The Accounting Society at UWS, in its first iteration, was launched in 2017. It was one of the largest societies and its success was recognised when it won the Best Student Group of the Year Award at the SAUWS Big Awards in 2019. After a short hiatus and with the encouragement and support of staff and the Students’ Union, some students came together and re-started the Accounting Society in 2021.
Starting a society at the height of the COVID pandemic and associated restrictions was certainly a challenge, along with the challenge of membership being spread across a number of campuses. Nevertheless, it was felt that the objectives of the Society were even more important given the restrictions and pressures being faced by students. The objectives being, to organise regular social and academic events for the members. These would facilitate the second aim, the integration of students from every accounting year, with students interacting not only to have some fun but also to allow them to learn from one another. The last aim of the society is to create a valuable link between employer professional bodies and the talent UWS Accounting students have to offer.
Using the technology available the society has been successful at running several events to fulfil the objectives. The online Escape Room game taxed the brain and allowed members to get to know each other. Building strong links with CIMA not only generated funds but allowed the social, academic, and professional aspects of society membership to come to the fore with participation in events such as the CIMA Business Game competition and Psychometric Testing events. The former provided society members experience in a typical assessment centre task dealing with a case study. It encouraged participants to work in teams utilising skills such as analytical, problem solving, commercial awareness and communication. Following the inhouse CIMA Business Game competition the UWS Accounting Society competed in the UK wide CIMA Business Game against other universities, reaching the semi-final stage.
Links with not only external employers and professional bodies but also our own UWS Careers and Academic Skills Team allowed society members to attend events to enhance skills in these areas.
As Covid restrictions began to ease slightly it allowed the society to meet up in person, with the necessary precautions in place. Welcome meet ups at Paisley and Lanarkshire Campuses allowed members of the society to meet up in person, many for the first time. Other social and academic events continue to be held, not only at the campuses, but also other venues and online, conscious of the logistical issues of meeting up in person given the geography of where the membership reside.
Using all forms of social media and technology to keep members engaged and informed has been successful. The use of WhatsApp allows support to be provided to members and the sharing of knowledge on issues, given the membership contains students from first year to master's level, and as such a wide range of experience.
The society while achieving its social objectives has also helped charitable causes. The society set up an Amazon wish list to help the people of Ukraine fleeing their homes due to war. Well over one hundred items such as first aid items, toiletries, nightwear, socks, and cuddly toys were collected and sent on. Society members also recently completed a hill walk up Conic Hill to raise money for the charity Student Minds. This was chosen as the work they do is centred around an issue important to the society, helping those in the university community look after their mental health. There has been an increase in individuals suffering from mental health problems during the pandemic and the raising of over £1000 goes a long way to assist.
It has been a challenging but successful time since the Accounting Society was restarted just over a year ago. This was recognised at the Students Association of UWS Big Awards 2022 where the society won the Student Group of the Year Award. The Society has also been shortlisted for the PQ Magazine Student Body of the Year award.
This is a UK wide award from a renowned accounting sector publication and UWS Accounting Society is the only body from Scotland shortlisted in the category.
In recognition of the award and nominations Jamie Jennings, the UWS Accounting Society President, said, “I would like to thank everyone who has participated in and supported the activities of the Accounting Society, and those who nominated us. Being involved in the society is rewarding not only in respect of assisting the journey through university but also in preparation for your career. The biggest reward is, however, the friendships that are made. I would encourage students to join. It is run by students for the benefit of students.”