Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Boomers are Coming - Part 1

Modern day Paul Reveres are shouting, "The Boomers are coming!" from every digital rooftop. Magazines proclaim the changes to healthcare, investments, retirement homes etc. etc. that will accompany the retirement of the Baby boom generation. While there is a lot of hype surrounding this issue, there is a real opportunity for the accounting profession we need to address.

Have you tried to find a volunteer treasurer for a charity recently? Maybe they are plentiful in your area, but in mine they are scarce. Need someone to do a volunteer audit? They're even harder to find. Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse. Increasing professional liability insurance premiums combined with more stringent regulations make it more difficult to be a non-profit auditor.

We, the members of the accounting profession, need to put our heads together and come up with a way for retired professional accountants to volunteer their services to charities.

Good For Accountants

Many retired people are looking for work that is inspirational. They want to use their skills to make a change in the world. What better way than to find a charity in an area that is meaningful, using the skills developed over a lifetime?

Good for Charities

Time was when having a seat on a volunteer Board or giving a significant amount of time to a charity was an accepted use of an executive / professional's time. Currently there just seems to be less time for additional activities during the work day. Family time in two career households can be similarly squeezed. Charities need the time, skills and experienced that retired volunteers can bring.

Changing the Profession

What can we do to make it easier for retired accountants to:
* Stay current on professional development?
* Maintain an appropriate level of Errors & Omissions insurance?
* Keep their license to practice?

Could we establish a limited license that would allow the accountant to perform audits on a voluntary basis only, providing a certain level of professional development and peer review was maintained? Could professional practice firms set up a way for retired members to contribute their skills to charity?

What do you think we should do? Please put your ideas in the comments.