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Join ICB using your AAT, ACCA, CIMA, City & Guilds, IAB, or ICAEW qualifications, accounting apprenticeship, or work experience

You can choose to apply for ICB membership via exemptions using either work experience, or qualifications. You'll be required to provide evidence and pass an online entrance exam withn one month of applying. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and T&Cs apply.

Apply using your work experience

To apply using your work experience, you’ll need to demonstrate all of the following:

  1. You have worked as a professional bookkeeper for clients or an employer for at least two consecutive years in the last five years.
  2. Your bookkeeping knowledge and skills meet the standard of ICB’s Level 2 and/or Level 3 core qualifications; from double-entry bookkeeping to trial balance and beyond. More details below.
  3. You have an eligible, independent referee who has overseen your work throughout the qualifying period of two years and is a member of a professional accountancy body.

Please note: there is a £259 non-refundable application fee so please make sure you meet the criteria before you apply. You will also be required to pass an online entrance exam within one month of applying.

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Apply using your qualifications

To apply for Associate membership (AICB) you’ll need one of the following completed by exam within the last five years:

  • AAT Level 2 Bookkeeping/Accounting 
  • ACCA Recording Financial Transactions (FA1)
  • CIMA Business Accounting (BA3) 
  • City & Guilds Level 2 Bookkeeping & Accounts 
  • IAB Level 2 Bookkeeping 

To apply for full Membership (MICB) you’ll need one of the following completed by exam within the last five years:

  • AAT Level 2 & 3 Bookkeeping/Accounting 
  • ACCA Financial Accounting (F3/FA/FFA)
  • CIMA Business Accounting (BA3) & Operational Level Paper (F1) 
  • City & Guilds Level 2 & 3 Bookkeeping and Accounts 
  • IAB Level 2 & 3 Bookkeeping and Accounting 
  • ICAEW Certificate in Finance Accounting and Business - Accounting Module 
  • Level 3 Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship

Please note: there is a £259 non-refundable application fee so please make sure you meet the criteria before you apply. You will also be required to pass an online entrance exam within one month of applying.

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How do I apply?

 Step 1: Submit your application online

When you have checked you meet our criteria, you can apply online.

Please note:

  • You will need to pay the non-refundable application fee via a debit or credit card.
  • Once you have completed the online application form you’ll be given an ICB Number that you can use as a reference when contacting us.  
  • If you live outside of the UK or are eligible for a discounted application fee, please call us on 020 3405 4000 and speak with a member of our exemptions team to confirm your eligibility and make your application.

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Step 2:  Submit supporting documentation


You can upload digital copies of your documents and enter referee details as part of your online application. If you don’t have everything to hand you can upload documentation later, as long as you do so within one month of applying.

Required Items:

  • Government-issued Photo ID (ID Requirements)
  • CV or covering letter detailing qualifications and/or work experience to date
  • Proof of recent relevant qualifications and/or contact details for one referee who meets our criteria

Step 3: Complete the online membership entrance exam

You will be asked to complete and pass the Membership Entrance Exam (MEE) within one month of applying. This is an online skills appraisal covering elements of the ICB bookkeeping syllabus at Level 2 and 3.

Please note:

  • The MEE can be taken 24/7, 365 days a year, and should take a competent bookkeeper no more than three hours to complete.
  • You’ll have three attempts at passing the exam. The pass mark is 85%.

FAQs

1. What bookkeeping knowledge and skills do I need for work experience?

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping knowledge and skills (required for Associate Membership AICB) 

  • Practical application of double-entry bookkeeping to trial balance
  • Completing a bank reconciliation
  • Correction of errors
  • Applying different rates of VAT

Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounting knowledge and skills (required for full Membership MICB) 

  • Preparing VAT returns
  • Calculating and posting year-end accounting adjustments (accruals, payments and depreciation)
  • Analysing and interpreting financial statements
  • Working from trial balance to draft Trading, Profit & Loss accounts (or Income and Expenditure accounts for Not-for-Profits) and Balance Sheets for internal use for a range of different business types including Limited Companies


Level 3 Diploma in Payroll Management knowledge and skills (required for payroll-only membership, Payroll Agent, or additional designation PM.Dip for Associate or Member) 

  • Calculating Gross Pay, NIC, PAYE and other deductions (e.g. Student Loans) for employees and Directors
  • Making adjustments necessary for benefits-in-kind
  • Performing payroll administration including P11, P45 and P60 forms
  • Using commercial payroll software to deliver payroll accurately
  • CIS

2. How do I prove my work experience?

You'll need to upload your CV, or a covering letter, telling us about your work experience to date.

You'll also need to nominate one referee who is familiar with your work throughout the qualifiying period (two consecutive years within the last five) and this should correspond to the information provided on your CV/covering letter.

Your nominated referee must:

  • must have worked with you in a professional capacity for at least two out of the last five years.
  • cannot be a relative, or be in a personal relationship with you. 
  • must be senior to you or had oversight of your work. 
  • must be either a qualified or Chartered Accountant, or a Certified Bookkeeper in current valid membership of either AAT, ACCA, CIMA, CAI, IAB, ICAEW, ICAS, ICB (MICB or above) or IFA. If a member of a non-UK body the body must be a current member of  IFAC.

