Apply for membership based on qualifications or work experience

ICB membership can be awarded based on qualifications from other accredited bookkeeping and accounting bodies, or based on relevant prior work experience and competence, without the need to take ICB assessments.

What do you need?

To make an application for membership by exemption you will need to satisfy at least one of these requirements:

1. UK bookkeeping/accounting qualifications that correspond to the ICB syllabus and are dated within the last two years*

2. Experience working as a bookkeeper in the UK for the last two consecutive years**

How long does the application take?

Applying for membership by exemption can take one to three months, on average, from the point your application is accepted. Please let ICB know at point of application if you are already running a bookkeeping business and need supervision under the Money Laundering Regulations during this time.

What does it cost?

Application Fee
There is a one-off non-refundable application fee payable upon application. This fee covers your application only and will not be refunded in the event of your application being rejected or approved. 

Exemption Fee
If your application is successful you will be offered membership at the grade of Affiliate, Associate or Member dependent upon the ICB qualifications you are exempt from. There is a different exemption fee payable for each of these grades of membership. 

Membership Annual Subscription Fee
In addition to the exemption fee, you will be required to pay for your first year of membership upfront.

For details of the current year's fees please refer to Table 1: Annual Subscription fees and Table 3: Membership by Exemption fees on the following page:

> Fees & Subscriptions


Making your application

1. Submit an Online Application

You can submit an application for membership by exemption at any time throughout the year.  

When you are ready, please complete the online form and pay the non-refundable application fee with a credit or debit card. Once you have completed the online application form you will have set up an account and be given an ICB Number that you can use as a reference when contacting us.   

Submit an Online Application now


2. Submit the Supporting Evidence

Your application will be accepted for processing once all supporting evidence has been received. You can upload digital copies of your documents and enter referee details immediately upon making your online application, or later either via your online account or by email. 

Required Items:

  1. Photo ID (ID Requirements)
  2. CV or covering letter detailing study and/or work experience to date •
  3. Proof of relevant qualifications and/or referee contact details (Application Criteria)

3. Complete the Membership Entrance Paper (MEP), if applicable

You may be asked to complete the Membership Entrance Paper (MEP); an online skills appraisal covering elements of ICB's bookkeeping syllabus at Levels II to IV. The MEP should take a competent bookkeeper no more than three hours to complete. Online mock papers are available.

Waiting for a decision

Your application will be passed to the Admissions Panel for a decision once all necessary documentation has been gathered, including your MEP and responses to reference requests if applicable.

When an application will not be accepted

An application for membership based on qualifications from other bodies or based on experience does not guarantee an offer of membership. ICB cannot offer exemptions from any ICB assessment that you have previously attempted and failed, even if you have subsequently achieved an equivalent qualification from another awarding body.

You will be required to make a formal application for exemption, and the decision will be made by the Admissions Panel based on your application as a whole.

Application Criteria

*Using your qualifications

To apply solely on the basis of your qualifications (without relevant work experience) your qualifications need to have been achieved in the UK within the last two consecutive years. 

Qualifications issued by other awarding bodies are accepted only where they correspond to the ICB syllabus and a satisfactory mark has been obtained. ICB does not offer exemptions based on exemptions granted by other bodies.

To view which qualifications are recognised by ICB please refer to the Qualification Benchmarking table on the following page:

> Become a Member

Non-UK qualifications: Qualifications awarded in countries outside the UK will be taken into consideration. Please contact ICB before submitting your application.

Supporting Evidence Requirement:

As part of your application please provide copies (not originals) of qualification certificates, results sheets and statements of achievement. 

**Using your work experience

To apply solely on the basis of your work experience (without relevant qualifications) you need to have been working as a bookkeeper in the UK for a minimum of the last two consecutive years. 

Your referees need to have worked with you in a professional capacity and cannot be relatives, or be in a personal relationship with you. Your application should state their qualifications and relationship to you. ICB will send a detailed specification to each appropriate referee asking for confirmation on the areas of the syllabus in which he or she has working knowledge of your competence.

Referees are required to sign the specification and confirm their own qualifications which will be verified with the relevant professional body before the reference is processed.

Non-UK work experience: Experience gained in countries outside the UK will be taken into consideration. Please contact ICB before submitting your application.

Supporting Evidence Requirement:

As part of your application please provide the names and full contact details of two people whom ICB can contact for references. Both referees should be either Chartered/Certified Accountants, FICBs, MICBs, FMAATs or MAATs who are familiar with professional bookkeeping work you have been completing for at least the last two years.


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