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Should I renew my professional body membership??

Should I renew my professional body membership??

It's that time of year again.. subscription demand and practice certificate renewal landing in the in-box.

I qualified in 1997.  I'm 50 next year.  Now working more or less full time for one client, with two smaller (very small) clients - one a sole trader and one a limited company.  All of my work (accounting & something completely unrelated) I do through my own limited company.  The main client is really just book-keeping - he uses an external accountant to do the final accounts and tax comps.

Should I give up on my registration?  I know I worked hard for it, but "at my age" (!!), thinking that the career is now on a decline.   I can save a chunk of £'s by not renewing for 2012.

Any comments/advice/pitfalls?



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05th Dec 2011 09:14


Your career is not in decline unless you feel so and you want it to be. You are at the time of your life when you are the most experienced, the most productive and the wisest you will ever be. I am 48 and after years of stagnation, for the first time in my life I am preparing to set up  practice in my own place and with my name outside on a big illuminated sign plate. Perhaps what you need is a positive change!

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By Jimess
05th Dec 2011 09:20

50 is still young

Don't write off your working life just because you are approaching the big 5-0.

I am 52 and set up my own practice 5 years ago.  Yes it is hard work but I cannot imagine that I would ever be the stay at home type - not that there is anything wrong with that - it's just not my cup of tea.

If you are thinking that you want to do less as you come into your middle years and you have enough money to fund it then go for it, but it is a long haul from 50 to pensionable age and the way things are going it looks likely that we 50 somethings will probably see our pensionable age heading further and further into the sunset. 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do - and most of all enjoy it.


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05th Dec 2011 09:26

Lots of options careerwise

I think this is the time to start considering what would happen if you lost that big client.

Maybe you don't need ACCA after your name, although if I'd got these initials after my name with all the work you've had to put in to get them I might be having a rethink. You should have some sort of professional qualification, and lots of former ACCA's go for AAT, as it's a widely held qualification and they are very supportive of members in practice.

And as Constantine says, you shouldn't dismiss your wide range of experience.

Many of us will have to work until the age of 70 because of poor pension provision, so you are a mere spring chicken!

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05th Dec 2011 09:29

Only 50!

Hi - know how you feel.  I'm just giving up my audit registration and with audit being the only thing I really need the letters for, I did wonder whether to jump out with both feet.

I can count on one hand the number of times in over 30 years I've been asked about my qualification and, even if I did give it up, I'd still do my CPD and maintain PI cover so it would make no difference to clients or potential clients.

After so many years though (like the socks I'm wearing today) I've become attached to it (them) plus, you never know what opportunities or changes are around the corner (even at 50!), sods law is that if I dumped it I'd get a call from a potential client in January asking me if I was qualified.

If nothing else I can't face having to change my letterhead, so I'll give it a go for another year.

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05th Dec 2011 09:40

You never know whats around the corner

Its tempting, isn't it?  Been there.

However as you perceive yourself slowing down, lifes paths change.  I've taken on a few bits of voluntary work as my working hours have tailed off (at a mere 44!), initially just to counter boredom, and the letters are useful in open doors both for me and the organisations I'm helping.

They are also useful to have behind your name when arguing with pension company/insurere/bank/[insert bete noir]

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05th Dec 2011 09:43

Don't do it

For a whole host of reasons I hate the professional bodies that are supposed to represent us, but if your life changes and you need to ever get a job, those silly letters mean a great deal. I know its cash out the door now, but I really wouldn't give them up.

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05th Dec 2011 10:02

I would- I did

and I have ten letters to put after my name (no offers please) but never have

Besides, employers want to know what you can do, not who you belong to-or not.


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05th Dec 2011 10:20

I wouldn't bother, myself

I'm wondering whether its worth it, not far off your age, although I'm certainly not winding down.  I don't know how easily you would get PII, and you'd need to register with HMRC re the Anti-Money Laundering legislation.  Also, aren't there moves afoot with HMRC Working Together, and their (effectively) policing of agents which could make it harder on the outside of a professional body?  What about joining one of the other accountants groups - a non CCAB body?  And you should still be able to refer to a qualification as long as its clear you're not a member

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05th Dec 2011 11:27

As the song says ...

you don't know what you've got till it's gone!


Most employers ask agencies only to supply candidates with initials after their name even if they don't know what it means.

Clients aren't interested in qualifications but lenders (particularly now) still are.


Just keep paying.


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05th Dec 2011 11:47

Thank you

Hmm... lots to think about.  I think the reason I'm seeing 50 as a bit of a barrier is that I don't know how easily I'd find employment as an ACCA at that age - yes, I know ageism is against the law, but I defy anyone to BELIEVE that ageism doesn't exist.  I don't know that I want that high-flying, high-stress job if my existing major client disappeared.  I quite enjoy just doing his book-keeping (to a very high standard).  He appreciates my previous experience in management and consults me before making any major decisions, which is great.  I definitely do NOT want to have a "proper" practice.  My little part time jobs are fine, to dabble with.   I also spend a fair bit of my time saddle fitting (!!).

I did do my AAT before the ACCA, so that's an option.  

Thanks to all for the responses - will probably scrape up the pennies and hang on in for another year.  I appreciate being able to discuss this with you.


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By Tosie
05th Dec 2011 12:27


the only reason I keep paying the subs is for the lenders.

Moonbeam do you have problems with lenders with your AAT ?

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to nick farrow
05th Dec 2011 14:01

AAT versus Lenders

Reply to Tosie:

I have not had much to do with lenders since I got my AAT initials, which was only 2 years ago. Before that, I had a fracas with a lender who wanted more and more bits of paper from HMRC. I don't think any qualifications would have made a difference to them and the client had lots of rows with them and finally got them to accept the figures were no different from the ones I quoted initially.

I think you are saying there is a problem with the credibility of AAT, but Steve Holloway and Monsoon may be able to tell us more, as they do far more tax work than I do and have been AAT's longer than I have.

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05th Dec 2011 14:07

How many lenders applications do you fill in though? You can always make an arrangement with someone else to sign those off. If you can imagine yourself ever going to work for someone else again, do you really think that you'll need those letters rather than being able to state that you did qualify and allowed your membership to lapse? Increasingly people aren't bothered about the qualifications - and if they are it's usually because they want to see that you reached a technical standard - not that you continued to pay a subscription.

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05th Dec 2011 14:40


I've never in my whole career (mainly in industry) had to sign a lender document, so it's not a concern - have only ever done practice work on a VERY small scale.  (I don't really enjoy it!)  Perhaps I should consider setting up a new body - XACCA???

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By Monsoon
05th Dec 2011 15:01


The AAT have a list of about 100 lenders who accept accounts prepared by an AAT qualified accountant.

If a client uses a lender who won't accept my work, I have a chartered accountant who will sign off for me, so it doesn't make a difference really.

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By Tosie
05th Dec 2011 15:28

To Moonbeam & Monsoon

Thanks for your reply, I was not saying that the AAT lacks credibility far from it.

I just wondered if you had any problems.

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