If you need a temporary change, permanent change, or just feel the need to do something more meaningful, UK based Accounting for International Development (AfID) is your answer. This organization offers all types of accountants opportunities to use their skills to work with a large spectrum of non-profit organizations across the world. AfID has opportunities ranging anywhere from 2 weeks to 12+months and even permanent positions. The organization has placed around 1,000 accountants in opportunities in 45 countries.
“Our volunteers could be budgeting with a street child centre in Kampala (Uganda), coaching a hospital bookkeeper in Kigali (Rwanda) or financial reporting for a primary school in Kathmandu (Nepal).” – AfID
Essentially many small NGOs and grassroots organizations are functioning on extremely tight budgets with very few skilled workers to do the accounting tasks need for the complex reporting requirements, budget tracking, and record keeping.
“In many ways the role of our volunteers is therefore often much more about consultation and mentoring rather than day to day accounting. Real sustainable impact can be achieved in a far shorter timeframe than that of traditional broad focused volunteer placements. This means volunteering is now a realistic prospect for employed, career-minded professionals.” – AfID
Here is a summarized version of the requirements according to AfID:
You need to have excellent communication skills with fluency in written and spoken English and bags of initiative, resourcefulness, honesty, patience and of course compassion.
You will also need to tick at least one of these. Please note it is not essential to be a qualified accountant
3 to 5 or more years relevant work experience
Membership or affiliation to a UK accounting institute e.g. ICAEW, ICAS, ACCA, CIPFA, CIMA
Membership or affiliation to an overseas accounting institute e.g. CA, CMA , CGA Canada; HKICPA; CPA, ICAA Australia; NZICA; CPA US
Part-Qualified or AAT Accounting Technician with 5 or more years relevant work experience
More detailed information here.
This is a truly unique opportunity for accountants that want to do something off the beaten and give back to the world. There are plenty of opportunities like this for those in medical professions, however, it is not too often that accounting skill sets are sought after to help with international development opportunities.
Check out this assignment a CPA from a major public accounting firm worked on:
Matt was the first AfID volunteer to work with Amigos de Santa Cruz and spent two weeks supporting the local team.
“Matt first examined the internal processes around cash management to ensure they had proper policies, procedures and controls in place to prevent or detect significant misappropriation of cash. He then looked at more specific policies such as their revised travel and expenses policy which was going to be rolled out to all employees.
Matt worked with the administrative assistant, who is the main person making entries into QuickBooks, on areas of improvement. This included the setting up of recurring transactions, custom reporting and accruals. The budgets were reviewed with the program coordinators and Matt helped develop tools and templates to help in the budgeting process and trained the coordinators of each program in its use.
Through discussions it was determined that the shop and cafe should be treated as separate entities, and Matt provided recommendations as to how these entities should be kept separate from the organisations overall accounting. He also worked directly with the shop and cafe coordinators on future cash flows and budgets for 2016.” –AfID
If you truly want to give back or at least do something crazy unique with your accounting degree give AfID a thought. Not only will you truly be helping a great cause, but you will also be learning new skills that will continue to help your career. It is also a great ice breaker or talking point for your resume.