter than you think you are?  The truth is that your level of stress and overwhelm has just overridden your higher brain’s intelligence.  

I’ve shared this on the podcast before, but the simplest way to understand your brain is that you have two main systems going on – the lower, primitive brain and the higher, executive functioning brain.  Thankfully, when you learn how to manage your brain, you actually become a better thinker.

This leads me to the second skill that will make you a better accountant – sharpening your analytical skills.

We’ve all heard the saying “work smarter, not harder,” but how many of us really know what that means?  For me, it means learning how to stop underutilizing your accountant brain.

If you haven’t taken The Smarter Accountant Quiz yet to see how much you are underutilizing your accountant brain, you can take this simple quiz at

Here’s the thing – to improve your analytical skills you need to get a better handle on stress.  When stress enters the scene, it’s as if your ability to think analytically is thrown out the window.

When you are feeling stressed or anxious you don’t think clearly and your brain has difficulty dealing with complex problems as well as seeing solutions clearly.

Another issue is that when you are anxious you are much more likely to make a mistake or overlook something that would have been obvious if you were managing your brain proactively.

Let me share a story that showcases this issue.  A few months ago I had a deadline looming over me and wasn’t managing my mind the way I should have.  I was getting caught up in my boss’ stress about the project and not choosing thoughts that made me feel calm and focused. 

As I was completing my work-papers, I couldn’t find my stapler.  I had just had it.  I looked all over my desk and couldn’t find it.  I was getting super frustrated (on top of the stress I was already experiencing) and almost took a stapler off someone else’s desk.

Then I realized that my brain was probably reacting to my feelings of frustration and stress and that my ability to think and see things clearly was being warped.  I asked a coworker to come into my office and see if she could find the stapler for me.  She walked in and pointed to it, front and center on my desk!

How was that possible?!!  My brain’s ability to see what was right in front of me was reduced because of my lower, primitive brain’s reaction to my stress.  If that could happen with a stapler, just imagine how it could happen with both simple and complex accounting problems.

By learning how to manage your brain, you’re not just finding lost staplers more easily; you’re also improving your analytical skills and becoming a Smarter Accountant in the process.

Skill #3 – Improve Your Confidence

If you struggle with confidence, you’re not alone.  Even though, as accountants, we’re smart people doing smart things, that doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with self-confidence.

Here’s what I most want you to understand – the feeling of self-confidence does not come from external accomplishments.  If it did, then everyone who passed the CPA exam or did well in school would be immune from struggling with self-confidence.

Contrary to the belief that achievements like promotions or securing significant clients must precede confidence, it’s essential to understand that confidence is a feeling that only comes from your thoughts.  

This understanding is not just good news; it’s empowering news. It means that the feeling of self-confidence doesn’t need to wait for a particular outcome; it can be created deliberately. 

How is it possible to feel confident on purpose?  Because your thoughts create your feelings and you are 100% in control of your thoughts when you learn how to think more intentionally.

By being more intentional with your thoughts, you can create the feeling of confidence no matter what the situation is.  And since your feelings fuel your actions, when you feel confident you set the stage for actions that can propel you towards promotions, successful client acquisitions, or any other professional goals you have. 

The key lies in the intentional management of your brain, recognizing that effective actions only come from intentional feelings.  

Building a reputation characterized by confidence, capability, and trustworthiness will make you a better accountant.  In fact, the importance of confidence extends beyond personal gain; it acts as a catalyst for career advancement, whether you opt to continue your journey with your current employer or explore new opportunities elsewhere.

Before learning to become a Smarter Accountant, I often tied my confidence to external results. If a long-anticipated raise didn’t happen or the bathroom scale refused to budge in the desired direction, my confidence took a noticeable hit. 

Thankfully, once I uncovered the secret to intentionally creating the feeling of confidence, everything shifted. This newfound understanding became the impetus for writing my book “The Smarter Accountant” and starting my own coaching business.  

