Community accounting for non-profits restarted

Prof Whiting says the service has proven to be of great value both to students and non-profit groups. Photo: University of Otago
Prof Whiting says the service has proven to be of great value both to students and non-profit groups. Photo: University of Otago

The popular Dunedin Community Accounting service is relaunching with free sessions for non-profit organisations from next week.

A joint initiative of the University of Otago and Sport Otago, the accountancy advice service is co­ordinated on their behalf by Dunedin­based charity Weave Together.

The service receives funding through a Dunedin City Council community grant.

The service is delivered by senior accountancy students from the University of Otago, under the supervision of volunteer chartered accountants.

University of Otago department of accountancy Assoc Prof Ros Whiting has been involved with Dunedin Community Accounting since it began in 2009, and oversees the service’s operation with Sport Otago community sport manager Alan Nicholls.

Prof Whiting says the service has proven to be of great value both to students and non-profit groups.

‘‘It really is beneficial all-round, helping teach community group treasurers how to keep their accounts effectively,’’ Prof Whiting said.

‘‘It is also valuable for the students, who gain real-life experience in dealing one-on-one with clients, and who also get to work closely with chartered accountants.’’

The supervising chartered accountants also enjoyed the experience of mentoring the young people, Prof Whiting said.

Since its inception, Dunedin Community Accounting has helped more than 100 non-profit groups with everything from setting up a simple tracking system for income and outgoings, to learning about the role of treasurer and setting a budget.

The groups accessing the service have included many sporting groups and clubs, cultural groups, university clubs, and other small groups.

Formerly under the umbrella of the now-defunct Connect South, the service went into recess when that organisation collapsed last year, Prof Whiting said.
‘‘So the students are very keen to be part of it this year, and we have 35 students enrolled to take part,’’ she said.

‘‘Everyone is excited to have the service up and going again.’’

The accountancy advice service has proved so successful that the model has been copied by Massey University, which offers a service from its Albany campus.

A training day for the accountancy students is planned for Saturday, and the sessions for non-profit groups will start on Monday.

Sessions will be held each Monday evening and every second Wednesday lunchtime.

Non-profits looking to have their accountancy questions answered can book a slot by emailing kiaora@dca.org.nz or phone 0800 113-160. As well as the sessions, the students will be running workshops later in the year.

BRENDA.HARWOOD@thestar.co.nz 

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