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Business News

Mental stress, fatigue as young auditors work overtime to prepare financial results  

For auditors in Lagos and across Nigeria, now is probably the most stressful time to have a job.

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Mental stress, fatigue as young auditors work overtime to prepare financial results  

For auditors in Lagos and across Nigeria, now is probably the most stressful time to have a job. It is the peak accounting period, as quoted companies in Nigeria finishing touches on their full-year 2019 financial statements. These results must be ready for public disclosure by March 31st, 2020, in line with the listing rules of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The mental stress on auditors

In view of this, auditors must work round the clock to get these documents ready. This is not an easy thing, particularly for all the executive trainees and semi-senior associate auditors working in these audit firms. They must work extra hours and literally put their personal lives on hold, for the meantime.

Mental stress, fatigue as young auditors work overtime to prepare financial results  

One junior auditor who spoke to Nairametrics under condition of anonymity lamented about feeling burnt out and mentally stressed. He has been working at one of the big four audit firms for a little less than a year, so he is experiencing the peak season for the first time. He was, however, quick to note that this is his dream job and he wouldn’t give it up for anything—at least not for now.

“I never realised it can be this stressful because I started working with them in May 2019. So, this is my first time experiencing this level of business. The rush can be mad. I didn’t even go on Christmas break. You must audit all these companies in order to meet deadline. And you cannot afford to make any mistakes because…you just can’t afford to. 

“So, it’s stressful. But besides the stress, this is one of the best places to work in this country, I can assure you.”

[READ MORE: These companies could soon be delisted from the Nigerian Stock Exchange)

More challenges: No personal time

Part of the stress is that these young auditors must be ready to travel to any part of the country whenever they are called upon. As a matter of fact, traveling is an integral aspect of the job description in these audit firms. 27-year Chidoka (not his real name), who works in one of the top audit firms in the country, told Nairametrics that he initially enjoyed the extensive traveling schedules. But as time went by and the job was not allowing him to spend enough time with his wife and newly delivered daughter, he began to have some misgivings. Even when he is in Lagos, he sometimes closes very late from the office such that by the time he drives home, his daughter and wife are already asleep.

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It may interest you to know that some auditors in Lagos sleep in the office, especially during peak periods. This is because they close late from work and some of them live far away. Moreover, closing late is not necessarily an excuse to come to work late. Therefore, putting all these into consideration, some of them often decide to just stay back at the office.

Not all the auditors are complaining

One top management executive in one of the audit firms said that while she understands that the job can be overwhelming sometimes, she does not expect anyone to be complaining now. After all, everyone is informed from the very beginning that the job can be stressful. New recruits are also made aware that auditing requires constant traveling and overtime work. She added that the reason new recruits are told all this is so that they will not be surprised when the requirements of the job become real.

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The top executive further mentioned the numerous advantages of being an auditor. Now, while these might never make up for the near lack of work-life balance auditors experience, we must admit that they should serve as good enough motivation for auditors to love their job.

“We ensure to take good care of our staff. When they travel, they don’t fly anything less than business class. We also ensure that they are lodged in the best hotels in whatever city they go to work. In terms of remuneration, we pay quite well; sometimes more than what other industries are paying. Those who are complaining should remember all these.”

Mental stress, fatigue as young auditors work overtime to prepare financial results  

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Auditors’ workload and their mental health

A 2016 research report published in the China Journal of Accounting Research, examined the correlation between auditors’ work-related stress and the quality of their work. Using evidence from the Chinese stock market, the researchers found that though there are no cases of prevalent decline in audit quality due to work stress, there are still instances where this can be said to be the case. One of such instance is when auditors complete the initial audits for new clients whom they’ve never worked for before.

In view of this, the authors of the journal report called on audit firms to always put into consideration the stress faced by their workers as well as “rationalise” the allocation of resources in order to ensure that audit reports are high quality.

A similar report published in the Journal of Educational and Management Studies found that there is usually a chance for a decline in audit quality due to stress. This is especially the case when stressed out junior auditors are the ones handling the process. There are also even greater chances for errors when stressed auditors are auditing the work of a new client due to a lack of “conceptual understanding of the customer.”

