Educator Edition — Free Tools For Teaching Accounting

Accounting-Related Service Opportunities for Students

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Helping students reach their full potential is something you strive to do every day in your classroom. But your positive influence doesn’t stop when they walk out your door. There are lots of opportunities for students to explore and grow their interest in accounting beyond traditional accounting classes—and you can be the one to let students know about them. 

In addition to being a great way to get real-world experience, taking advantage of volunteer opportunities like these look great on résumés and college applications. Here’s a list to share of ways your students can get more involved in accounting and their communities.

Within your school, students could:

- Serve as treasurer for a school organization. Whether it’s the Film Club, the Spirit Committee or student council, serving as a treasurer gives students the ability to prove that they’re responsible and can handle being in charge of money other than their own. It also allows them to combine their interests with their accounting skills, just like in the real world.

- Join the Accounting Club, or start your own. Being involved with an accounting-focused organization on campus shows interest in accounting as a career. Being elected as an officer—or starting an accounting club from scratch, if your school doesn’t have one—shows even more interest in the profession, and leadership skills to boot. (Another great way to show interest in accounting is by joining an accounting organization, such as BPA, DECA or FLBA.)

- Work the concession stand. Sporting events aren’t just for fun, they’re also big money makers. Volunteering at a concession stand shows students how to keep track of money and inventory, as well as work on their communication skills by interacting with the public. They might also be able to learn about the art of ordering just the right amount of inventory, if they ask.

- Apply for a grant. There’s money out there to be had—if you know where to find it and how to get it. Obtaining a grant for your classroom, school or favorite program—regardless of the amount—is a great way for students to show initiative, resourcefulness and an ability to see what is needed to find a solution. 

- Work with the school bookkeeper. Students can ask the administration if they would be willing to take on an apprentice for the bookkeeping. This would not only serve as an additional learning opportunity to grow their accounting skills, but also teach them about how organizations are run, financially speaking.

- Tutor a fellow accounting student. For those who have a strong grasp of accounting principles, providing help to other students is a great way to spend their time. Assisting others in understanding accounting shows leadership skills, compassion and also helps to further solidify understanding of the subject matter for the tutors themselves.

- Take inventory of school equipment. It could be the science lab, band hall or the even the cafeteria—but wherever there’s any kind of inventory, the school might need help keeping up with it. Students can categorize and count what’s there, then compare it to the last inventory to show any discrepancies. This exercise showcases attention to detail and initiative.

In their communities, students can:

- Organize a food drive. Students can pick a local group that needs food and decide what kind of food drive they want to organize. They’ll not only be responsible for setting a location and finding volunteers to receive the donations, but also getting the word out and managing other volunteers. Strong leadership skills and the ability to multitask are a big part of pulling off a successful food drive—especially as the sole point person.  

- Do inventory for a local non-profit. Even non-profits that don’t offer products, per se, can still use free help from students. Counting brochures and other printed materials that an organization uses to compare how much they have on hand with how much they need—or any kind of inventory for that matter—displays patience and attention to detail. 

- Organize a fundraiser. Have your students pick a cause that’s important to them and then organize a fundraiser to benefit an organization serving that cause. Fundraisers come in all shapes and sizes, so encourage them to get creative with it—and not only document how much they were able to raise but how many people helped as well, to showcase their ability to lead.

- Teach budgeting to people on fixed incomes. Contact a program that serves low- or fixed-income people who need help and offer to work with their clients. Students can choose to sit down with people one-on-one, or as a class, to walk them through the steps involved in creating a budget. It’s a great way to give back that can have a positive impact on the people they teach.

- Speak about financial literacy. Students can reach out to middle school math teachers and offer to give a presentation to their class about financial literacy. The younger people are when they learn the importance of understanding financial matters, the more likely they are to be fiscally responsible as adults—so this is a great way to pay it forward. HINT: FeedThePig.org is a great resource. (Another option would be to talk about accounting as a career choice.)

These ideas are just the beginning. Use this list to help engage your accounting students and get them thinking about the many ways accounting is a part of everything around us. Have your students come up with other ideas for accounting-related volunteer opportunities—and if you do, please share them with us by emailing startheregoplaces@aicpa.org. You can also post pics of students getting involved using #SHGPActsOfAccounting.