Home For accounting professionals General accounting discussion

Your age

villapbvillapb Trusted RegularRegistered Posts: 357
We have being debating in our practise your age and its effect on your career.

I am 46 and went through a career change in 2009 but have experience of business since 1999.

The younger guys in our practise seem to think when they get to my age that they will be semi retired or chilling, but I seem to be working the opposite. Do us older guys and gals run out of time or is accountancy which I think, like a good wine that age actually helps you. Some of my younger work mates have poor life skills and experience imo.

Just interested in what the opinion is on here, what I hear some time times concerns me, p.s I am told I look 35 and people don't believe me when I say I am 46.


  • burgburg Experienced Mentor GloucesterModerator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    I think Accountancy has a particularly high average age for Partners in particular. All the local practices to me seem to have partners in their 60's and 70's. I think a lot of the time this is to do with the risk adverse nature of accountants in that many don't want to take the risk of leaving the security of regular income to start their own practice.

    I'm 27 and I left and turned our bookkeeping business into a full practice 4 years ago. Not only am I young compared to many partners in accountancy practices but I also look younger than I am too! I've tried to not let this worry me. I've generally been maturer than my age, leaving home at 16, bought my own house and got married at 18 and starting a family at 19. My wife is the same age and very similar.

    I've used my age as an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Many clients comment later that at first they had reservations as to how young I look but I can engage in conversation with them very easily and put them at ease with my knowledge.

    In respect of poor life skills I agree in general. We took on an 18 year old for a short period earlier this year and we were quite shocked by the lack of life experience in terms of just not knowing much about the general world such as what heating oil was and similar general life knowledge.

    Ultimately I think if you have the knowledge and experience then age is irrelevant and shouldn't make any difference.

  • Laura8192Laura8192 Feels At Home Registered Posts: 95
    I'm 27 and see my practice supporting me as I think about maybe having a family in the next few years, as it is flexible and "working mum" friendly in my opinion. Do I see myself retired at 46? No, but I don't see myself working 40 hour weeks either. I think life is too short and if you can earn enough to live working 20 or 30 hours a week then that suits me fine. That said, I am working in employment 28 hours a week at the moment, and in my practice at least 20 hours a week but it is only a temporary thing, until my employment contract ends next year.
  • villapbvillapb Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 357
    Laura experience, knowledge, qualifications seem to shift the balance of power so that you can decide and gain flexibility on how you work............that's what I like about accountancy.
  • Laura8192Laura8192 Feels At Home Registered Posts: 95
    thats exactly what I like too, I've only been a MIP for about 8 months now, but I love working for myself and who knows what the future holds!
  • burgburg Experienced Mentor GloucesterModerator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    @Laura - My wife, who is the same age as me, started our practice doing just bookkeeping and payroll back in 2005 for the same reasons. It works well around children as it can be done in the evenings and when they are taking naps. We are now somewhat more developed and have our own premises and around 160 clients but we both have flexibility over our working hours which is great.

  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,809
    In the present, I always perceive myself to be fairly astute, worldly-wise and knowledgeable.

    Whenever I reminisce about the person I was, even 5 years hence, I cannot help but look back and think wow.. you really weren't as clever as you thought you were.

    If I look back 10 years I was pretty naive. It scares me to look back any further than that!

    In younger people I have worked with business naivety (complete lack of commerciality) is a very common trait and a very difficult one to lose in a hurry.
  • JodieRJodieR Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 1,002
    this was on a friend's facebook a few days ago...

    Our young intern has just come out with amazing words of wisdom: "I've come to learn, that your past self is a knob, and your future self is a judgemental prick"

    And he's only 20! Love it!
  • Laura8192Laura8192 Feels At Home Registered Posts: 95
    I think everyone is different and experience doesn't just come with age but with life experience. I may be young, but I also left home at 16, was a well known pub companies youngest Pub Manager at 18, decided to change to an office job at 21, married at 22 and passed AAT at 25. I've always progressed quickly and have had 6 different finance roles in 6 years (I get bored!) Currently I'm doing a maternity cover as Global Treasury Accountant at a FTSE 100 company. I certainly think I have better life skills and experience than most my age, and many who are a lot older than me. All that said I still have ALOT to learn, going into practice has shown me that, but I am lucky enough to have an amazing mentor who is always at the end of the phone/text/email. And I think this forum is great to share ideas and double check things when you are not quite sure about something.
  • villapbvillapb Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 357
    One thing I have learnt, hindsight is sometimes a killer..........my wisdom is that the past you can never change or control so never dwell on it, but the future based on your past you can try to control. GETTING OLD ...........
  • paulstaffordpaulstafford Feels At Home Registered Posts: 126
    I've been in accounts related employment for 20 years ( now aged 44 ) and expect to work another 20 before being in a good enough position financially to consider handing in my calculator.

    Before the credit crunch I remember reading articles in the accountancy press about how the impending retirement of all the baby boomer partners allied to the unwillingness of the next generation to aspire to partnership would cause all sorts of problems. It seems to me , as Ian has already noted, a lot of the baby boomers are still working as they can't afford to retire.

    I think anyone in their 20s who thinks they can earn enough money by their mid 40s to head into semi retirement need to have a pretty good business idea and the ability to implement it, or perhaps find a rich spouse!
Sign In or Register to comment.