Membership by Exemption
If a bookkeeper wishes to join ICB in membership using 'Accredited Prior Learning', they are welcome to apply for exemptions from the examinations and obtain membership using this method.
There are two instances where exemptions are awarded:
- the applicant has bookkeeping qualifications dated within the last two years, were gained in the UK and correspond to the ICB syllabus
- the applicant has been working as a bookkeeper in the UK for at least the last two years
Please note that this is not a 'fast track' route into membership and the exemption process can take three months. Any bookkeeping business requiring supervision under the Money Laundering Regulations during the application process, should inform ICB.
If exemptions are granted, applicants are expected to pay exemption and membership fees. Therefore, please bear in mind the sum total of costs involved at the end of the application process. For further details regarding exemption and membership fees, please see our Fee Structure.
All applicants applying for exemptions are required to complete the Membership Skills Appraisal (MSA), which covers elements of ICB's bookkeeping syllabuses at Levels I to III which is the usual entry requirement for full member status. The MSA is forwarded to applicants to complete at home in relative leisure over a period of two weeks.
If an applicant has previously attempted an ICB examination but failed the paper, an exemption will not be granted even if the applicant has obtained a reciprocal qualification from another awarding body.
Please note that ICB is unable to advise by telephone, email, or letter whether exemptions will be granted. 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.
Exemptions using qualifications
ICB recognises certain qualifications awarded by other institutes, examination boards, and awarding bodies.
If applying solely on the basis of qualifications, please bear in mind your certificates must be dated within the last two years and gained in the UK. Qualifications awarded by other awarding bodies are accepted only where they correspond to the ICB syllabus and a satisfactory mark has been obtained by the applicant. ICB may also specify the grade or percentage that needs to have been achieved.
Please ensure you forward copies (not originals) of qualification certificates - ICB is not usually able to grant exemptions based on results slips. ICB cannot offer exemptions based on exemptions granted by other bodies.
Exemptions using work experience
Exemptions may be granted to those who have been working as a bookkeeper for a minimum of the last two consecutive years, in the UK. You should provide the names, telephone numbers and postal addresses for two Chartered/Certified Accountants or AAT full Members who are familiar with work you have been completing for at least the last two years.
Referees would need to have worked with you in a professional capacity and cannot be relatives, or be in a personal relationship with you. Please make a note on your application of their qualification and relationship to you. ICB will send a detailed specification to each appropriate referee asking for confirmation on the areas of the syllabus they have working knowledge of your competency.
Referees are required to sign the specification and confirm their own qualification which will be verified with the relevant institute before the reference is processed.
Making Your Application
If applying for membership by exemption, please submit the following by postal mail or email:
- Application Form - to be downloaded here
- £48.00 non-refundable Application Fee (cheques to be made payable to 'ICB')
- CV or cover letter detailing work experience and study to date
- Copies of relevant qualification certificates and/or full contact details for two referees
- Details of your company and any staff members, and the services you are/will be offering if applicable
- Details of your MLR Supervision if applicable
- Copy of passport and/or driving licence
We will contact you to confirm your application has been received. Once the necessary documentation has been gathered, your referees have responded where applicable, and you have passed the MSA, your application will be submitted to the Admissions Panel for consideration.