Arne (ACCA)

New Employer

East Africa

SimGas offers affordable, high-quality biogas systems for household use. Biogas systems use manure and organic waste to produce gas for cooking and fertilizer to nourish your plants.


Career Changer

Arne (ACCA) Name
Arne (ACCA)
Finance Manager

Having been interested in entering the international development sector for a while, Arne decided to get in touch with AfID. Now working in the sector, we got in touch to ask him whether he thinks his time volunteering in Kenya was really worth it...


Can you tell us a little about your current role at SimGas?

I work as the Finance Manager at SimGas for their East African business and I manage everything from accounting to controlling or cash management.


Many accountants worry about the transferability of their skills when moving to a new country and sector; have you found any specific experience from your past roles have been particularly relevant?

I think being open-minded for new challenges is the most important factor as the skill-set we are taught and use on a daily basis in our jobs in Europe are a very good asset also in East Africa. e.g. usage of Kenyan GAAP is very similar to IFRS.


How easy was it to adapt to living and working in a different culture when volunteering?

It’ll take some time for sure however if you follow some rules (especially when it comes to security) you should be absolutely fine. Another thing I think is important is being aware of a different working culture in general - this was probably the biggest challenge at the beginning of my assignment.


Why did you choose to work in the International Development sector?

Having never worked in this sector before, on one hand it was the challenge of this in itself as well as wanting fulfilment in my work.


Do you feel your voluntary experience with AfID helped you gain your role at SimGas and prepare for life in your new role? If so, how?

Yes for sure! After my assignment was over, I stayed in East Africa and this was extremely influential in getting the job.


What is your most memorable moment on your volunteering placement through AfID?

I met lots of new people, people I am lucky enough to call my friends now. It also changed my views in many things as well and gave me lots of valuable impressions and memories which I won’t forget.


What would you say are the pros & cons of your decision to work in the sector?

You give up a certain level of comfort and (compared to Germany) job security is not as high but apart from that it gives you a great chance to widen your horizons.

What would be your advice to other accountants considering a similar career change or looking to break into the sector?

It’s a great experience and is worth taking, even if you only have a few weeks or months to spare. Don’t let doubts such as “I won’t earn anything during that life span” or “It might not look good on my CV” affect your decision because the positives outweigh the negative in almost every way.