More than half of the 2,011 accountants surveyed said they believe ageism affects hiring decisions in the profession, with 48% saying people in the industry find it hard to get either a new job or a promotion after the age of 40.
Half of the respondents of this survey are over the age of 40 and more than a third of this demographic (37%) believe they have missed out on developing their career because they have crossed this age threshold.
According to the research, part of the problem is the perception that many bosses prefer to recruit younger professionals due to lower salary expectations and because they are prepared to put in longer hours.
Some believe companies are looking to "mould" their employees to their requirements and there is a perception that older accountants may not be willing to change the way they work.
Others believe that there is a perception amongst partners and senior management of companies that accountants who are aged over 40 are not up to date on technology advancements.
Simon Wright, operations director at CareersinAudit.com, said, “It is shocking in the 21st century, that the majority of the profession believe age discrimination to be so prevalent.
"HR departments should be scrutinising their equality policies and ensuring that all applicants, regardless of age, are given a detailed breakdown of why they were unsuccessful. Transparency is crucial.”