In order to feel confident on purpose I chose thoughts like:

You’ve got this

You are amazing at what you do

You can do hard things

You are incredibly smart and capable

Beginning to choose thoughts that created the feeling of confidence on purpose was a game-changer for me and it can be for you as well.

This week, think of a time when you felt confident in the past.  What were you thinking that was creating that feeling of confidence?  It wasn’t because of some accomplishment or award; you only felt confident because of a thought.  What were some of those possible thoughts?

This exercise serves as a meaningful starting point to reshape your mindset and pave the way for a more confident and self-assured version of yourself.

When you can learn to create confidence on purpose by choosing thoughts that create that feeling, you will be amazed at how much better you feel about your ability as an accountant and about life in general.  

Becoming a Smarter Accountant – Putting The 3 Skills Into Practice

As I wrap up our exploration of the three skills that will make you a better accountant – improving time management and productivity, enhancing analytical skills, and boosting confidence – it’s time to dive into how to implement these skills in your daily professional life.

#1 – Improving Your Time Management and Productivity:  Implementing effective time management involves a conscious effort to manage stress and foster a proactive mindset. 

Consider adopting the following practices:

Mindful Planning: Prioritize tasks and create a realistic schedule to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Break down complex projects into smaller, manageable steps.

For example, when facing a significant financial audit, engage in mindful planning by breaking down the process into phases—like data gathering and risk assessment. Allocate realistic timeframes, create checklists, and transform the audit from an overwhelming task into a series of manageable steps, fostering both clarity and efficiency.

Create Dedicated Focus Time: Our ability to focus is one of our super powers so make sure that you’re calendaring dedicated focus time where nothing else is allowed to distract you.  

For example, designate a specific hour each morning for in-depth data analysis during which emails and meetings are temporarily put on hold. This intentional focus time enhances your analytical abilities and ensures that critical tasks receive the concentrated attention they deserve, maximizing both productivity and quality of work.

Thought Management: What no one else is teaching accountants about better time management is that mind management is the secret to time management.  You must manage your mind in order to reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm.  

For example, instead of fixating on the overwhelming volume of tasks, consciously redirect your thoughts by focusing on your proven ability to tackle challenges. By actively shaping a positive mindset, you’ll find that stress diminishes, allowing for a clearer perspective and more effective time management.

#2 – Enhancing Your Analytical Skills:  Improving your analytical skills is about sharpening your problem-solving abilities. 

Here are practical steps to implement this skill:

Clear Thinking Strategies: When faced with a problem, take a moment to clear your mind. Break down the problem into smaller components and tackle each part systematically.

For example, if confronted with a complex financial discrepancy, break it down into distinct elements—such as reviewing transactions, cross-checking records, and verifying calculations. By systematically addressing each component, you not only simplify the problem but also enhance your ability to identify and resolve intricate issues with clarity and precision. 

Stapler Moments: Recall instances where stress clouded your judgment, like the stapler incident I shared. Use this awareness to recognize when stress may be impacting your analytical abilities.

For example, imagine you’re working on a report, and stress starts building up. Instead of getting frustrated, take a moment to breathe.  Use the feeling of stress as a signal to pause, clear your mind, and approach the task with renewed focus, catching stress before it hinders your ability to think clearly.

Mind Management: Learn the skill of mind management to decrease stress and enhance clarity. Learn how to address your brain’s natural negativity bias.  

For example, let’s say you’re feeling overwhelmed by a big project. Instead of letting negative thoughts take over, practice shifting your focus to what you can accomplish step by step. By actively managing your mind and redirecting negative thinking, you’ll find that stress decreases, making it easier to tackle tasks with a clearer and more positive mindset.

#3 – Boosting Your Confidence:  There’s no getting around the fact that confidence is a cornerstone of success. 

Here’s how you can actively cultivate and implement confidence in your professional journey:

Intentional Thought Selection: Consciously choose thoughts that promote confidence. Create a list of empowering thoughts, such as “I am capable” or “I excel at what I do,” and revisit them regularly.

