A vastly experienced accountant who has served the Solihull business community for nearly 50 years is calling time on his career.

John Osborne, who works for Prime Accountants Group, started out in the industry in 1977 aged 19 after being educated at Great Yarmouth Grammar School.

After joining Raftery & Co in 1981, the Norfolk native became a partner in 1993 and remained with the business when it became Prime Accountants Group in 2007 after merging with Pilley and Florsham.

John said he had witnessed huge changes in the professional landscape in the 46 years since he started work, when accountancy firms weren’t allowed to advertise.

“It’s amazing to think you weren’t allowed to advertise – putting yourself in the Yellow Pages was all you could do,” said John.

“I guess at the time it was considered unprofessional to promote yourself, but the rules eventually changed.”

Talking about the route into his career, John added: “There’s always the fallacy that accountancy and maths go hand in hand, but for me it just seemed like the natural thing to do.

“Basic maths was more important then, as there were no computers. I’d been in the profession for maybe three years when I first saw a computer come into the workplace – in those days, it was in a room of its own which you booked to use!

“Technology has changed lots, particularly with email, which means client expectations, and expectations generally, are raised because of the instant access you have.

“When you went abroad on holiday you were genuinely uncontactable. When you came back there might be a bit of post on your desk – now you can get 50 emails on your phone and see them while you’re on holiday!”

In recent years, John has overseen the VAO department, Prime’s bookkeeping and management accounts service, where he has advised a broad range of principally owner-managed businesses.

To mark his retirement, the Prime team took him and his two sons to his beloved Norwich City FC for a day’s hospitality for their game against West Bromwich Albion on January 20.

Speaking about his colleagues, John said: “It is a genuinely nice team of people who really have the interest of the staff at heart. The trip to Norwich was a wonderful day out and I was very grateful for the thought.

“There is a lot of support in place at Prime and the size of the firm means we have been able to provide support for larger clients. Back in the Raftery days we couldn’t have done that – now we have more specialisms and experts and can help a lot more people.”

John officially left the business at the end of January and said he didn’t have any firm plans about how he would spend his retirement beyond following the fortunes of the Canaries.

Kevin Johns, managing director of Prime Accountants, said: “John has been a wonderful servant to our business and a hugely valued colleague and friend.

“To work in any industry for as long as John has requires continuous learning and adaptability and he has demonstrated that at every stage.

“We will all miss him and we were delighted to be able to give him a great send-off at his beloved Norwich City for his retirement party.”

For more information on Prime Accountants, which has offices in Solihull, Birmingham and Coventry, visit https://primeaccountants.co.uk.