Is it worth pursuing accounting designation at 39?
July 1, 2008 9:40 PM   Subscribe

Is it worth pursuing accounting designation at 39? I am about to immigrate into Canada and am considering CGA (Certified General Accountant) certification as a way to jumpstart my career there. However, I have doubts whether my age (39) is going to be an issue.

Brief background:
I have MBA degree from an American University; it's not a top tier -- just a small private university in the Northwest -- but they are often voted among the best regional universities in the US. I don't have prior accounting experience, but while in business school I was an A-grader in all the accounting and financial classes I took, and enjoyed them greatly.

Due to personal reasons/decisions I made I haven't worked for the last 5 years full-time (let's call it early semi-retirement) and been mostly doing freelance translations (dealing exclusively with business topics, if it's of any relevance). Before that, my professional experience included management consulting, B2B sales/account management.

I don't have any career plans for large auditing firms; I am thinking about employment at local accounting/tax return practices, local businesses, service/manufacturing companies.

So here are my questions to the collective wisdom of MeFi comunity:

Is it worth investing time (3 to 4 years?) in obtaining CGA certification at my age, or I'd be better off exploring other venues? Will it improve my career prospects? Am I not going to be the oldest student in this program (sorry, Canadians, programme :))?

I do agree that it's never too late to learn, but really, should I go down this path at my age? I will really appreciate your honest opinions, suggestions, and (especially!) real life examples.
Input from CPA/CMA perspective is also more than welcome as those are basically the same kind of things.

Many thanks!
posted by cst to Work & Money (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For what it's worth, both of my parents are accountants. My father finished his University and did very well for himself working for the federal government. My mother went the self-employed route (doing personal taxes and working for small businesses) and also did well for herself. I certainly wouldn't discourage it; they both enjoyed the aspects of the work they did and are now quite happily retired.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:09 PM on July 1, 2008

My mother completed the CMA program when she was over 40, so you certainly won't the oldest student in the program, although you'll be at the older end of the scale. However, she had worked in accounting since a much younger age. It sounds like you might enjoy the freedom of having your own practice, but it will take a while to build it up, so tack on a few (likely unprofitable) years beyond the completion of the program.

Also, no one really uses "programme."
posted by Krrrlson at 10:54 PM on July 1, 2008

Well, you clearly won't be earning as much - to start out at least - as someone your age who has been doing it since graduating Undergrad. But I suspect you already knew that.

And accounting is always in demand. I'm a part qualified Management Accountant (CIMA, a UK based org), and even though I don't emphasize it on my CV - I've got an MSc in Quantitative Finance and I'm finishing an MBA, both of which are prominently mentioned - I still get calls about accounting jobs.

Almost any knowledge is good knowledge, so don't worry it.
posted by Mutant at 3:51 AM on July 2, 2008

i work at a Canadian university and i answer several inquiries per day regarding our programs and how to apply. i can tell you that i get a lot of questions from mature students - and a lot of them go into Accounting or Business Admin. you won't be the only one.

good luck!
posted by gursky at 4:46 PM on July 2, 2008

« Older Money money money, Must be funny   |   Where do Target:Women videos live? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.