Read AfID Volunteer Kim Coogan's story in the CPA Australia magazine11.08.2015

Accounting and finance skills tick all the boxes for this volunteer in Cambodia.

Kim Coogan CPA uses her accounting smarts to help others, but she’s also upskilling herself, writes Troy Douglas.

Using her accounting and finance skills as a volunteer in a developing country ticked all the boxes for Kim Coogan CPA. “I love travel and had this idea that I’d like to live and work in another country. And it seemed if you were going to do that, it would be good to use the skills and experience you have in that capacity,” she says. “You can’t help but be grateful for the fact that, by accident of birth, you’re born in Australia rather than some of these other countries – how different your life would be.”

Coogan has just embarked on her third trip to Cambodia, this time on a paid venture following two volunteer roles. Her first volunteer posting to the country came in 2013 with Accounting for International Development (AfID), an organisation which believes that skilled volunteering is a socially responsible and cost-effective way for accountants to build their skills while allowing community groups in developing countries to access a vast pool of talent.

For three weeks, Coogan worked at a school that taught traditional music and dance to children. She helped implement controls around cash flow and budgeting, and she mentored a young local bookkeeper.

“You felt as if you really could make a difference. Something we would regard as small improvements, like helping someone with a spreadsheet, they just don’t always have the resources to otherwise have that knowledge,” she says.

This article is from the May 2015 issue of INTHEBLACK.