Wikipedia defines Accountancy or Accounting as the measurement, processing and communication of financial information about an economic organization.
It can also be defined as the keeping or preparation of financial records of an organization, the verification, analysis and reporting of such records to stakeholders, both internal and external.
Accounting has four main areas:- Financial accounting, Management accounting, Cost accounting and Auditing/Taxation; there are other smaller areas.
Those who are trained to practice the profession are called Accountants.
The job of the accountant except while making a journey is largely sedentary and very stressful, the work hours are long in order to meet deadlines, in today’s world the accountant is always in front of the computer and because the accountant has to do most of the work with the computer key boards, the fingers perform a lot of repetitive movements.
It is the foregoing that is responsible for the health problems associated with the profession; they are discussed in brief below;
1. Musculoskeletal Pains
The accountant needs the computer to manage the large volumes of figures he or she has to deal with; consequently he is always on the computer.
Accountants sit for a long time and if the ergonomics are not properly addressed in setting up the work station, he/she may experience severe back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, waist and leg pains, all due to muscle soreness and fatigue.
This can be prevented by sitting up straight while on the computer and ensuring if possible that the screen is at the same level with your eyes so you do not need to look up or down at the screen.
Also, we should move around off our computer at intervals of about two hours for ten minutes to stretch the muscles.
2. Physical injuries: Repetitive Strain Injury, Slips, trips and falls, accidents
Accountants today are always on the computer, carry out repetitive movements with the hand and neck, but more with the hand. Such movements can result in pains in the hands, lower arms and neck. A well known case is the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in which there is numbness, tingling sensation in the hands and pain in the wrists.
A reduced movement of the wrists, activity in the arms more, can reduce or prevent this syndrome. Use of a mouse can also help.
Like any other person in an office, the accountant is exposed to falls and trips from office cables and also slips.
Some accountants travel a lot for audit work, putting them at greater risk of road traffic accident.
3. Blurred vision
Accountants are exposed to prolonged computer use.
Bright lights, sometimes glaring and rapid moving (flickering) images strain the eyes and after prolonged use, the vision of a user can become blurred due partly to dryness of the eyes. This is called Computer Vision Syndrome.
This can be addressed or prevented by blinking regularly, disengaging from the computer at intervals to rest the eyes, adjusting the brightness of the computer screen and adjusting the contrast.
4. Heart disease
Accountancy is a very stressful profession, accountants work long hours to meet dead-lines. Stress can lead to raised blood pressure with its possible effects on the heart muscle and the blood vessels supplying the heart. Stress increases heart rate and can trigger heart attack if acute.
Stress can trigger an asthmatic attack in someone who is asthmatic. If you are not asthmatic, it cannot trigger one
6. Obesity, Diabetes
Being glued to the computer all day reduces our physical activity, which means we burn less calories. The excess calories will then be converted to fat. Obesity increases the body’s resistance to insulin; that means blood sugar will rise resulting in type 2 diabetes.
Stress on its own can push borderline diabetes to overt diabetes, that is stress increases blood sugar level.
Monitor sitting time and take walks within the office at intervals. Watch your carbohydrate and fat intake.
Accountants are prone to chronic stress.
Chronic stress is associated with anxiety and depression; chronic stress resulting from long hours at work with little reward has been shown by studies to increase the risk of depression.
8. Stomach ulcer
Stress is associated with sympathetic reaction by the body resulting in increased production of acid in the stomach. While stress may not cause stomach ulcer, it certainly makes it worse.
Stress is also associated with heart burn in which you feel some burning sensation in the lower part of the chest centrally due to flow of the acid from the stomach to the oesophagus following increased production of the acid.
Try to manage your stress.
9. Accelerated aging
Stress is known to accelerate aging characterized by premature graying of the hair and skin wrinkles.
This write up is meant to create awareness on the possible health problems associated with the accountancy profession, being aware means you will try to avoid them by implementing the recommendations made above. You can also read more in various literatures on the profession. Every profession has its health problems.
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