Gareth Olivier CA(SA)

Yvonne chats to: Gareth Olivier CA(SA) “Should older people start their CA qualification journey?”

"Am I too old to start?"

I get emails from students all the time asking me “Am I too old to start my CA(SA) qualification journey?”. 

I answer this question all the time, I wrote a short article on it before as well, and I thought I’d chat to someone else for their perspective, on your behalf.

Gareth has been lecturing for years, and as a co-founder of CA Connect, Milpark, he has loads of experience with students of all ages starting and finishing the CA(SA) qualification.

Take a look at the Table of Contents above to see what we chatted about. You can go straight to the topics you’re interested in

Are they too old to study?

The short answer? NO!

We chatted a bit about how important your life plans, your goals etc, and the fact that this is something we come across as lecturers all the time!

Being part of a community is SO crucial

Online learning has created such great opportunities to study this without having to ‘go’ to a university.

Part of the value that online learning provides is the ability to connect with others like yourself, understand that you’re NOT alone, get support, supplement your learning. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that ‘communities’ are only for 20-year old students who want to share selfies! 🙂

Will firms accept you for articles?

Firms look for diversity in people, personalities and experience. You bring huge value to any organisation based on your experience.

The fact that you’re not a ‘classic’ 24 year old straight out of university is NOT going to be a bad thing!

Will SAICA recognise your work experience for your articles?

There are two options here. You can either get RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning), or get Exemption from articles altogether. 

I had a chat with SAICA about RPL and Exemptions, you can find the chat here:

How many years left until retirement!?

This isn’t something we think of a lot, but if you qualify at 50, you probably still have 20 years before you retire! That’s a lot of time to enjoy your qualification!

EVERYTHING in life comes at a cost

You do have to decide what’s right for YOU. There are so many opinions around what you should do with your life, there’s only one person who can make that decision. YOU!

You have to make sacrifices, you cannot magically create more time in the day, so you have to prioritise for yourself!

Your work experience will not make exams easier

Be careful about this one. Just because you’ve ‘done’ accounting for ages, doesn’t mean you’ve done accounting EXAMS for ages. Yes, your experience is valuable, but those exams are NOT the same as working with the stuff!

Check whether you can do CA Connect's Bridging course before PGDA

Students ask me where to start, if they’ve studied in the past, and aren’t sure where to pick up their studies.

Short answer… Contact Milpark, CA Connect to ask about your situation

If you can relate, or have a query...


  1. This is such an excellent article. I am passed the age of 50, but I am still studying towards my CA qualification. You article crossed my path at the right time. We need this kind of interaction in today’s world. Please keep up the excellent work, advice and guidance. We could not study earlier in our lives due to circumstances, but now we have the opportunity and want to take full advantage. You are brilliant.

    • I’m so glad! I wish you well on your journey. You make a really good point as well. If opportunities weren’t available to us when we were younger, then we absolutely should grab them whenever they do come along. It’s easy to feel that if it didn’t all ‘happen’ by 30, then it’s too late.. but that’s not true!
      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yvonne

    Ever since I met you, your talks have been very inspiring and motivating to me.

    Thank you and many blessings to you,


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Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

I coach accounting students who are struggling with their study habits and mindset, and want their studies to be as effective as they used to be. See more on my about page

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