For anyone who may have turned away from volunteering thinking that it’s a selfless act that comes with low return on investment – you are only half right.
Serial ICAEW volunteer worker and partner at Albert Goodman Sophie Parkhouse says that “for everything that I give I get more back”. Close to home Parkhouse supports the South West District Society, as part of which she chairs the South West Technical Advisory Group. Nationally, she sits on the central ICAEW Practice Committee and the Financial Reporting Board. She is also an ICAEW Support Member providing free, confidential and non-judgemental support to chartered accountants in difficulty.
“I get so much out of each of the voluntary roles that I undertake,” Parkhouse says. “Some of the roles boost my technical knowledge, which supports me with my role at Albert Goodman. I also widen my professional network, meaning I have a wider reference point should I need support And I get to influence the future of the profession and make a difference to people.”
Through the Practice Committee, Parkhouse is party to developments within ICAEW and the profession and has an opportunity to provide input on their potential impact on people in practice and offer suggestions as to how ICAEW may be able to support practitioners of all sizes.
Practice Committee meetings generally take up a day every quarter, factoring in preparation and attendance. Similarly, the Financial Reporting Board equates to a day a quarter.
Parkhouse hadn’t done any volunteering until she joined Albert Goodman in 2016, and she was spurred on by one of the firm’s values – to be community focussed and to collaborate to achieve.
“The further I get through my career, the more I realise we can’t have the answers to everything. Being able to draw upon a wide range of professionals with varied experience and working within different organisations is invaluable in terms of being able to fulfil my role,” she adds.
ACA student volunteers
Volunteering as a student comes with all the usual benefits of networking and developing confidence, plus the added bonus of additional support during stressful exam periods. Kiara Hudson, ACA Associate at Hillier Hopkins LLP is currently the Treasurer at BBH – the Chartered Accountants’ Student Society. It’s her job to set up meetings, write minutes, organise events and manage the money held by the society.
Hudson says: “The networking opportunities with other students is great and getting to know other firms’ cultures and personalities really helps to understand what students need across the counties. It’s great to get to know others that are in the same boat as me, exam-wise, and it is a good support and friendship bubble.”
Yajna Christna, Fund Administration Officer at MCB Capital Markets, says her voluntary role as a Social Media Ambassador in the ACA Mauritius Student Community has helped her develop new skills that take her above and beyond her accountancy training.
In this volunteering role Christna is responsible for the development of social media strategy in accordance with ICAEW brand guidelines on Facebook and LinkedIn. “This has allowed me to develop some additional skills in terms of marketing and social media presence, which you wouldn’t typically find in an ACA Trainee Chartered Accountant. I feel very excited to be leading this role as it is different from my day to day job which consists of number crunching and financial analysis,” she says.
Christna feels it’s a great privilege to be one of the first student ambassadors who have set up the Mauritius Student Society, the first of its kind on the island. “I chose to be part of this amazing team so I could organise events that could benefit the whole ACA Mauritius community,” she adds.
Volunteer at ICAEW
- If you're an ACA student, why not get involved with volunteer work for your local student society? There are societies across the UK and internationally. Learn more at our Student Societies hub.
- icaew.com/volunteers provides information on volunteering and supporting the ICAEW Student Recruitment team.
- Other ways to volunteer include serving on our councils, boards, committees and your local groups and district societies who run events and provide access to local accounting updates. Your feedback and insight will help us shape ICAEW activity and strategy.
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