[READ ALSO: These are the best Nigerian companies to work for according to Jobberman)

Note that audit firms are liable to legal actions from their clients, especially so if such clients find unforgivable errors in their audited financials. For this reason, audit firms should ensure that their workers are not too stressed such that they make mistakes.

In the meantime, quoted Nigerian companies are gearing up to disclose their full-year 2019 financial statements. A number of these companies have announced their closed period, which is the period between when a company prepares its balance sheet and discloses it to the public. United Bank for Africa Plc and Unilever Nigeria Plc are some of the top companies that have announced their closed periods.

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Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Macro-Economic News

BREAKING: Nigeria’s inflation rate surges to 18.17% in March 2021

Nigeria’s inflation rate for the month of March 2020, rose to 18.17% from 17.33% recorded in February 2021.

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Nigeria’s inflation rate for the month of March 2020, rose to 18.17% from 17.33% recorded in February 2021.

This is according to the Consumer Price Index report, recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Food inflation spikes to 22.95% from 21.79% recorded in the previous month, while core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce rose to 12.67% from 12.38% recorded in February 2021.

 

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Business News

BUA Group, French company announce progress in 200,000 bpd refinery project

This is coming about 6 months after both firms signed an agreement for the supply of process technologies and the design of the facility.

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The BUA Group and Axens, a French-based petroleum technology company, have both signed a progress acknowledgement statement for the proposed BUA multi-billion-dollar integrated 200,000 barrels per day refinery in Akwa Ibom State.

This is coming about 6 months after both firms signed an agreement for the supply of process technologies and the design of the facility.

BUA, while making the disclosure in a statement on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, said that the French President, Emmanuel Macron, commended its Chairman, Abdul Samad Rabiu, for his commitment to developing lasting relationships between French and Nigerian businesses.

READ: What the $1.5 billion Port Harcourt refinery deal means to us – Maire Tecnimont

The statement said that this came as the French Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Franck Riester, paid a visit to the BUA Group Headquarters in Lagos where he handed over a personal invitation from Macron to Rabiu to attend the Choose France Summit in June in Paris representing business leaders from Nigeria and Africa.

The French minister also witnessed the signing of a progress acknowledgement statement between BUA Group and Axens of France for the proposed refinery project, according to the statement.

The statement also said that during the visit, it was announced that the BUA chairman had been appointed Chairman of the France Nigeria Investment Club.

READ: FG reacts to reports of revoking 32 refinery licenses

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While thanking the minister and Macron for their unwavering support in bringing BUA and French businesses together, Rabiu said BUA had so far initiated partnerships and had developed personal relationships with a few French businesses, including Axens.

He expressed confidence in the quality of expertise and technical know-how of the French companies BUA had partnered with.

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Rabiu pointed out that the BUA refinery would reduce the huge cost of transporting Nigerian crude offshore, refining it and bringing it back into the country when fully operational.

READ: Abdulsamad Rabiu’s stake in BUA Cement has increased by N1.2 trillion in value since listing in 2020

He said that the choice of Akwa Ibom for the refinery was due to the huge availability of raw materials and its proximity to export petroleum products to regional countries.

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The President of Axens, Jean Sentenac, in his statement, said he was pleased that the project was advancing on schedule and expressed delight for the very good cooperation between all the involved parties, reiterating the commitment of Axens in delivering the BUA Refinery Project on time and with the highest standards.

READ: FG to open LPG distribution channels in all local governments

Bottom line

The completion and take-off of the refinery owned by the BUA Group would come as a huge boost for the Federal Government’s effort to stop the importation of refined petroleum products, ensuring that the country becomes a net exporter of these products.

This will also help to conserve the scarce foreign exchange as the completion and take-off of the Dangote refinery and other similar refinery projects will help ensure self-sufficiency in the country.

The BUA Group, just a few days ago, was listed as one of the companies with an active refinery license from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

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