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Charity Community

Volunteering for a charity or not-for-profit organisations

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 would like to volunteer for a charity or not-for-profit organisation, 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. 

Code of Ethics

If you are volunteering, as an ICAEW member, you need to follow 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.


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. 

From November 2023, ICAEW will be introducing a new policy that will give members greater clarity when it comes to Continuing Professional Development. 

Practising Certificates

If you volunteer, consult the ICAEW statement on engaging in public practice to check if the voluntary activity requires you to have a practising certificate.

Generally, 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 financial or equivalent value reward of less than £100 per assignment.

  • provide accountancy services to a small charitable, community, religious or sporting body, or to similar bodies of a non profit-making nature, whose gross income is less than £250,000; or
  • act as independent examiner to a small entity (as described above) that is not required to be audited.

For the purposes of a practicing certificate, accountancy services are defined in Annex 1 of the ICAEW statement on engaging in public practice.

ICAEW support

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

ICAEW Trustee Training Modules – our online course is free to access, allowing you to reinforce and enhance your knowledge of the legal and financial responsibilities of charity trustees. The modules will give you with a deeper understanding of the trustees’ role in setting the charity’s strategy, risk management and impact measurement, and will prompt you to reflect on your charity’s board dynamics and key relationships.

The course consists of six interactive modules which you can fit in around your other commitments. You also have the option to complete a multiple-choice assessment at the end to receive a certificate.

Charity Community – a community focused on supporting finance professionals in their paid and voluntary roles in or with the charity and voluntary sector. Membership is free and open to everyone, including non-ICAEW members. It provides regular e-newsletters, discounts on ICAEW charity events and a free webinar series to keep you up-to-date with the latest technical and sector developments. The Charity Community is free and open to everyone, including non-ICAEW members.

ICAEW Volunteers – a site enabling you to search and apply for volunteering roles in the not-for-profit sector All charities and not-for-profit organisations can advertise voluntary roles for free on ICAEW Volunteers.

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.
  • CABA helpline (+44 (0)1788 556 366): Supporting past and present ICAEW members, ICAEW staff, ACA students and their close families from across the globe – see the range of services available on our CABA partner page and CABA – The charity supporting chartered accountants’ wellbeing.

Further resources