I first started supporting ICAEW when I moved to Dubai in 2005. I would often speak to students at schools and universities about careers, and I soon realised there was very little awareness of the ACA among young people. While the qualification was highly respected by fellow professionals and business leaders, back then students in Dubai did not appreciate its true potential. So, I made it my goal to raise awareness of the ACA and ICAEW. At the time, there was no regional office in Dubai, but the marketing team were very helpful – they would send me giveaways that I could distribute to students. Over the years, ICAEW set up its own office, and now does an excellent job of raising awareness itself!
Today, I am involved in several initiatives to help narrow the expectations gap, and also serve as a committee member for the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Community. Working in the public interest underscores the work that all us volunteers do. It could be offering technical support to community members, or just providing independent advice or support. We’re a fun bunch, so a lot of our members and volunteers end up socialising together and becoming friends. Dubai is such a wonderful tourism hub that there are always people visiting, and it’s nice to catch up over a coffee or meal.
Volunteering is an investment – one that’s proven to give returns
As a typical accountant, I like to think of volunteering as an investment: one that’s proven to give returns. You get a lot back, not least the opportunity to network with people outside your usual circle. It offers a great foundation for your career, and adds stability too – it gives you a new perspective and helps you develop a different kind of vision. It’s also a great way to learn about ethics and integrity outside the workplace – it’s helped me to understand and appreciate ICAEW’s role in regulating its members and the profession.
As the Institute celebrates its 150th birthday, there is no better time to give back. Like all good things in life, don’t overdo it: give what time and energy you can, without neglecting your other priorities. You won’t regret it.