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Morgan McArthur — I recommend volunteering for early career finance professionals
Studying for ICAEW ACA since 2022
Audit Associate, PwC
Treasurer, The British Youth Council Previously: Officer Trustee (Chair of Trading and Finance Committee), Sheffield Students Union
“When I see the events which my charity puts on for young people, fulfilling the purpose we’re all involved for, it’s humbling to think I was a cog somewhere in the process of helping a young person thrive.”
How and why did you get involved in the non-profit sector / specific charity / volunteering?
I took part in the National Citizen Service when I was 15, which gave me the opportunity to meet some of my still closest friends and we raised money for a local sports charity. When my mum became a Trustee for a Breast Cancer Reconstruction Support charity, I learnt more about the governance side of charity volunteering. Following my languages degree at the University of Sheffield I was elected into a student officer role at the SU, which I very quickly found out was also a Trustee role leading on finances! I joined The British Youth Council’s Trustee Board as their Treasurer in 2021, as I wanted work with like minded young people to bring about change. I loved the skills I gained with charity finances from the both the boards, which lead me to joining PwC’s Audit graduate scheme and studying towards ICAEW’s ACA qualification.
What do you most enjoy about volunteering?
There’s so many things, but I’d say the range of people from all walks of life who you get to meet! There isn’t a typical day in my experience of volunteering, which means it’s really exciting to approach new challenges, and work with new people. It also feels amazing to relate my real life work experience in my qualification to my volunteering usefully, and see the impact which that has on what happens in the charity. I also think it’s wonderful to feel part of something wider. When I see the events which my charity puts on for young people, fulfilling the purpose we’re all involved for, it’s humbling to feel that I was a cog somewhere in the process of helping a young person thrive.
What has been your greatest impact / proudest moment as a volunteer?
Greatest impact from a finance perspective, it was probably leading the most recent auditor recruitment processes at both of the Trustee Boards I have served on. Even though I was very new to both the boards, I was able to use what I learnt about finance alongside the other skills you gain in volunteering such as leadership and communication, to build stronger relationships for the charities and auditors. I felt it had a great impact as I was able to bring into the charity auditors who really cared about the causes of the charities, and with the Trustee Board I’m still Treasurer for, seeing the process from start to present has allowed for continuity and opportunities to develop more.
Proudest moment from a charity perspective, it was concluding our Trustee Recruitment process last year. We had so many talented and passionate under 25 year olds who had been impacted or inspired by the charity to apply to our Trustee Board, and really put into perspective how much the hard work and hours we put into volunteering coming together had an impact and gave back to these young people, and I felt proud of the work our team had done that year, paving the way for the incoming year.
What has been the toughest time / experience volunteering?
Becoming a Trustee for two organisations whilst still experiencing the impacts of COVID-19 was tough, ultimately trying to serve the people who your charity supports, versus navigating the world coming out of a global pandemic and the realities which that brought in terms of finances and opportunities.
How have your accountancy skills specifically made a positive impact in your volunteering?
There’s so much that I’ve been able to implement into my charity volunteering even though I started the ACA only 6 months ago. We’re very lucky to have a young Trustee Board with a diverse range of expertise, and using my accountancy skills has been helpful especially around our budget time, and it means that I can feel like a confident bridge between meaningful conversations with our auditors and accountants, and empowering young trustees from non finance backgrounds to make decisions for the charity. Even being confident in understanding the figures can reassure other Trustees.
What have you learnt from your time volunteering?
Every volunteer can bring so much to a charity, and even a single day can make a difference! Practically, it’s made me much more confident in my work as I’m able to understand the charity sector more, I can work effectively with board minutes, understand management organisational structures, the importance of delving deep into what is important for the organisation to work and different accounting softwares, but more widely it changes the way I view my time, it’s helped me establish a better balance. It’s also allowed me to better understand the working relationships between charities, accountants and auditors, which gives me a valuable and more unique perspective to my qualification learning.
What would be your one piece of advice / top tip for accountants looking to volunteer?
Definitely go for it! Volunteering makes a huge difference, and even more so with your financial skills, as finance personnel are key to charities! I’d especially recommend volunteering for early career finance professionals as my volunteering has kickstarted and regularly boosted my exposure and understanding of real world finances and how I can be a better auditor.
How do you think we can get more accountants volunteering?
I think it’s so important to understanding both what opportunities are there for accountants to volunteer, and also what accountants can get out of volunteering, and get the best balance possible through speaking with employers, organisations and charities. There are so many charities looking for volunteers, so finding a cause which you are passionate about is really important for feeling like you can get the most out of volunteering. This is why I’m really excited to see Charterpath bridging that gap!