The auditing sector could lose over half of its trainees within
two years, according to a study from Nyenrode Business
Universiteit in Breukelen, the Netherlands. Two researchers
conclude that, because auditing firms focus on maximizing
profits, trainees are under such high levels of pressure that the
quality of their work is compromised.
The study was commissioned by the Royal Netherlands
Institute of Chartered Accountants and conducted by Marlies
de Vries, an assistant professor at Nyenrode, in collaboration
with Bas Herrijgers of NBA Young Professionals, an initiative
devoted to new accountants and accounting students in their
last years of study. The two researchers surveyed 517 trainees
and young auditors working within the sector.
Respondents who said they were considering leaving the
profession pointed to heavy workloads, high pressure, and
lack of professional development as factors driving their
decision. “Scheduling is too tight,” according to one individual.
“The commercial budget is used as a basis for the schedule,
even though the actual number of hours is higher. This also
occurs at the expense of time for activities aimed at personal
development and continued growth.”
During the busy season, young professionals might work
and study an average of 60 hours a week because of capacity
shortage, unrealistic schedules, and high client expectations.
“Auditing organizations also reward young professionals
who embrace heavy
that mindset part of the
culture, says de Vries.
should address the root
causes of high stress
instead of introducing
superficial fixes like
and sports facilities, the
“Work pressure has
been a neglected topic
in the industry,” says
de Vries. “It’s time for
firms to put better
which also have a
positive impact on audit