Volunteering your accountancy skills

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Charities value your accountancy skills – here are some ways you can get involved.

This International Volunteer Day we’re talking about the ways you can use your knowledge and skills outside of work. AAT members make up a huge community of talented, interesting people from all walks of life, and already contribute to all sorts of causes. Here’s where you might be needed.

What types of volunteering roles could you do?

Your skills are highly valuable in areas such as budgeting, forecasting and analysing whether business decisions could work. Whatever your qualification level, you’re a boon to charities in the right role. Before providing accounting services, though, there are some rules you must adhere to.

Where to look

Volunteer finance roles to look out for include bookkeeping, becoming a treasurer, trustee or sitting on a board of directors or budget committee.

Skill-matching sites

The National Business Response Network connects business resources (from skills such as bookkeeping to hardware such as laptops) with the communities that need them.

Similarly, Reach Volunteering helps you find charities that need the skills you offer.

How Charities Work/NCVO helps charities find trustees.

What you could do

School governor

School governors oversee schools’ financial spending and performance, taking part in procurement, planning capital projects and calculating staffing costs. Who’s better placed for such a role than an accountant? You can contact Governors for Schools for more information.

AAT branch events

You don’t have to venture far in your search. At AAT we have 40 branches across the UK, which run thanks to the efforts of about 250 volunteers. You could be one of them.

Branch volunteers plan and organise free events to help local members with their continued professional development (CPD) and obtain further qualifications. Roles can include treasurer, secretary or student liaison officer. Volunteering builds up experience in planning and public speaking (if you so desire) and provides a great networking opportunity. Contact your local AAT branch or email the Branch Network team at [email protected] if you’re interested in getting involved.

Here’s how Eve Jones FMAAT became chair of her local branch.

AAT Council

Every year, we also ask people to stand for AAT Council, to help us broaden our skillset and better represent our membership base. This election, we received a record 28 nominations for Council – a feat we’d love to repeat next year, so please keep an eye out for the 2024 round of nominations and votes.

AAT Tutors

It might seem strange to include a paid job in an article on volunteering, but a number of tutors started off when they were studying themselves, and realised they enjoyed helping fellow learners understand the course.

Tutors make a real difference to their students, whether they are school leavers, career changers or mature students. Their support, guidance and enthusiasm help people start their accountancy careers. Here’s how you can get involved with tutoring.

What’s in it for you?

Volunteering is a generous gesture, but you can benefit from it too. By getting out there and working with charities, you are developing skills that can flesh out your CV and progress your career. You also have the chance to network and find new job opportunities. Depending on what you end up doing, you could develop power skills such as presenting and public speaking, leadership, and problem solving.

The most important effect, though, might be one Mark Clayton experienced: “All this philanthropic work has definitely made me happier. The more you help others, the more you start to see goodness everywhere”.

AAT President Kevin Bragg agrees. “Volunteering is such a rewarding thing to do. It’s a win-win situation. You feel good about giving and the recipient is grateful for receiving also.

“As people and accountants, we are well-placed to be able to volunteer our time and services. Be this through giving our services to charities, AAT Branches, coaching and mentoring AAT members and students or just advising someone thinking of joining our professional community.

“My theme this year, as you know, is ’employability’. I believe volunteering and giving back can only enhance your career and your CV to prospective employers.”

Cat Hall is AAT Content Editor, members and technical .

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