I am thinking of doing the ICB bookkeeping course. ICB say you need level 3 (used to be level 2) which gives you the letters AICB to be a self employed bookkeeper. Has anyone successfully ran a bookkeeping business after this course having achieved this level 3 AICB status having had no previous actual bookkeeping work background. Or is the course alone not sufficient for you to competently run a bookkeepiing business, I mean in actual reality do you need lots of hands on work experience aswell as the course before going it alone doing your own bookkeeping business. Any comments gratefully received
Yes, get some work experience. I have struggled to find a good self employed book keeper who can work independently. I'm a self employed accountant and desperately need a decent book keeper but wouldn't consider someone with no practical experience. I'd rather go down the apprentice route if I am going to train someone.
Thanks for your reply. I just have a feeling that it may be hard to get an employer to take me on when I have no experience...............
So how do I get the experience, I wonder. I assume even charities looking for voluntary bookkeepers would want experienced bookkeepers. I ve contacted local accountants regarding work experience but that s all been negative
Yes, it can be a bit of a catch 22 situation - you can't get a job, even with the quals, due to lack of experience, but you can't get experience without doing the job.
Most clients would want an experienced bookkeeper. There is so much more to it than just double entry - you would need to be au fait with various software programmes, all of which have their quirks and reporting abilities - I'm not sure if that's included in the course, but suspect not, or at least not to the extent that's required.
You'd be surprised with charities - it would be worth a go. Also, for bookkeeping, I would ask for work experience at local companies rather than accountants; at the firm I work for, bookkeeping is very much a client facing role so not one we would be keen to send a work experience person out on - for their own sake as much as ours really.
Do you know any business owners who might be willing to let you do their books for free whilst you gain some experience?
Rather than immediately signing up for one professional organisation's qualifications, I'd look at your local college etc first of all for a course in the basics. I paid over £1000 for my initial SAGE Line 50 training, the other day I chatted to someone in PC World who was getting the same training massively subsidised at the local college after completing their basic course.
You could look for work as a junior purchase or sales ledger clerk just to get an in.
Another advantage of the local college is that they will have contacts in local businesses who might provide work experience.
Thanks for your tips. I have a friend who is setting up a business which I can do the bookkeeping for, though this will be very simple bookkeeping as it will be a very small business. I did work in accounts for a long time before I had my son but this was mainly purchase ledger and a little bank reconciilation, and not computerised, some time ago you can guess! The thing is, I really need to study and work from home, hence my willingness to pay a grand for distance/home learning. I m wondering , this may be pie in the sky, if I could somehow pay for work experience or if after I completed my course, if I was lucky enough to get a couple of clients, maybe I could pay a bookkeeper for tuition/support to check my work??? I m also wondering, once qualified, how much support the ICB would give or ex tutors from the training provider or bookkeeping forums. Could I go to any of these if I had a bookkeeping query on a client s account??? I really want to do this bookkeeping, I kind of see it as my only route to make money by working from home.
Can't comment on ICB but i am currently studying AAT level 2 with a distance learner. I'm hoping to find a junior accounting position afterwards to fund levels 3 & 4 with a view to eventually becoming freelance. Have you looked at the AAT website?
Forgot to mention level 2 also covers SAGE
To become a book keeper is easy
to become a good book keeper takes years.
It really does come down to experience : see what temping work you can get so that you learn how to pick up systems and methods and software
Sage is just one of many that you will encounter
I use Sage, TAS, VT, Xero, Quickbooks, Quicken etc etc
it depends on the client history
Feeling a tad disheartened now Was rather hoping, naively perhaps, that people would come on saying that they began bookkeeping business after a course with no other previous accounts work experience. Still better that I know what I m dealing with, so I thank you for all your comments. I ll have a look into some of your suggestions . I think the various software with their quirks may be quite a challenge. I ll have to have a long hard think whether to go ahead. Thanks again for your advice everyone
Sorry, but it is a very crowded market.
Get experience then find your niche ...
Are there any parish clerk vacancies in your area?
As that is a more interesting job than most realise
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