Bookkeeping as a business

Why do business owners need bookkeepers?

The skill gap is at its worst among small and micro businesses with well over 99% lacking any formal qualifications in, what is arguably, the most important part of running any business – bookkeeping. Here’s why:

Without accurate bookkeeping, a business owner has little to no idea of where their business is going.

  • They won’t know if it’s currently in profit.
  • They won’t know if it’s about to have a cashflow issue.
  • They won’t know how much they are owed, or how much they owe.
  • They won’t know whether they are approaching any important thresholds such as the threshold for mandatory VAT registration.

Furthermore, without a proper bookkeeping process in place (as well as an accurate set of books) accountants aren’t able to do their work properly.

And so the demand for professional bookkeepers comes not just from business owners, but also from accountants who are happy to outsource their work to bookkeepers who have nationally recognised qualifications.

Why become a Member in Practice?

You may be wondering how the IAB can help you become a professional bookkeeper and help you set yourself up in practice.

First, let’s look at the reasons you might want to join the IAB and become a registered Member in Practice:

  • Credibility. Qualifications from the IAB are globally recognised and Ofqual regulated.  
  • Trust. Gaining trust from your prospective clients is the most important part of building a bookkeeping relationship and practice.
  • Confidence. Passing your bookkeeping qualification not only gives you confidence in your abilities, it gives your customers confidence too.
  • Prestige. As a professional member of the IAB, your professional qualification allows you to add recognised letters after your name.
  • Support. The IAB offers a very large range of support. You can read more about what you get over here, but one of the benefits of being a Member in Practice is access to AMLCC which is an online system that aids practices with the compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations.  

How do you become a Member in Practice? 

To apply to join the IAB as a Member in Practice you must first join the IAB as a professional member.  Further information about the routes into professional membership can be found here:  Once you are a professional member you can then make an application to be a Member in Practice which will ensure you are supervised under the Money Laundering Regulations.  

Where to study for your qualifications

The IAB has three ways to study for your qualifications:

  1. Self study.
  2. Distance learning.
  3. Classroom based.

If you like the idea of gaining your qualifications at home, then the self study option is the way to go. You can get your text books direct from the IAB online store here.

If you would prefer some guidance, then distance learning may be for you. There are many options to choose from including dedicated tutors.

Or you may prefer a more formal classroom based learning. Many colleges and adult learning centres run IAB qualifications, and you can find your nearest centres here.

Becoming a Member in Practice

The IAB is an approved supervisor under the Money Laundering Regulations, and as a Member in Practice, you get free advice and help on matters to do with Anti-Money Laundering.  

Once you are a Member in Practice you can then be approved by HMRC to operate as a registered agent. 

You can find out more about the costs of IAB membership here.  

Support for Members in Practice

The IAB run seminars, which also help with your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements as well as regular updates and other ways to improve your skills, so you will never feel alone. Our ethos is to ensure that every member gets the help they need. We like to think of ourselves as one big family.

This is why the IAB operate as a non profit organisation run by its members for its members. 

Next Steps

If you’d like to find out more about joining the IAB, becoming a qualified bookkeeper or payroll professional, or becoming an IAB Member in Practice, please contact the IAB.

Hear from our Members in Practice

Find out what our Members in Practice have to say about their IAB membership, being in practice and their tips for starting and growing your own business.