For example, when facing a challenging task, replace self-doubt with thoughts like “I can handle this” or “I’ve successfully overcome challenges before.” Revisiting these empowering thoughts regularly strengthens your confidence muscle, creating a positive mindset.

Past Confidence Reflection: Reflect on past instances where you felt confident. Identify the thoughts that fueled that confidence and incorporate them into your regular thought patterns.

For example, recall a time when you aced a difficult project or received positive feedback. Remind yourself of the thoughts that fueled your confidence during those moments, such as “I am capable” or “I have the skills needed.” By incorporating these thoughts into your daily thinking, you build a foundation of confidence rooted in your past successes.

Positive Feedback Loop: Recognize that confidence breeds positive actions. As you intentionally cultivate confidence, observe how it influences your actions and, subsequently, your career goals.

For example, imagine setting a goal to lead a team project. By intentionally fostering confidence through choosing thoughts that create the feeling of confidence, you’ll likely find yourself taking initiative, collaborating effectively, and achieving successful project outcomes. Recognizing this positive feedback loop reinforces the connection between confidence and accomplishment.

As you integrate these practices into your daily routine, remember that growth is a continuous process. Embrace the journey of becoming a Smarter Accountant.

The more you implement these strategies, the more they will become like second nature.  

Becoming a Smarter Accountant means incorporating these three skills in a way that propels you toward a successful and fulfilling career in accounting. 

Well, that’s what I have for you.  Thank you for joining me as I shared the three skills that will make you a better accountant.  I hope you’ve gained valuable insights and practical tips.

If you are struggling with any aspect of being an accountant, you can simply go to and book a free session with me.

I’ll explain The Smarter Accountant 6-week Program and how you can apply it to whatever you’re struggling with.

So make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.

Make sure you go to and take The Smarter Accountant Quiz. You’re going to want to know if you’ve been underutilizing your accountant brain so that you have a starting point for becoming a Smarter Accountant..

Also, I would appreciate it if you could get the word out to other accountants about this podcast.  The more accountants find out about it, the more we can begin to change the narrative in the accounting profession.

The truth is that you’re already smart, but this podcast will show you how to be smarter.

Accountants and Anxiety

While stress and overwhelm have always been the norm in the accounting profession, I think it’s important to address this issue from a fresh perspective.

First, consider the following questions:

Have you ever felt overwhelmed or anxious in your role as an accountant?

Have you or your colleagues ever felt pressure to conform to certain expectations or norms within the accounting profession?

How do you personally manage stress and anxiety in your professional and personal life?

The truth is that no matter how much we’ve normalized stress and anxiety in our lives, mental health is a vital aspect of our well-being, and in the accounting profession, it’s a challenge that needs attention.

Each October, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Health, takes the lead in shedding light on mental health issues. Its mission is spreading awareness, fighting stigmas, and providing support across the nation.

So why does this matter for accountants?  Because mental health issues are more common than we might think, especially among accountants. 

Let’s face it, accounting is a profession with unique pressures, and I’m here to explore the impact these challenges have on our mental well-being.

In fact, In one study, 30.4% of accountants admitted to suffering from mental health issues and 51% admitted that depression and anxiety leaves them dreading going to work.  When you add the anxiety accountants feel in our professional life to the pressure we feel in our personal lives, you have a recipe for disaster for accountants that is often suffered in silence.

While studies like this are important for shining a light on issues, it’s also important to point out that the 30.4% of the accountants were willing to admit they suffer from mental health issues.  I’m going to bet there was a high percentage that either didn’t want to admit it, or had normalized or justified it so often that it doesn’t seem like a problem.

When you add the pressure of the work we do as accountants to the natural skepticism and resistance that we have towards change, it’s no wonder we’re having so many issues.

As we navigate through this discussion, keep in mind the efforts of organizations like NAMI to address mental health concerns and support those going through them. Together, let’s uncover the layers of accountants and anxiety, understanding the intricacies that make it a prevalent topic in the accounting profession.

