By Sophie Cross Community Did you know you could volunteer from home as an accountant? 2 Dec 2021 Your accountancy skills are highly sought after by many charities and community groups, so if it’s something you’re considering, how do you find the right volunteer role to get involved with? In many volunteering positions it will be possible to work remotely so you needn’t necessarily be restricted by location or accessibility. There will be lots of roles where meetings can be done via phone or video call and the work can be done flexibly and at a time that suits you. The benefits of volunteering your finance and business skills It’s important to find a role that’s right for you, where you feel that you can contribute but also that you’re gaining advantages on top of the feel-good factor. They could be: Increased self-confidence and self-esteem Work experience across a different role or sector Developing new skills Dealing with new challenges and problem-solving Meeting new people and building relationships Improving your CV What types of volunteering roles could you do? As an AAT member, your accountancy skills will really be valued, especially in budgeting, control of costs, forecasting and assessing the viability of business decisions. This will be true whatever stage you’re at in your finance journey so don’t think there won’t be a role suitable for your level or that you’re not qualified enough yet – you will be a worthwhile addition to the right role. There are some rules that need to be adhered to when providing services on a voluntary basis which are outlined here. Volunteer finance roles that are available include: Bookkeeping Budget committee Treasurer Trustee Board of Directors There are some rules that need to be adhered to when providing services on a voluntary basis which are outlined here. How do I find volunteering opportunities? Think about what you are interested in, what excites you and the skills that you want or want to offer. Think about what you’d like to get out of it and then start doing some research. Take a look online or around your local area as to the sort of volunteering opportunities that are available. Go online and check out: The National Business Response Network (NBRN) gets urgent resources to the communities that need them the most The national volunteering database connecting volunteers to a wide range of organisations CharityJob is the UK’s largest and most specialised job board for the not-for-profit sector Reach Volunteering – a national organisation focused on placing skilled volunteers into placements such as trusteeships Volunteer Matters build community volunteer programmes that focus on health and wellbeing Team London is the Mayor of London’s volunteering team Look at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations Consider becoming a charity trustee with How Charities Work Governors for Schools’ often say they are keen for volunteers with finance backgrounds If you’re interested in getting involved in opportunities in your local area, these might be some good places to start depending on what your areas of interest are: Find your local Volunteer Centre See if any community events need volunteers Find local charities and community interest companies (CICs) Talk to local sports clubs See if there are any charities that help people with their personal finances Volunteer as a mentor for a start-up scheme that offers support to people who want to set up their own business or are in the early stages “Start Small Think Big would not be who we are without our volunteers. Finance volunteer Justin Sabatino has provided financial clarity to, and worked directly with, small business owners on their entrepreneurial endeavours, including during the pandemic. It’s also always great to hear that our volunteers like Justin find this work to be challenging yet rewarding. His pro bono work has challenged him to explain and apply financial concepts on different scales across different businesses, which has improved his communication and overall business acumen. – Start Small Think Big Why should companies encourage their employees to volunteer? If you’re an employer, offering paid time-off for volunteering work can be a great way to attract and retain staff. It will help with giving a sense of purpose and will demonstrate that your business is socially or community-focused. If you’re an employee, it might be worth asking your company if this is something that they already do or would consider. Tips for volunteering As a volunteer, you should set clear boundaries for yourself in terms of when you’ll work, how much you’ll do and what you’ll do. Have a conversation with the organisation about the commitment they expect you to make. You should be always be treated with respect as a volunteer and the organisation should offer to pay any expenses you incur as a minimum. You might have to try several volunteering roles before you find the one that’s right for you. Further reading AAT’s rules for volunteering The healing power of volunteering at work How to write a CV with no experience Introducing corporate social responsibility into the workplace Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.