October 24, 2021

Number of the Day: 53

The average age of a non-Big 4 public accounting firm partner hasn’t really changed at all in the last three years.

In late December 2018, CPA Journal analyzed the results of the 2018 NYSSCPA–Rosenberg Practice Management Survey and mentioned this in regards to partners’ ages:

Partners have gotten slightly younger, both in terms of average age and the percentage of partners over 50. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of partners over 50 continued to increase; however, from 2016 on, the average age of equity partners has decreased slightly. In the most recent survey, the average age of partners is 53.2 years (all firms over $2 million).

The Rosenberg Survey believes [the average age of equity partners decreasing] is due to the continued retirement of partners in their 60s and 70s and the succession of new partners in their 40s. According to the survey, 67–70 is the “new 65,” although many retirement agreements still take effect at 65. Among the equity partners in the national survey over 50, approximately one-third are over 60; the results are similar in New York.

Over the past three years since that Rosenberg report was released, we’ve received numerous new partner announcements from public accounting firms that included photos of those who got their keys to the partnership, and they look like babies compared to the Crypt Keeper lookalikes of days gone by. But according to the 2021 National Practice Management Benchmarking Report from INSIDE Public Accounting, the average age of a non-Big 4 partner hasn’t changed one bit:

The average partner age remains steady at 53.0 years, as firms continue to replace retiring partners with younger ones. One in 14 firms has a partner group averaging age 60 and above, and one-third have an average partner age of 55 or older.

The latest IPA report also found that partner retirements are still pretty rare at smaller public accounting firms, as just 18% of firms with under $20 million of revenue reported a partner calling it a career last year.

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