Mental health is a topic gaining recognition globally, and NAMI’s October initiatives are crucial in breaking down barriers and fostering a supportive environment. The accounting profession, despite its often-stoic image, is not immune to the challenges of mental health.

This episode aims to peel back the layers of why anxiety is a prevalent concern among accountants. From demanding work schedules to societal expectations, I’ll be exploring the factors contributing to this issue. 

By shedding light on these challenges, I hope to contribute to a more open conversation about mental health in the accounting profession.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is like a built-in alarm system in your body that’s designed to keep you safe. It’s a natural response, just like feeling scared when you sense danger. 

In simple terms, your brain is trying to protect you, and anxiety is its way of saying, “Hey, be alert, something might be up!”

But what is it that sets off this alarm for accountants? It turns out, the world of accounting has its own set of stress triggers. 

It could be a looming tax deadline, a surprise audit, or even a delayed train. These situations make your brain react as if you’re facing a real threat, similar to how our ancestors felt a saber toothed tiger was waiting outside their cave to pounce on them.  

But here’s where it gets interesting. The way we are trained as accountants plays a role in how our anxiety levels can shoot up. Think of it like this: from the time you started learning accounting, your brain has been wired to think in very specific ways. 

These thinking patterns, while great for solving accounting problems, can sometimes make your brain see problems where there aren’t any. The constant exposure to problem-solving situations in the accounting profession, combined with these thinking habits, can make anxiety a regular companion for accountants.

That’s why there’s no shame in the fact that you experience anxiety as an accountant; over time, your brain has become wired for it.

The Overworking Dilemma

So how do accountants tend to deal with anxiety?  Ironically, we often find ourselves caught in a cycle of working extra hours, as if we’re using work as a way to cope with stress. 

Overworking to deal with anxiety is like self-medicating – we believe the idea that putting in more hours somehow helps manage the anxiety that comes with the demands of the accounting profession. 

The catch-22 is that when the strategy to combat anxiety involves relentless overworking, it often results in burnout. Burnout is like hitting a wall – you find yourself physically and mentally drained, with the very work you thought was a solution becoming a source of exhaustion. 

This unhealthy relationship can silently creep into your professional life, affecting your overall well-being in ways that might not be immediately apparent.

The issue for a lot of us is that the accounting environment is like a pressure cooker. There’s this constant external pressure to excel – to do more, learn more, and be more. 

It’s not just about balancing debits and credits; it’s about meeting expectations, adhering to deadlines, and keeping pace with the ever-evolving landscape of rules and regulations. 

This relentless atmosphere can turn the workplace into a hotbed for stress. The external pressures, combined with the innate complexity of accounting tasks, can lead to burnout and exacerbate anxiety levels.


Fitting Into The “Accountant Mold”

Now let’s talk about the concept of the “accountant mold.” It’s essentially an invisible set of expectations and norms that society, and sometimes even ourselves, place on accountants.

This pressure to conform to a specific image can give rise to imposter syndrome. It’s that lingering feeling that, despite external recognition, you might not be as competent as others perceive you to be. 

Trying to fit into this predefined mold can lead to self-doubt, creating a sense of being an imposter in your own professional life, adding another layer of anxiety.

For example, you might downplay your achievements.  Let’s say you successfully completed a challenging project at work, but instead of celebrating your accomplishment, you attribute it to luck or external factors, dismissing your own competence.

Or maybe you focus excessively on errors or perceived shortcomings, often overlooking the numerous successes you’ve achieved in your career.  I’ve seen this time and time again with my coaching clients, especially around year-end review time.

Another issue that is common among accountants and can create a lot of anxiety is catastrophizing.  Catastrophizing involves blowing things out of proportion, transforming simple situations into major disasters. 

With catastrophizing, your brain automatically leads to negative conclusions.  For example, you might leap to conclusions such as the client being dissatisfied, the possibility of them terminating your services, and the looming blame from your boss. 

It’s a mental magnification of issues that can needlessly intensify anxiety.

