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Chartered Accountants build prosperous communities
Sunday Star Times, New Zealand  12 Nov 2017
Business News - page 5 - 454 words - ID 872648051 - Photo: Yes - Type: News Item - Size: 486.00cm2

Accountancy firms across New Zealand support their communities and help them prosper through extensive pro bono work for community and charitable organisations.

The website of Invercargill based accountants Harrex Group carries these words: "Not all values are on a balance sheet".

Founder and principle Brendon Harrex, like the vast majority of accountants who responded to the Sunday Star-Times' survey, is deeply involved in helping his community to thrive.

But for Harrex this should not be at all surprising.

"I don't see our social responsibility as anything more than my social responsibility as a member of the community," he says. "It is part of serving the community we live in." Accountancy firms across New Zealand support their communities and help them prosper through extensive pro bono work for community and charitable organisations.

Accountants can deliver real value to those organisations, says Michael Prasad, director of Auckland based Michael Prasad Group, a supporter of Child Fund New Zealand. They are well suited to fill roles in not-forprofits, he says, bringing discipline, ethics and accountability.

"Think of community organisations when they're handling amounts of money, whether it's large or small, there's a significant risk that good process, procedures and governance are not in place," Prasad says.

Accountants can fill those gaps giving supporters assurance their money is being well managed.

They also help not-for-profits succeed, for example through investing funds to get "more bang for your buck".

For Harrex, the main cause is the Poppycock Trust, an organisation that strives to facilitate better social outcomes through connecting community problems, which often present in schools, with community-based solutions.

"I really like those sort of organisations that are not about throwing money at the problem but are trying to create partnerships that are good for the community," Harrex says. "There are people in the community willing and able to assist and support." Big Four accounting firms are equally committed, supporting a wide range of programmes, often of their own creation. Deloitte has Deloitte Grow and PwC has FLiP, both focused on delivering opportunities to low decile schools.

"For us it is really just part of how we're doing business," says Deloitte head of CSR and chief of staff Deborah Lucas.

Grow, developed in association with the Graeme Dingle Foundation, focuses on entrepreneurship training. Lucas says Deloitte discovered that outside of South Auckland there are often few if any such programmes available. In Christchurch, for instance, there were virtually none.

PwC CEO Mark Averill says PwC's two cause areas, education and child welfare, were chosen by staff.

Since its inception two years ago, 282 PwC coaches have reached over 4,100 students through FLiP providing financial literacy coaching.

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Accountancy firms across New Zealand support their communities and help them prosper.

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