Many firms are strict in saying a firm goodbye to their partners on retirement. Many others recognise the value of experience that can still be put to good use.

In a small-town practice where the partners are well-known and an integral part of the community, it can be extremely valuable to leave a retiring partner’s name on the firm’s notepaper. The goodwill can bring in clients for years.

Clients value continuity, and can be distressed and alienated by the departure of someone on whom they have come to rely. The corollary is that a necessary departure needs to be handled with sensitivity, and with effective warnings in advance.

How far consultancy may go in terms of workload is an individual choice, as are working hours. These days, the cost of a practising certificate virtually guarantees that a consultant will not have one and will be working under the aegis of a partner. It can be satisfying to solve a problem for an inexperienced colleague who might otherwise have nowhere to look for help.

John Greenwood, Chippenham, Wilts