I've 2 kids at primary school and never worked in finance but thought if I could refrain as a bookkeeper then I could get some local small business clients. Then maybe as the kids get bigger I could take it further. Is Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping with AAT the right place to start or should I go with IAB. Any help would be really appreciated as not sure where to start.
It's hard to become a self employed book-keeper without work experience. The learning/exams is only part of the story and the exams don't cover a lot of what the job is really about.
Book-keeping is a lot more these days than simply "writing up the ledgers" as it used to be. Most small business owners want someone to run their finances, i.e. VAT, payroll, raising invoice, chasing debtors, etc., rather than do all that themselves and just have someone come in to do the books. Modern book-keepers are more like an "accountant light" and you probably need to work up through AAT higher than level 2 to put yourself into that role.
Most professional bodies also require you to prove experience before they let you loose to "practice" self employment on your own.
I'd be suggesting you apply for trainee book-keeping/accountant jobs in local accountancy practices or local industry so that you gain some actual work experience and then you can do the study alongside that.
I would aim to do the AAT Accounting Qualification - I don't think you'll get much work with just the bookkeeping one. And agree with the poster above - you can't get a licence to practice independently without having previous work experience in the relevant areas.