Here’s the thing – we are taught to be on the perpetual search for inconsistencies and problems, therefore, seeing problems becomes second nature for us. Unfortunately, this continuous problem-solving, while crucial for the job, also has a tendency to spill over into our personal life, making it challenging to switch off from the analytical mindset. 

The consequence? Elevated stress levels, as the brain is persistently engaged in identifying and addressing potential problems, whether they are genuine concerns or mere figments of imagination. 

Being surrounded by other people’s problems trains your accountant’s brain to actually see more problems.  Since your brain is already a problem-solving machine, when you add that capability to the accounting profession’s pressures and expectations it’s no wonder over 50% of accountants feel anxiety and overwhelm.

The good news is that you can use your accountant’s brain and its critical abilities to actually reverse your anxiety and feel better fast.

Becoming a Smarter Accountant: Practical Steps for Anxiety Management

The first step for managing anxiety is you have to become aware that you’re feeling anxiety.  It might sound too simple, but it’s incredibly important.

You want to begin to imagine anxiety as a little signal your body sends when it senses something isn’t quite right. It’s like a gentle nudge saying, “Hey, pay attention to this!” 

The first crucial step in managing anxiety is to become aware of its presence. It’s like turning on the lights in a dark room – by acknowledging and understanding that anxiety is there, you set the stage for change. 

Without this awareness, it’s challenging to navigate the maze of emotions. Becoming aware is like creating a roadmap; you see what’s going on and can start to figure out where to go next.

The second step is to normalize the feeling of anxiety and allow it.  Don’t make yourself wrong for feeling it; it’s part of the human experience. 

Rather than viewing anxiety as an unwelcome intruder, consider it as a friend offering a helpful signal. By normalizing anxiety, you’re acknowledging that it’s okay to feel this way. 

It’s similar to accepting that, just like hunger or tiredness, anxiety is a regular part of life. This shift in perspective takes some of the power away from anxiety, transforming it from a enemy into a manageable companion.

The third step is to manage your mind by putting pen to paper.  Writing down your thoughts is like putting order to chaos. 

It’s the process of externalizing what’s happening inside your mind, making it tangible and more manageable. By physically writing, you shift your focus from the abstract realm of thoughts to the concrete act of putting them on paper. 

This act of mind management allows you to step back, observe your thoughts, and gain valuable insights. It’s like taking control of the narrative of your own mind.

And the last step is to take a look at each of the thoughts you’ve written down that are creating the feeling of anxiety and you want to ask yourself a powerful question “Can the opposite of this thought be as true or truer?”

For example, let’s say one of the thoughts you wrote down is “I’m never going to get this finished on time.”  When you think that thought you naturally feel anxiety.

Now I want you to question that thought and see if the opposite is true or truer.

Instead of “I’m never going to get this finished on time” the opposite thought could be “I can get this finished on time” or “It’s possible that I can get this finished on time.”  Now how do those thoughts make you feel?

I’m going to bet you feel less anxious because it’s only ever your thoughts that create your feelings.  If a Smarter Accountant wants to feel less anxiety, they know they have to create more awareness of what their negatively biased brain is thinking and challenge it with the opposite thought.

Becoming a Smarter Accountant means becoming aware, normalizing, engaging in the act of writing, and then shifting your thoughts to manage anxiety. These simple yet powerful steps form a mini toolkit for taking conscious control of your mind and, in turn, supporting your overall well-being. 

Well, that’s what I have for you.  Thank you for joining me as I discussed accountants and anxiety.  I hope you’ve gained valuable insights and practical tools.

If you are struggling with any aspect of being an accountant, you can simply go to and book a free session with me.

I’ll explain The Smarter Accountant 6-week Program and how you can apply it to whatever you’re struggling with.

That’s what I have for you, but make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.

Make sure you go to and take The Smarter Accountant Quiz. You’re going to want to know if you’ve been underutilizing your accountant brain so that you have a starting point for becoming a Smarter Accountant..

