I have spent 25 years of my corporate life working for a global pharmaceutical company and a global management consultancy, and I currently work in the City.
I wanted to look at other ways of using my skills. I considered the idea of volunteering during an extended holiday.
I contacted Accounting for International Development, which offered me the chance to work at the Women’s Resource Centre (WRC), a drop-in centre for women in Siem Reap.
Having previously spent time in Siem Reap, close to the Unesco world heritage site, Angkor Wat, I decided to take up this role.
The fundamental task involved improving the accounting of the WRC, where women could discuss their issues and feelings in groups, or individually with peer counsellors, as well as benefiting from a researched referral system that helps them to obtain the support and care they need at other partner agencies.
This initially meant assessing the cashbook, which was sent to me in advance, setting up a budgeting and monthly reporting model and training local staff.
This process is vital for the WRC to attract new donors, who require two years of financial information from charities in order to make funding decisions, and also for building the capacity of local staff so they were able to use their newly acquired accounting skills once my placement ended.
At first, I found it a little difficult because the working environment was a lot more relaxed than what I was used to.
But, after a couple of days, I was able to settle in and complete a full financial audit that would allow another volunteer accountant to follow up three to six months later and provide further accounting tools and training as required.
I found the experience of working in a developing country hugely rewarding and would certainly do it again. It was great to be able to help less fortunate people in their daily lives and I really enjoyed interacting with the locals.
Without the CIMA qualification, which provided me with the training and knowledge to advance my accounting career in leading organisations in the UK, I wouldn’t have been able to join the programme.
Photo: Getty Images
Improving women’s lives in Cambodia
Name: Patricia Roach
Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia (pictured)
Start date: December 2012
End date: January 2013
Company: Accounting for International Development (AfID)
Role: Volunteer accountant
Industry: IT and professional services
Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
CIMA qualified: 1993
[AfID by numbers]
charities and NPOs supported
countries across Africa, Asia and South America.
AfID has placed more than
- Business ethics 
- Career talk 
- Corporate finance 
- Law and regulation 
- Management accounting 
- Networking and social 
- Professional development 
- Reporting and Governance 
- Risk management 
- Strategic management-economics 
- Studying CIMA 
- Sustainability 
- Technology 
- Studying Exam E1 
- Studying Exam E2 
- Studying Exam E3 
- Studying Exam F1 
- Studying Exam F2 
- Studying Exam F3 
- Studying Exam P1 
- Studying Exam P2 
- Studying Exam P3 
- Studying Exam T4 
- Studying Exam C02 
- Studying Exam C03