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Change inevitable in 70-year career

Bill Orange is celebrating 70 years as a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
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Keep your family foremost in your plans, accept change is inevitable, and do your share of voluntary work.

Solid advice from a Masterton man who has been a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand for 70 years.

Bill Orange said it was “genes not genius” which had kept him going so long.

In 1945, he enrolled in evening courses to study accounting at what is now known as Victoria University of Wellington.

During this time, he also worked at the Public Trust Office.

“I got my degree and accepted a job at a local office here. And I’ve been with them ever since.”

The firm has been through many name changes since – from DB Curry and Nicol Public Accountants to Curry, Nicol, and Orange, and then Orange and Birch when he was made a partner.

He said career options were more limited then, especially in the years after World War II.

“In those days, you never changed your job,” he said.

Focused mainly on small business and farm accounting, he said if he were not an accountant, he would have wanted to be a farm consultant.

“There were a lot of returned servicemen who took up farming, even though they hadn’t been farming before. The government helped them a lot.”

He also saw farmers through some difficult days such as those of the “skinny sheep” and the transition through Rogernomics.

“Whenever laws change, it makes more work,” he said.

On current financial issues, he felt the top bracket tax rates probably weren’t high enough, that GST was the worst thing, and was decidedly against a capital tax.

Accountancy had also changed a lot due to advances in technology and the rise of machines and accounting programme software.

“Accounting has changed so much.

“I started off as a bookkeeper; now there’s more about the organisation of the business.”

Now 92 and retired, the only accounting he does is for himself and wife of 66 years, Margaret.

Orange served on the board of the Wairarapa Building Society for close to 30 years and was a longstanding supporter of Chanel College.

He also served as a Justice of the Peace for 42 years, stepping down from the duties in 2015.

His advice after several decades in accounting was to separate your house from your business with a family trust and claim your charity donations back.

“If you keep your family foremost in your plans, accept that change is inevitable, and do your fair share of voluntary work, you won’t be the richest person in the district, but you will have had a happy and contented journey.”

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