In November 2023 we were delighted to host a group of volunteers from community groups and charities local to our London office and members of Community Southwark, for a session to learn basic accountancy skills which will allow them to better support their organisations.
Case Study: Corporate Skills Volunteering with Katie- Harvard Taylor
Community Southwark is supporting corporate employees to volunteer their professional skills for the benefit of voluntary and community groups across the borough. Based on our new partnership with them, they spoke to our Audit Director, Katie Harvard-Taylor, to reflect on her recent skills volunteering experience.
Why did you want to volunteer your professional skills?
Skills volunteering goes beyond giving time; it’s about providing expertise for meaningful and lasting community impact. Recognising the transformative potential of professional skills, I chose to volunteer using my skills as a chartered accountant to support local charitable groups. Unlike traditional volunteering, I felt that leveraging my expertise in this area allowed for a more profound and sustainable impact on the participants and their organisations, equipping them with the accountancy knowledge they need to run their organisations effectively.
What did you do and how did you prepare?
Along with my colleague Deb, I facilitated an accountancy workshop covering financial reporting, systems & controls, tax, and audit for community group representatives who wanted to improve their accountancy knowledge. Thorough preparation involved creating a tailored presentation and researching current challenges among the groups attending. Community Southwark played a crucial role in coordinating and facilitating the process making the day run smoothly so that everyone involved could get the most out of the workshop.
What were your highlights?
Witnessing participants grasp financial concepts and go away with a renewed confidence highlighted the tangible impact of the workshop. Hearing all the positive feedback on the impact that we had was really rewarding. The experience showcased the power of aligning professional skills with community needs.
What top tips would you give to others considering skills volunteering?
The advice I would offer is:
- Identify Unique Skills: Recognise skills that align with community needs.
- Partner with Organisations: Collaborate with volunteer organisations like Community Southwark for meaningful connections.
- Thorough Preparation: Tailor content to address specific challenges, ensuring practical solutions.
- Celebrate Impact: Reflect on positive outcomes, fostering a sense of fulfilment and motivating continued engagement.
“Katie and the whole Hillier Hopkins team were so welcoming to our voluntary and community groups. Katie and Deb facilitated a brilliant workshop in a friendly environment through easy-to-access modules on a range of accountancy skills. They took the time to listen to our members, learn about their missions and challenges, which ensured their key accountancy priorities could be addressed in the most impactful way.”
VCS group feedback:
“The accountancy workshop with Hillier Hopkins was really interactive, and the facilitators were so helpful. The biggest thing I will take away is that accountancy is not as hard as you think once it’s explained properly. It was well worth attending.”
- If you are interested in volunteering your professional skills with voluntary and community groups in Southwark, please contact Phil at email@example.com