The Drinking Habits of Finance Professionals
There are quite a few professions that drink more than others, and there have been studies that claim that the more successful you are, the more you will drink. This certainly seems true in most instances, but not in all. However, it has been widely talked about just how much accountants, CPAs, and other finance professionals drink alcohol! Let’s just hope they aren’t intoxicated while handling money!
Why Accountants & Finance Professionals Drink So Much
Professionals from many different industries drink often, but when looking at the drinking behaviors of finance professionals, there are a few factors that make sense as to why they do drink more. These factors include:
The stress of being an accountant, CPA, insurance broker or any other type of worker in the financial industry is very high. There are very long days and even longer workweeks. Coupled with the demands of home life, desires for career advancement, maintaining health and a social life, there is little time to breathe. This high stress can often lead to burnout in the field. Drinking can be a way to cope with stress of the job, especially when others who are feeling the same stress want to include you. Saying yes to alcohol may seem like way to socialize and relax.
Once hired by the company, you are expected to be able to live up to the company expectations and demands. You are not expected to buckle under pressure or need a reduced workload. Especially during tax season, when the hours are longer and there is more of a demand to get through the workload, things can become very intense. However, success at a company and in the profession depends on making it through this and all other times, successfully. Drinking alcohol can be a relief and relaxation tactic at the end of the day and seem like a way to blow off steam and become numb to it all. However, it actually doesn’t make a difference, because the next day there is more pressure yet again.
Depending on the company culture, there is an expectation to drink. Companies may have executives or managers that drink and engage the employees in drinking. Additionally, many recruits, and new employees are supplied with alcoholic drinks. In other companies, there are drinks in the company fridge and it isn’t frowned upon to have a drink during working hours. If everyone is drinking and a lone individual closes not to, they may be excluded not only from the social scene but from other opportunities as well. This is because drinking becomes seen as a way to bond with others in the company and embody part of the company culture, not so much of a personal preference.
There is also a component to the job that encourages work to happen over social situations. Some industries have positions where they are expected to booze n’ schmooze with potential clients to secure their business or to broker a deal. Doing this over alcohol makes sense as people have less inhibitions and reduced decision-making capabilities. If a person is feeling good and has to make a decision, they are more likely to make the one they are persuaded into making or “feel good” about.
Conferences are all day events filled with learning and information. At night people often want to relax or network. Drinks may be offered depending on where the conference is held and especially if there is an activity held at a bar or bar & grill. Most people realize that it is not smart to miss out on networking opportunities or chances to connect with speakers. This leads them to participate in the networking events, and you guessed it, if they want to fit in, then they feel like they also have to drink.
One reason individuals in financial professions drink more is simply that they have more accessibility and availability to do so. If a company provides alcohol, or the means to drink, an event where drinking is widespread, or individuals are able to write off drinking expenses, then why not drink?
How to Get Away from It
It is possible for finance professionals to succeed in an accounting firm or anywhere in the financial industry without drinking. One person who was successful at being sober in the industry was Lucy Kellaway. Lucy Kellaway was an investment banker who stopped drinking and still became CEO and Chairman of her firm. Drinking should not be a requirement or even a factor to success in any position. If you are or know an account that wants to stop drinking, try replacing a glass of alcohol with sparkling water, or simply explain that drinking alcohol doesn’t allow for as much productivity as possible and stick by the explanation. Staying social and present will still show willingness to be part of the company culture and a healthier employee.
Editor’s Note: This is part of a new series of articles “Alcoholism Across The Nation” that features the struggles of alcohol addiction across the United States. These articles show us what alcoholism really means in America today, both the big picture and on a more local, meaningful level. To contribute information, statistics, or a guest post to this series, email our Managing Editor at [email protected] with the subject line “Guest Contributor”.