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 exams.

Your pathway into membership

Exemption Pathway 

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ICB Qualification Conversion Chart

This chart shows which accountancy qualifications are considered relevant for ICB membership purposes. Please be aware that this chart should be used as a guide only, and is subject to change. Applications for membership by exemption based on existing qualifications are assessed individually on a case by case basis taking into consideration the full extent of your relevant work experience and qualifications. You may also be required to sit ICB exams or an online skills test (MEP) at ICB's discretion.

If your qualification is not listed in the table below, please email copies of relevant qualification documents taken within the last five years to exemptions@bookkeepers.org.uk. An offer of membership cannot be guaranteed. 

Awarding Body Qualifications completed within 2 years of application (or within 5 years if supported by relevant work experience and/or an MEP) Membership Grade
Associate Member Member
ICB  Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping  x  
Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping with Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping & Accounts   x
AAT - Statement of Achievement required Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Accounting   x  
Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping with Level 2 Foundation Award in Accounting Software and Level 3 Advanced in Bookkeeping   x  
Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Accounting with Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Accounting   x
Transcript required
FA1  x  
F3 with ICB Membership Entrance Paper   x
FA1 with F3    x
Transcript required
Certificate in Business Accounting paper BA3 with a software qualification x  
Operational Level Paper F1    x
City & Guilds 
Transcript or Certificate required
Level 2 Award in Bookkeeping and Accounts with a software qualification x  
Level 2 Award in Bookkeeping and Accounts with Level 3 Award in Bookkeeping and Accounts and a software qualification   x
Certificate required
Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping with a software qualification x  
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounting with a software qualification   x
ICAEW Certificate in Finance Accounting and Business - Accounting Module   x
Open University 
Transcript required
B124 (Grade A only) plus a Level 2 Software qualification x  
B124 & B291 (Grade A only)    x
Accounting Degree Please send a copy of the syllabus and your qualification certificate to exemptions@bookkeepers.org.uk Membership offer dependant on degree

How long will my application take?

Applying for membership by exemption can take one to three months from the day your application is accepted. Please let ICB know immediately 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 application fee payable upon application. This fee covers your application only and will not be refunded in the event you withdraw your application, or if your qualifications are out of date, or your reference does not match our requirements, or you fail the Membership Entrance Paper.

If your application meets our criteria, and you pass any required MEP, your application will be passed through to the final stage of processing; assessment by the Admissions Panel.  In the unlikely event that the Admissions Panel rejects your application, 50% of your application fee will be refunded. 

*Please see the application criteria

Membership Annual Subscription 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. If accepted, the annual membership fee for the appropriate grade will be payable. 

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 application fee with a credit or debit card. Once you have completed the online application form you will have to 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 the last two consecutive years. 

Your referee needs 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 the 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 name and full contact details of the relevant individual to whom ICB can contact for a reference. The referee should be either a Chartered Accountant or Certified Bookkeeper in current valid membership of either AAT, ACCA, ATT, CIMA, CAI, CIOT & CT (SAT only), IAB, ICAEW, ICAS, ICB and IFA. If a member of a non UK body the body must be a current member of  IFAC. 


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