How Important is Relevant Accounting Community Service on Your Resume?

Couple Talking With Financial Advisor In Office

I have reviewed hundreds of resume since I started The Bean Counter. I get this question over an over. The short answer it depends.

You really have to look at the resume as a whole. Any one thing missing can be made up with a myriad of other awesome experiences you bring to the table. I usually break down accounting candidates resumes into three categories:

  1. Leadership (includes community service)
  2. GPA
  3. Work Experience

It’s my preference for you to have a little bit of all of the categories on your resume leaning more towards leadership and work experience than a 4.0 GPA.

The more relevant the experience is to accounting the better it works for your resume. Doing a community service trip to save the turtles in Nicaragua is great, but volunteering to help the underprivileged prepare there tax return is even better. The great thing about accounting community service is that it’s so easy to do.

It only takes a few hours or a few days of your time and there’s no application process, and no passing of tests!

So yes, I think it’s very important to have on your resume. If you don’t have it, it raises the question:

Why not? It’s such an easy thing to do but yet you haven’t done it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never heard of someone not getting a position because they done community service. But it makes you stand out as a unique and well rounded candidate.

Here are some examples of how you can get involved in relevant accounting community services:

Local State CPA Societies

As an example, the Florida Institute of CPA’s puts on community service that anyone can get involved:


CPA Day of Service: Coming to a City Near You

Across the state May 2 2015, CPAs will gather together to give back to their communities.

The YCPA (Young CPA) committee is spearheading our inaugural statewide CPA Day of Service on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Not a YCPA? No problem. You don’t need to be a YCPA to get involved. In fact, any FICPA member can volunteer for an event or start an event in their area. This is the perfect time to get involved by giving back in your community.

State CPA societies almost all allow free student membership so their really isn’t an excuse. Find your local organization here.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistant (VITA)

Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

Find a VITA site of coordinator here.

Beta Alpha Psi, ALPFA, NABA and any other accounting organization

Any of these organizations are great to be a part of in the first place, but they can also help you with finding relevant accounting community service at your University.

Here are links to find local Chapters for each organization:

Find a BAP Chapter

Find an ALPFA Chapter

Find a NABA Chapter