I’ve just seen a report from the  Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA). It claims that three emerging trends in debt among accountants have became more prevalent during the first half of 2011. These patterns have been noted by CABA’s debt advice team, who provide guidance and practical help to accountants with financial difficulties, over the last two years but have become noticeably more common in recent months:

They are:

  • People aged 65 with debt problems due to insufficient retirement planning. Many of these accountants have large mortgages or unsecured debt and are having to continue, or restart, work.
  • Those who have debt problems – even though they are asset rich – because they are reluctant to realise the value of those assets. For example, by selling a large house and moving to a smaller one.
  • In the newest development, accountants with their own practices who are using their personal finances to prop up the business, even though it is effectively insolvent. Many of the people in this group are facing action from the HMRC for VAT and PAYE.

That first point chimes with one of my most recent articles for AccountingWeb: Will you be able to afford to retire?

I can’t ask if any of these 3 points resonate with readers of this blog as I wouldn’t expect anyone would want to admit it. But just in case let me remind you that one of CABA’s roles is to provide help and advice to chartered accountants suffering from debt issues and to empower them to manage their own debt. In addition, CABA can make payments to individuals and their dependants in cases where debt is causing genuine hardship. However, they are at pains to stress that:

“We are a benevolent association and it is not our place to simply write cheques. Our role is more to help accountants uncover a way out of the very difficult situations in which they sometimes find themselves.”

More details can be found at www.caba.org.uk