Lawrence Gelberg is getting out, but he's staying in.
The partner with Fazzari + Partners LLP chartered accountants in Vaughan, Ont., has just arranged to sell his big accounts to his partners but he will continue to come in to work on some smaller accounts.
"It's a good arrangement for me. I know some of the big accounting firms have been pushing people out the door at 62, even if they're partners. I don't know what I'd do if I was in that position. It's better to be in a small firm where you have options," said Mr. Gelberg, who until a decade ago was a partner in a large national firm.
"My situation now is that I've turned 70 and I'm not looking to get out entirely but lighten my load a bit. I don't play golf and I have limited hobbies and I'm saying to myself 'what would I do if I retired?' I'm not sure my wife wants me around the house all day."
Another motivator is the growing demands of the profession. "All the new requirements ... have filtered their way through the whole profession. It requires a lot of retraining and effort to keep up with changes that keep coming down on us on a regular basis. I'm saying to myself realistically, 'I'm not going to be around that long: do I really want to keep making the effort to keep up?'"
So he's sold those accounts that require maintaining the time-consuming knowledge base. "I don't want to maintain those accounts because it's not fair to the partnership if I'm not up to snuff."
But he enjoys the work he is doing "and as long as my mind is okay, I want to come in to work every day.
"I've been fortunate having five other partners so I could stay as long as I want to."