Thursday, April 10, 2014

News: RCAT's award-winning accountancy clinic

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Rotherham College of Arts & Technology (RCAT) has outlined its desire to be "Outstanding" at the heart of its new mission statement and values and is working on forging new partnerships with businesses and the local community.

One example is the award-winning accountancy clinic which sees students offer local businesses accounting services for free. With 19 students studying AAT Level 3 at the college full time the innovative partnership is supporting the borough's small enterprises and providing real world work experience for the students.

The clinic was the idea of lecturer Sam Hannigan, a fully fledged accountant with her own practice who also checks through the accounts. Since the accountancy clinic has been up and running all of the students have gained confidence and had more interaction with employers, interviews for work experience and jobs.

The college clinic is also supported, and is working alongside, Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is working with budding entrepreneurs that want to get their business ideas off the ground and running. The clinic runs free one day introduction to accountancy and business skill classes.

Lucy Watson, accountancy student at RCAT, said: "The accountancy clinic is great it gives me hands on experience helping out a real business. We've been working with businesses to get their accounts in order and get everything into spread sheets. We're trying to work and advise them in a way they can understand. It's nice helping new businesses."

Through the success of the accountancy clinic, Sam recently celebrated winning the Lecturer of the Year prize at the PQ Magazine Awards. The awards are run every year by PQ magazine which is aimed at part qualified accountants.

Sam Hannigan, accountant and lecturer at RCAT (picture, far left), said: "I'm so glad that I suggested the idea to make the learning environment more interactive for my students. In this day and age it's really important that students understand how qualifications work in the office environment.

"The clinic has provided a bridge for our students to use their learning on real financial issues and allow them to get much more out of their studies. We also work with existing accounting firms to provide benefits to their businesses."

Stewart Effendi, who runs Stewart's Fresh Fruit and Vegetables & Free Range Eggs, added: "The accountancy clinic has been brilliant for my business; I don't know where I'd be without them. I can't talk highly enough of the college, they've really sorted my accounts out and made it very easy by explaining it to me in way I can understand. Sam's also been brilliant, very down to earth, no question is stupid.

"My business is delivering free range eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables. It's been great working with the students watching my business grow week by week."

Over the next two years, people in Rotherham can expect to see the college working even harder to help school leavers and adults learn what they need to get a job, promotion, start a business or go to university.

RCAT website
Rotherham College Accounting Clinic Facebook page

Images: RCAT

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