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Volunteering as an ICAEW member

The purpose of this area is to give you an overview of key membership considerations when thinking about volunteering and also to make you aware of ways in which ICAEW can support you in your volunteering role.

ICAEW membership and considerations

If you are considering retirement and would like to volunteer, there are a number of areas which you will need to be aware of and consider regarding ICAEW membership. The key areas are discussed below.

Free support for retired members 

If you are retired, you are entitled to half rate ICAEW membership and free membership of the Charity and Voluntary Sector Group.

Code of Ethics

If you are volunteering, as an ICAEW member, you need to follow the ICAEW’s Code of Ethics. As a reminder, the Code sets out five fundamental principles, which guide members’ behaviour:

  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Professional competence and due care
  • Confidentiality
  • Professional behaviour

Members are responsible for assessing threats to complying with those principles and for implementing safeguards where those threats are significant. The Code includes a number of Sections covering situations that members might be likely to encounter and suggests, or in some cases, requires, specific courses of action.

CPD

If you volunteer and use your professional and business skills in that role, you will have to complete a declaration of CPD annually as part of the membership renewal process. By doing so you will be confirming that you have kept your learning and development needs under review based on your roles and responsibilities and, where you spotted gaps, you took appropriate action. Appropriate action does not necessarily involve attending courses and conferences - you are free to choose whatever training and development activities work best for you. Your approach to CPD should be one of 'reflect, act, and impact’ and should, as its name suggests, be on an ongoing basis.

If you volunteer and use your professional and business skills in that role, you will have to complete a declaration of CPD annually as part of the membership renewal process. By doing so you will be confirming that you have kept your learning and development needs under review based on your roles and responsibilities and, where you spotted gaps, you took appropriate action. Appropriate action does not necessarily involve attending courses and conferences - you are free to choose whatever training and development activities work best for you. Your approach to CPD should be one of 'reflect, act, and impact’ and should, as its name suggests, be on an ongoing basis.

Practising Certificates

If you volunteer, you will not need a practising certificate if:

a) You act as a director, trustee, treasurer or other officer of an entity (unless the entity is a public practitioner) even if in that role the member provides accountancy service to the entity. Whether or not the office is remunerated is not a consideration.

b) gratuitously or for a nominal amount (which is in the nature of expenses and does not exceed £500 per appointment):

  • provide accountancy services to a small charitable, community, religious or sporting body, or to similar bodies of a non profit-making nature, whose income is less than £250,000 (amended with effect 1 April 2009); or
  • act as auditor to a small entity (as described above) that is not required to be audited by a registered auditor.

(The income limit is the point at which accruals accounting is required for charities and should this change, the limit in this exemption would be changed. If a member undertakes an audit, he should be very careful that he does not represent himself as a registered auditor if this is not the case.)

For the purposes of a practicing certificate, accountancy services are defined as:

  • the preparation of financial records, returns, statements or information; or
  • the provision of consultancy or advice concerning accounting, auditing, insolvency or taxation matters; or
  • the provision of a service that requires a specific licence that the Institute can provide (even if the licence is not obtained from the Institute); or
  • the representation of a client to/before third parties in matters concerning accounting, auditing, insolvency or taxation

c) gratuitously and not in anticipation of reward applies his skills for the private benefit of friends or family does not thereby engage in public practice.

d) gratuitously and not in anticipation of reward applies his or her skills for the benefit of others via an organisation such as a voluntary advice bureau for the public does not thereby engage in public practice.

ICAEW Support

Listed below are some of the ways ICAEW can support you if you decide to volunteer.

Charity & Voluntary Sector Group  – a sector-specific group that provides technical updates, news, best practice guidance, events and networking opportunities. The Group issues bi-monthly newsletter,has exclusive online resources, events and helpsheets will cover all the big issues affecting the sector. In addition, the group coordinates a sector-wide response to policy and legislative changes. The Charity and Voluntary Sector Group is free to retired members and life members.

Volunteering – information on volunteering as a charity trustee, school governor, treasurer and ICAEW’s financial capability initiative in schools and communities is included in the website together with guidance on where to look for volunteering roles.

ICAEW jobs boards – a site enabling you to search and apply for finance and accounting jobs in the not-for-profit sector and advertise voluntary roles to ICAEW members for free.

Talk Charity – this is a free online community aimed at people working in charities or advising charities. Talk Charity is an online community where you can discuss, share and learn from others involved in the charity and voluntary sector. Over 3,000 people have registered since it started in 2007.

As well as being free, here are some of the benefits of registering on Talk Charity:

  • Blog section: read latest updates, opinions from experts on topical issues and share your views. It provides you with an opportunity to have your say and get involved in issues which affect the sector. We are interested in your views.
  • Discussion forum: use the forum to ask a question, resolve a difficult issue and share information, knowledge and experience. Other members registered in Talk Charity will be able to see your question and can provide you with an answer.

Advisory helplines and services  – ICAEW has the following helplines to support you with your issues/queries:

  • Advisory helpline (+44 (0)1908 248 250): Specialist advisory teams provide guidance on technical and ethical issues/queries. Advice is free and confidential.
  • Support members (+44 (0)800 917 3526): Helpline to discuss personal worries about health or family, money troubles or work-related concerns with our volunteer team, who are always on hand to offer assistance.
  • Library enquiry helpline (+44 (0)20 7920 8620): Helps answer your technical and research questions. The enquiry service is available to all ICAEW members and students – simply contact us and we will respond within 24 hours. Most of this service is provided free. The Library will only make charges for document delivery services, any extended research, mailing lists, company reports and other company data.
  • CABA legal helpline (+44 (0)800 107 6163): ICAEW members based in England and Wales have access to a free Legal Helpline, provided by CABA. All areas of personal and business law are covered for whenever you have a legal enquiry.
Articles and helpsheets