Students, alumni give back at tax clinics< More Stories
Students were trained earlier in March alongside community volunteers before completing three-hour shifts at the clinics. Seven of the volunteers – including Susan Davidson, CPA, CGA, manager of corporate accounting for Synergy Credit Union – are professional accountants who work in industry or for public accounting firms.
“These clinics are great for our community and also provide really valuable experience for Lakeland students,” says Davidson, Class of 1994 business administration accounting major. “Not only do they get experience preparing tax returns and becoming familiar with them, they also learn to deal with the confidential information and the different types of people they will encounter in the public.”
Davidson is one of the four organizers who’ve coordinated the 2017 tax clinics, which started on March 11. Seniors, students, low-income families and newcomers to Canada are welcome to attend the free walk-in clinics.
During the clinics Davidson and other volunteers prepare returns for members of the public and assist Lakeland students to do so as well. For Davidson and the students she’s mentored to date, it’s been a really positive experience.
“The students are very eager to learn and I think that also makes it fun,” she says. “It’s been wonderful to watch them dive right in to the work and become very competent quite quickly. Any time you can apply the knowledge you receive through any sort of college program, it makes it more real. It’s also something they can continue to do throughout their career.”
Working alongside professionals and even Lakeland alumni has been a valuable learning and networking opportunity for Barr and the other students. “Susan was just so helpful. She made sure everything I did was correct and showed me how it all works,” says Barr. “I’ve had a really good experience volunteering at the tax clinic thanks to Susan and everyone else. Being able to work hands-on with real clients, use my skills and connect with everyone has been incredible.”
Photo: From right, Susan Davidson, Class of 1994, helps Amanda Barr, a Lakeland student, as she prepares a tax return for a member of the community at the Legacy Centre. The free walk-in tax clinics are for seniors, students, low-income families and newcomers to Canada.