The key principles covered at ICB level 1 and 2 - such as VAT, cash books, trial balances and bank reconciliations - are essential knowledge for any bookkeeper. Completing those modules, and passing the associated exams, puts you in a strong position to begin or develop your finance career. However, the learning doesn't stop there for any ambitious bookkeeping professional.
ICB is delighted to welcome guest contributor, Gill Tucker, Home Learning College Bookkeeping Faculty Manager, to offer some further insight into the unmissable benefits of continuing your studies at ICB level 3 if you are looking to secure a senior finance role or develop your own practice with a varied client base.
•1) Deepen your knowledge
When you progress to level 3 you'll immediately start delving into more specialist topics that provide a fully rounded view of an organisation's financial position. As you progress through the manual and computerised modules you will learn to calculate the value of a company's stock and make provision for bad debt, while recording this information accurately within an accounting software package.
You'll cover the acquisition of assets, and the rules for determining cumulative depreciation at the time of disposal. You will also develop the ability to take a set of incomplete records from a sole trader and turn them into a set of final accounts - an essential skill when dealing with smaller clients who may not have watertight paperwork.
•2) Provide services to a wider range of businesses
If you are a business owner looking to manage your own books, or are happy to confine your work to sole traders and smaller businesses up to trial balance, then attaining level 2 manual and computerised certifications is perfectly adequate.
If, however, you wish to work with larger organisations, such as limited companies, partnerships and not for profit organisations, then you need to take the next step and gain your level 3 qualifications. This will allow you to conduct a wide range of advanced bookkeeping tasks, including preparing profit and loss and balance sheets; accounting for the admission and retirement of partners; defining shareholder equity; and preparing opening statements of affairs or summary accounts of membership for charitable organisations.
Having acquired these skills, you will be in a prime position to work as an autonomous employee within a variety of companies, or fulfill all of your clients' requirements as a freelance bookkeeper - removing the need for additional accounting services.
•3) Boost your professional profile
Having successfully completed the manual and computerised modules at level 3, and passed the relevant exams, as an ICB member you will become a Certified Bookkeeper and gain eligibility to use the letters MICB after your name. Achieving this accreditation is a powerful signal to employers or clients that you have the dedication and ability to handle their financial affairs in a professional and accurate manner.
In addition to boosting your bookkeeping credentials, you will also enjoy all the benefits of being a full member of ICB. These include exclusive online resources, legal advice and networking opportunities. Certified Bookkeepers also have access to more job vacancies via the ICB website than associate members.
In today's economic climate, the value of professional qualifications cannot be underestimated. Having started your bookkeeping studies, level 3 provides an opportunity to further develop your knowledge and skills, ensuring you're equipped for any bookkeeping role that comes your way. Why waste that chance?
By Gill Tucker, Home Learning College Bookkeeping Faculty Manager
Home Learning College offers the ICB Level 2 Certificate, the Level 3 Diploma and ICB Sage Payroll Management. Courses are delivered by distance learning with expert tutorial support available when you need it, plus access to live online classes and forums delivered via the Virtual Learning Community. To find out more, call HLC on 0800 294 8825.