T Nation

Attention Accountants: Age a Factor?


I have about 8 years experience in industry as a staff accountant, and just completed my B.S. in accounting last year, I will finish my M.S. Accountancy in December and would like to move into public accounting after that. Does anyone here with public accounting experience or knowledge, have any idea if my age will be a problem , I will be 33 by December. I have heard conflicting ideas, but not from anyone with any actual knowledge.



My good friend just graduated from michigan state with his accounting degree(BS). He worked as an intern his senior year, and already had a job at an accounting firm before he even graduated.

I would imagine you shouldnt have a problem. You may be bottom rung though. I believe he is makin around 40ish a year last time I talked to him. Im not exactly sure what type of accounting/who he works for or what exactly he does.


Accountants (in particular CPA's) are in demand. If you are smart, getting a job will not be a problem.

But, be prepared for where it is that you want to go. If you plan on going big 4, expect to work with alot of kids who have no goal, ambitions, or hobbies that are alligned with your own. I know. I did it, and it sucked.

If you've got a smaller firm or even a second tier middle market firm that you've been eyeing, start the conversations now to see how the culture is. It might be a better fit for you (and may not as I don't really know what you want).

You can let me know if you've got other questions. Accounting is always good for a base.


I am Tax Manager with 26 Year experince. I went back to work for the Big 4 when I was in my 40s. So age is not a factor with them if you have all the other reqirement they are looking for. But heads up the Big 4 are long hours and a lot of politics to get ahead. But 3-4 year with then pay off in the long term.


Were you an avid lifter/bodybuilder when you worked for a big 4? I ran into conflict from everything from not drinking with the group to eating cans of tuna for a snack.

The politics is no joke, but people seem to respect that big 4 experience.


I was not a avid lifter but did lift weights. The after work partying and long hours does hurt any work out routine. There is a lot pressure to party and be part of the group.
However that big 4 experince is a big plus.


I have thought about the after work partying thing as well. I enjoy this in moderation, but my idea of moderation is going to be significantly different from 23-24 year olds. I got that out of my system a long time ago. In the past I devised ways to go for just a beer then get out of there (ex. Sorry guys gotta go, booty call!). I don't think the hours will get me because too much, I have been working 45-50 a week and carrying 12 hours at night for the last 4 years, I am used to early morning workouts.

I am more concerned with the travel schedule screwing with my workouts and diet. Don't get me wrong, I was a road warrior at my last job and I am one of those people who enjoys it, but its tough to get in regular workouts. As far as working for a big 4 goes, I think I would enjoy the work, but the politics will be a little new to me. Another thing that is factoring into this is that several of the jobs that I would like to have do require big 4 experience.

Lastly, I think I can handle younger co workers, I was able to handle them at school just fine. I do not look my age, and most of my classmates thought I was just about 25 or so. Interviewing firms will be able to tell by my work experience roughly how old I am though.
I appreciate the responses guys.


As far as the after work partying it is more of a way of doing business and handling stress. The one beer got booty will not work. You also must remember half or more of you co-workers will be female.

As far a travel that depends of what you are doing. In tax very little travel. Some auditors travel a lot some very little.

One thing you need to also know there is a good chance some of your bosses will be younger than you. A senior accountant will be 25-26 years old.


Whats this world coming to if the one beer booty will not work?
There are going to be positives and negatives I'm sure. Over all, was it a positive experience for you?


Overall positive.

One last thing on the overtime.
The last busy season I was there from Jan 20 - April 15.
I had 2 Days off.
So be prepared for 7 day work weeks.


One last question, where you tax or audit?

Thanks for the insight man!


33 is considered "old" in business?


Great point. To do well, you need to look at the big 4 company as a wife. If you're not willing to spend the time with her, expect a divorce.

I got divorced.


No, 33 is not considered old in business, but it is definatly much older than most people who are starting out in public accounting. Like some of the posters said, I will be taking orders from people who are much younger than me.