 

3. What prior qualifications can I use?

To apply using your qualifications, your qualification/s must appear in our table below, and your most recent exam must have been passed within the last five years.

Exemptions from other awarding bodies don’t satisfy our requirements, you need to have taken actual exams.

Awarding Body

Qualifications completed within 5 years of application 

additional online ICB Membership Entrance Paper/s (MEP) required in most cases

Membership Grade
Associate Member Member
ICB  Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping  x  

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping
with
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts

  x
AAT - Statement of Achievement required Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping or Accounting  [Application Process] x  

Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping or Accounting with
Level 3 Advanced in Certificate Bookkeeping or Diploma in Accounting 
Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting [Application Process]

  Fast Track Route available

ACCA  
Transcript required
FA1 [Application Process] x  
F3/FFA/FA [Application Process]   x
CIMA
Transcript required
Certificate in Business Accounting paper BA3 [Application Process] x  
Certificate in Business Accounting paper BA3 and Operational Level Paper F1 [Application Process]   x
City & Guilds 
Transcript or Certificate required
Level 2 Award in Bookkeeping and Accounts  [Application Process] x  
Level 2 Award in Bookkeeping and Accounts with Level 3 Award in Bookkeeping and Accounts [Application Process]   x
IAB 
Certificate required
Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping [Application Process] x  
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounting [Application Process]   x
ICAEW Certificate in Finance Accounting and Business - Accounting Module [Application Process]   x

How do I prove my qualifications?

As part of your online application you will be asked to provide copies (not originals) of qualification transcripts, results sheets and, for AAT, your statement of achievement from your online account.

If you don’t have everything to hand you can upload documentation later, as long as you do so within one month of applying.

What about Non-UK qualifications?

Qualifications awarded in countries outside the UK will be taken into consideration if they directly correspond to our syllabus. Please contact ICB before submitting your application.

ICB Syllabus information

What if I have a different qualification not listed?

If your qualification is not listed, please take a look at our current qualifications and download the syllabuses for a comparison.

If your qualification directly corresponds to the ICB syllabuses, and you think we should consider your qualifications, please get in touch with us on 0203 405 4000.

ICB Syllabus information

What if I’m midway through my exams with different body?

If you are midway through your bookkeeping exams with another body and wish to transfer to ICB, we may be able to fast track you. Please call us on 0203 405 4000 so we can find the best solution for you.

What does it cost?

There is a one-off, non-refundable, application fee of £259 payable upon application.

A 25% discount on the exemption application fee is available to:

  • Applicants who previously held a grade of membership with ICB
  • Current staff of an ICB Practice Licence holder (applicant must be listed on the practice staff list)

The application fee does not form part of your ongoing membership subscription or practice licence fees which will be payable upon acceptance into membership as applicable.

> ICB fees information

What is the refund policy?

The application fee covers your application only and is strictly non-refundable.

How long will my application take?

Applying for membership by exemption can take between one and three months.

Do I need Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Supervision?

If you wish to engage in public practice as a bookkeeper, payroll agent or accountant, you are legally required to have AML Supervision.

You can get AML Supervision from ICB. Please let us know immediately if you are running a bookkeeping business and need AML supervision or are already covered.

If you have been trading without AML Supervision at the point of application, you will be subject to a Late Registration Penalty.

Do I need a Practice Licence?

If you wish to engage in public practice as an ICB member, you must hold an ICB Practice Licence. This applies even if you hold a licence from another body.

As an ICB member we will automatically be your Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Supervisor if you take out a Practice Licence. You can opt out of AML Supervision by ICB if you are supervised by another approved professional body supervisor.

If you are ready to apply for a Practice Licence please let us know once you have submitted your online Membership Application.

When will a decision be made?

Your application will be passed to the Admissions Panel for a decision once all necessary evidence has been gathered, including your documents, Membership Entrance Exam (MEE) results and responses to reference requests if applicable.

What exemptions could I be granted?

You may be granted exemptions from the following ICB qualifications:

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts
Level 3 Diploma in Payroll Management

We do not grant exemptions from ICB Level 4 qualifications and you must complete the exams if you wish to offer Level 4 services once in membership.

Why might exemptions not be granted?

A small number of applicants are unsuccessful and are not granted exemptions. We reserve the right to reject an application at our discretion, but please consider the following:

  • If you do not meet our current criteria for recent relevant qualifications or work experience, we will not be able to grant exemptions.
  • We do not grant exemptions from any ICB exam that you have previously attempted and failed, even if you have subsequently achieved an equivalent qualification from another awarding body.
  • We do not grant exemptions based solely on exemptions you may have been granted elsewhere.
  • We do not accept references unless they are from a member of good standing of ICB or an IFAC professional body who meets our other criteria.
  • Upon application you will be subject to an open-source background check and any adverse media, or disciplinary finding by another professional accountancy body, will be taken into account. 
  • Your conduct during your application will be taken into consideration. You can expect our team to be courteous and professional and we will not tolerate threatening behaviour. 
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