Chart your path with Charterpath

Alastair Paterson our consultant managing the role
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A guest article from Alice Clementi, co-founder of Charterpath - inspiring more accountants to volunteer their time and skills to the non-profit sector

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Why did we launch Charterpath?

Did you know only an estimated 10% of accountants volunteer their time and expertise to non-profits? Charterpath is on a mission to make this 50%.


As a result of the pandemic, the non-profit sector is facing unprecedented challenges. 1 in 3 charities has had to make redundancies, 1 in 10 have warned of potential failure…yet 75% have experienced an increase in demand for their services.  It doesn’t take an accountant to do the maths on this!  Their financial challenges are only set to worsen with the current cost of living crisis and the continued need for charities to do more with less.

Volunteers with financial skills are constantly in demand.   The training which accountants receive is so broad that it allows them to contribute to everything from budgeting, book-keeping, preparation of accounts, strategic planning, fundraising applications, process and control reviews, risk assessments, and more!  In many small and medium-sized charities these tasks are often performed by individuals with no formal accounting training who are also responsible for operations, HR, legal and so on. Any time that a qualified accountant can give pro bono tends to be a big value-add.

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Studies have found that 80% of volunteers have reported improved communication, influencing & relationship skills and 68% noted greater motivation at work.


There are over 180,000 charities in the UK and an estimated 380,000 accountants, so there should be more than enough to go around. However non-profits consistently report a challenge in finding volunteers with financial skills. Many large corporates nowadays offer ‘charity days’ allowing their employees to volunteer their time without having to use precious holiday allowance. However, the take up of these days is less than 20% and more often than not is used for general volunteering (e.g. litter picking) rather than leveraging professional skills.  The shortage of volunteers coming through puts more pressure on those who do get involved, and then the lack of successors often dissuades volunteers from repeating their experience.

On top of this, like the for-profit sector, there is also a quest for diverse candidates and those with lived experiences of the issues that the charities are trying to resolve. It won’t come as a surprise that the average trustee of a UK charity is over 50, white, male and of above average income.  Whilst lawyers undertake pro bono work as part of their qualification, accountants tend to stumble across volunteering by accident or only start looking for roles once they have retired.

What's in it for you?

The irony is that volunteering provides huge benefits to the individual as well as to the local community. It allows volunteers to develop new skills, grow their professional network, broaden their horizons and improve their well-being. It is a win:win. So why aren’t more accountants volunteering? It appears to be a combination of too much work, lack of awareness of the benefits, and also not knowing where to start. Many accountants are concerned about their lack of previous charity experience, yet their knowledge is extremely transferable and there are some brilliant resources out there to support them 

Alex Marsh and I founded Charterpath to try and change this – and increase the number of accountants volunteering from 10% to 50%. Our aim is to Inspire more accountants to volunteer, Connect them with relevant opportunities and training resources and Engage with accounting institutes to embed volunteering as the status-quo for all accountants. We are looking to provide a central platform for accountants looking to volunteer - be that training for the non-profit sector, sharing inspirational stories from other accountant volunteers, or promoting current opportunities.  Through this we aim to build an engaged community of volunteer accountants to support and encourage one another in volunteer roles.

We have been delighted with the response since we launched our website 12 months ago, with over 1,000 accountants joining our community across social media channels, over 120 signed up Charterpath volunteers, and 24 accountants already matched with non-profits. What’s more, 45% of our volunteers are female, over 40% non-white and over 50% under the age of 35 – representing the diversity which non-profits are looking for! Despite no formal advertising, we have been inundated with requests for non-profits to help them find volunteers with accounting and finance skills.

Join the Charterpath community 

Are you looking for a way to give back? To stand out from your peers? To improve your mental health? Don’t doubt the difference you can make. Learn more about our partnership with Charterpath to find out how you can chart your path into the non-profit sector and use your skills for good. We promise you, you won’t regret it!

Alternatively, discover more about Marks Sattin's partnership with Charterpath here


03/10/22
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