Also, I would appreciate it if you could get the word out to other accountants about this podcast.  The more accountants find out about it, the more we can begin to change the narrative in the accounting profession.

The truth is that you’re already smart, but this podcast will show you how to be smarter.

Overcoming Overthinking For a Smarter Accounting Career

As smart accountants doing smart things, we can unfortunately get stuck in the habit of overthinking.  When not addressed, this can quietly slip into our work and personal lives, making it harder for us to grow professionally and personally. 

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking too much about decisions, worrying about making mistakes, or feeling overwhelmed by your job, you’re not alone. In today’s episode I want to talk about how overthinking affects accountants and, more importantly, how you can stop it in order to have a more satisfying career.

Before we talk about ways to stop overthinking, I want you to consider the following:

Have you ever been stuck not knowing what to do at work, always thinking about whether you’re doing things right? 

Do you ever lose sleep worrying about what might happen if you make a mistake? 

If so, you might be dealing with overthinking. 

In accounting, it’s important to be clear about our decisions, but overthinking often makes it difficult to be as productive as we’d like to be.  It can slow us down and make our job more stressful than necessary.

For example, let’s say you have to make a decision about the direction of your career, and instead of feeling sure about it, you end up thinking too much and overanalyzing things. “What if I make the wrong decision?” “What if my decision causes problems?” 

Unfortunately, thoughts like these can become a trap, stopping you from making the choices you need to move forward in your career. It’s important to understand that overthinking doesn’t just affect your decision-making; it also makes you more stressed and less productive at work.

Whether you’ve been working in accounting for a long time or you’re just starting, I’m going to be sharing some tips that will help you feel more confident, more sure of yourself, and help you perform better in your career.

So, if you’ve ever felt like overthinking is holding you back in your accounting career, keep listening.  

The Impact of Overthinking on Your Accounting Career

Have you ever stood in front of a vending machine, staring at all the snacks, unable to decide? Overthinking at work can be a bit like that, but with bigger consequences. 

When you have to make important decisions, too many thoughts can crowd your mind. It’s like having too many options in front of you, and you’re not sure which one is the best. 

Think of your job in accounting as a well-organized desk. Now, imagine someone comes and adds more papers, pens, and folders until it becomes a mess. 

Overthinking is like that messy pile – it just makes your job harder. It often leads to unintended mistakes because you’re too busy thinking about what could go wrong that you’re not focusing in the most effective way. 

Unfortunately, overthinking can also slow you down, making tasks take longer than they should. Plus, the stress that comes with overthinking is like a heavy weight on your shoulders, making your job less enjoyable.

For example, one of my coaching clients spent hours worrying about a budget decision, only to realize later that her initial idea was the right one. Another client over thought about a client meeting so much that he stumbled through it, forgetting key details. 

One client was dealing with client communication, often overanalyzing his emails to clients. He spent hours crafting messages, concerned about how they would be received. After a while, he noticed that straightforward communication was more effective, and his initial drafts were often sufficient.

Another client was working on tax strategies for a client, and tended to overthink the possible tax implications. This led her to explore multiple scenarios, causing delays in providing recommendations. In retrospect, she realized her initial analysis covered the key aspects, and the additional details were unnecessary.

These examples show that, while overthinking happens to the best of us, by learning from their experiences, we can find ways to tackle overthinking and make our own paths smoother.


Identifying Common Signs of Overthinking 

Overthinking is a bit like a sneak attack on your mind, and recognizing the signs is the first step to stopping it. Here are some clues to watch out for:

Repetitive Thoughts: Do you find yourself going over the same problem repeatedly, like a broken record? This repetition is a sign that overthinking might be at play.

Feeling Stuck: If you feel stuck and can’t move forward with a decision, overthinking might be the culprit. It’s like your brain is hitting a pause button.

Analysis Paralysis: When decisions seem way harder than they should be, it’s a red flag. Overthinking can turn a simple choice into a complicated puzzle.

