A few weeks ago we wrote about why choosing a certified bookkeeper helps your business. Being certified through the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers brings many benefits, all of which ultimately help us to better support your business. As any small business owner knows, building up a network of trusted contacts is invaluable. We and our clients benefit from being part of the ICB network for exactly the same reasons.
Bookkeeping as a profession
Bookkeeping hasn’t always been seen as a true profession. It’s only relatively recently and thanks to a lot of work by the ICB to raise awareness that bookkeeping has come to be properly valued. As part of its commitment to upholding relevant quality and legal standards, the ICB requires all its members who offer services to the public to hold the ICB Practice Licence.
As a consequence, standards for bookkeeping are now much higher across the globe and a business owner can reliably access a much higher standard of bookkeeping support.
You may wonder why a separate profession is needed when accountancy has already long been recognised as a profession. Accountancy and bookkeeping are two separate sets of skills with a very separate focus. Accountants tend to concentrate on the bigger picture: ‘Where do you want your business to be in 5, 10, 20 years time and what do you need to put in place to achieve that?’
A bookkeeper is concerned to make sure you have clean, up to date financial records, your business cashflow covers your month to month expenses, you are being paid on time by customers and you have enough financial oversight to make sound purchasing and hiring decisions. As a result, bookkeepers tend to be much more involved in the day-to-day running of a business than accountants and are often seen as part of your own business family.
Keeping our skills sharp as technology evolves
For us to look after our clients we need to keep up to date with the latest advances in bookkeeping and financial management. The ICB is active in representing the voices of bookkeepers in policy-making, for example around GDPR and Making Tax Digital and in supporting its members with training so they can make the most of the opportunities presented by changes in legislation and technology.
ICB members are required to complete a certain number of hours of professional development training in order to remain a member, so you know the person you are hiring is competent to do the job, even as the financial services industry is evolving.
This gives you as a client assurance that your bookkeeper isn’t just resting on their laurels and assuming they know everything!
Support and networking makes us better at what we do
The ICB is a global organisation with Co-founder Garry Carter as the ICB Global President. It was founded in the UK in November 1996 and since then it has set up international agents and offices in 19 other countries.
Within the UK the ICB is structured into Branches, each Branch covering a different locality. The East Sussex Branch is our local branch and our very own Director, Claire Packham, is Branch chair. The Branches exist to support members in the local area with monthly meetings and presentations on topics from Alternative Finance to Managing Client Information and Employee Expenses & P11d forms.
Claire is a Companion of the ICB (the highest rank you can attain as a member) and is regularly called upon to give presentations at other Branches across the UK and mentors a number of bookkeepers both within and outside the East Sussex Branch.
If you’re looking for help with bookkeeping and don’t know where to start we recommend you have a look at the ICB directory of Certified Bookkeepers and join the family!