The truth is that knowing what sets off overthinking for you can help you steer clear of unnecessary stress. Here are some triggers to look out for:

Tough Projects: Challenging tasks can kickstart overthinking. When a project seems big or complicated, it’s like the starting line for overthinking to begin.

Deadlines: Feeling the pressure of a looming deadline? This stress can trigger overthinking as you worry about getting things done on time.  This is especially common during tax season.

Busy Days: When your day is packed with tasks, it’s easier for overthinking to sneak in. It’s like your brain is on overload, and overthinking becomes the default mode.

Now, we’ve talked about the clues and possible triggers, take a moment to think about your own experiences:

Doubting Your Skills: Have you ever doubted your abilities, thinking you’re not good enough? This self-doubt is a common overthinking pattern.

Decision Debates: If you’ve spent too long debating a decision, going back and forth, that’s a sign of overthinking. It’s like being stuck in a loop of uncertainty.

Decision Fatigue: This can happen when you have a lot of decisions to make but it can also happen when you’re overthinking your decisions as well.  Exhaustion could indicate overthinking.

Hopefully, by reflecting on these signs and triggers, you can start understanding when and why overthinking shows up in your work life. It’s like shining a light in a dark corner of the attic; it allows you to take control and steer your mind in a more positive direction.

Strategies to Stop Overthinking

The first strategy to consider is to try mindfulness – it’s like giving your brain a breather. 

For example, instead of drowning in thoughts about what could go wrong, focus on the present moment. Take a few deep breaths, feel the floor beneath you, and bring your attention back to the task at hand. It’s like hitting a reset button for your mind.

The second strategy involves setting realistic goals and expectations.  As accountants, we thrive on setting goals and hitting targets, but sometimes, we set the bar too high. 

When it comes to stopping overthinking, be a bit kinder to yourself. Set achievable goals and realistic expectations. 

Break down big tasks into smaller, manageable steps. It’s like solving a big math problem – breaking it down makes it less intimidating and more doable.

The third strategy is to develop a proactive problem-solving mindset.  As accountants, problem-solving is one of our superpowers. 

Instead of getting tangled in “what-ifs,” channel that energy into finding solutions. When faced with a challenge, think like a detective – gather information, weigh your options, and make a decision. 

It’s like balancing the books – finding the right numbers to make everything add up. This proactive mindset shifts your focus from overthinking to practical problem-solving.

The final strategy is utilizing time management strategies to prevent overthinking.  As we all know, time is money in the accounting realm, and managing it wisely is key. 

To prevent overthinking, organize your time effectively. Break your day into dedicated blocks for different tasks. 

Allocate specific time for decision-making and stick to it. It’s like creating a schedule for your brain – a structured plan that helps you stay on track. By managing your time well, you reduce the space for overthinking to sneak in.

Remember, these strategies aren’t just theory – they’re practical tools that you can incorporate into your daily routine. Just like balancing a budget, applying these techniques can lead to a more focused, less stressed, and ultimately, a more successful career in accounting.

Overcoming Overthinking Challenges

The first thing we need to do is learn from mistakes to ease overthinking.  In the accounting world, errors can feel like roadblocks to success. However, viewing mistakes as learning opportunities can be a powerful strategy against overthinking. 

Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, treat mistakes as valuable lessons. By doing so, you’ll turn hurdles into stepping stones, reducing the tendency to overthink and fostering a proactive problem-solving approach.

The next thing to consider is creating a positive and adaptive mindset.  As accountants, we  often deal with complex scenarios, and a positive, growth-oriented mindset can be a game-changer. 

Rather than fixating on potential pitfalls, focus on the potential for growth and improvement. This shift in perspective helps in reducing anxiety and prevents overthinking by creating a mindset that sees challenges as opportunities for development.

And the last suggestion is to view constructive feedback as a tool for combatting overthinking. 

Seeking feedback is not just about improvement; it’s a key strategy to combat overthinking. 

By actively seeking constructive criticism, you open doors for improvement, enabling you to address concerns and grow professionally. This approach turns the fear of making mistakes into a constructive feedback loop, minimizing overthinking tendencies and contributing to continuous improvement.

Becoming a Smarter Accountant: Sharpening Your Decision-Making Skills to Overcome Overthinking

I believe one of the biggest issues when it comes to overthinking is a lack of confidence.  But confidence is more than just a personal trait; it’s a feeling that can affect all areas of your life and your career.

Cultivating confidence in decision-making is like unlocking a secret door to professional advancement. Embracing the strength that comes with confident choices not only moves you forward but also helps to overcome any barriers caused by overthinking. 

Here are some suggestions for building confidence in your decision-making:

Reflect on Past Successes: Recall instances where your decisions led to positive outcomes. Acknowledge and build upon these successes to boost your confidence.

Example: Think back to a time where you may have successfully implemented a new financial reporting system that streamlined processes and saved time.

Reflecting on Practical Strengths:  Identify specific skills and experiences that make you effective in your accounting role. Regularly acknowledge these practical strengths to build confidence.

Example: Remind yourself that your attention to detail and accuracy in financial analysis contributes significantly to the team’s success.

Concrete Preparations for Challenging Situations:  Make detailed plans and gather necessary information beforehand. This practical approach can help you feel more confident in your decision-making.

Example: Before a client meeting, thoroughly review financial data, anticipate potential questions, and prepare clear explanations for various scenarios.

In addition to building confidence, it’s also important to improve your ability to make timely decisions.  Here are a few suggestions if indecision is an issue for you:  

Set Decision-Making Timeframes: Establish specific timeframes for making decisions. Allocate appropriate time based on the impact and complexity of the situation to avoid unnecessary delays.

Example: When possible, decide to finalize budget allocations within two days of receiving the necessary financial data.

Prioritize Information: Identify key information required for decision-making. Focus on gathering essential data, preventing the trap of overanalyzing irrelevant details.

Example: When evaluating investment options, prioritize factors such as potential return on investment and risk levels.

Trust Your Instincts: Develop confidence in your instincts and judgment. Sometimes, swift decisions based on experience and intuition can be remarkably effective.

Example: Trust your instinct when choosing between two accounting software options that both meet the necessary criteria.

And the last thing to pay attention to is striking the balance between analysis and action.  Here are some suggestions: 

Define Decision Criteria: Clearly outline the criteria guiding your decisions. Establishing specific parameters helps balance thorough analysis with actionable steps.

Example: When choosing a vendor, consider factors such as cost, reliability, and compatibility with existing systems.

Implement a Decision-Making Framework: Develop a systematic approach to decision-making. Create a step-by-step framework that involves gathering information, analyzing options, and setting deadlines for action.

Example: Use a decision-making matrix to objectively evaluate different accounting software solutions based on predetermined criteria.

Evaluate Decision Outcomes: After making a decision, assess the outcomes. Learning from both successful and less successful decisions contributes to continuous improvement.

Example: Evaluate the impact of introducing a new accounting procedure on efficiency and accuracy, and adjust the approach accordingly.

By following these steps and incorporating examples into your decision-making process, you can cultivate confidence, navigate decisions more efficiently, and strike a harmonious balance between analysis and action.  Becoming a Smarter Accountant means ultimately overcoming the challenges of overthinking in your accounting career.

Well, that’s what I have for you.  Thank you for joining me as I shared how to stop overthinking.  I hope you’ve gained valuable insights and practical tips.

If you are struggling with any aspect of being an accountant, you can simply go to and book a free session with me.

I’ll explain The Smarter Accountant 6-week Program and how you can apply it to whatever you’re struggling with.

So make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.

Make sure you go to and take The Smarter Accountant Quiz. You’re going to want to know if you’ve been underutilizing your accountant brain so that you have a starting point for becoming a Smarter Accountant..

Also, I would appreciate it if you could get the word out to other accountants about this podcast.  The more accountants find out about it, the more we can begin to change the narrative in the accounting profession.

The truth is that you’re already smart, but this podcast will show you how to be smarter.