What we learnt from 600 conversations with you in the real world and how hybrid-thinking is informing ICB's event strategy to help you achieve results...

Meeting ICB bookkeepers on the road in May
 
For me, May has been the month for getting back out into the real world and reconnecting. Across Accountex and the eight-city Inspire Tour, the ICB team and I have met over 600 people, most them ICB bookkeepers. This has given us the chance to enjoy some meaningful conversations, advocate for bookkeepers, and understand what's driving our incredible profession.
 
I must admit I still get little flutters of expectation before seeing people in real life - is that a post-Covid condition, or am I just getting old? Like a lot of ICB members, the ICB team has been doing more working-from-home since the pandemic and we've started to really like it. As any of you with a team will know though, it's become even more important to stay connected with the talented people who keep the organisation running. As ICB settles into a hybrid-working future, we've taken our lead from bookkeepers who tend to be quite progressive employers, motivated as you often are by your own desire to work flexibly around everything else going on in your life.
 
Seeing the impact of bookkeepers at Accountex
 
And your bookkeeping businesses are growing. And I don't just mean that more of you have subcontractors or employees, though the figures show that's true as well, but bookkeeping businesses are growing in terms of reputation and influence. At Accountex, four times more people visited our stand than ever before, and only one of them asked us what a bookkeeper does. (There's always one). Yes, we were hosting the Small Practice and Bookkeepers Theatre, but even before the audience had heard some of the great presentations there, it was clear that the word is out - the accountants we spoke to either need more bookkeepers, or want high quality bookkeeping qualifications for their team.
 
ICB member, Rasa D'Alton, joined me on an Accountex panel discussing 'why bookkeepers are the future of accountancy'. Rasa eloquently and intelligently represented us as she talked about how bookkeepers can support businesses and collaborate with accountants in service to them. We were also represented by Lucy Brown, the former practising bookkeeper who joined the ICB team as director of professional standards last year and has been touring the UK to meet you all this month. You can read more about our Accountex exploits in our article here.
 
Discussing anti-money laundering at the Inspire Tour
 
I'm so glad that Lucy's Inspire Tour workshop on AML, which she co-hosts with our director of compliance Mike Jardine, has been so useful for our practising members. Lucy has been able to use her own experience as a bookkeeper to provide a practical, no-fuss approach to anti-money laundering. You can find out more about the Inspire Tour in our article here.
 
Attending the virtual Inspire Tour online this Monday 30th May
 
The Inspire Tour feedback has been fantastic and, if you haven't yet attended I would urge you to join us online on Monday for the virtual Inspire Tour - it's all the content from the in-person events repeated again online like a webinar. And, exclusive to the online event, we have a wellness coach sharing some strategies for feeling less stressed and more in control. We're using the Bookkeepers Summit online events platform so it's not just an event, it's an ICB event.
 
Book tickets for the online Inspire Tour here.
 
And taking its lead from this year's hybrid Inspire Tour, the 2022 Bookkeepers Summit will also be brought to you both in-person and online.
 
Planning the Bookkeepers Summit 2022
 
Launching 2022's Global Bookkeeping Week is our in-person Bookkeepers Summit exhibition and LUCA Awards at the Park Plaza Hotel Westminster on Monday 7th November. This is where you'll get a truly immersive experience, hear from our very best speakers, and find out about new tech tools and services to accelerate your work. If you're really keen, I hope you'll join us the evening prior for welcome drinks at the hotel - this is always such an enjoyable evening and an opportunity to really start as you mean to go on at what is a super social, welcoming, and inspiring coming together of bookkeepers.
 
Following on from the in-person excitement in London, the Bookkeepers Summit will continue online throughout Global Bookkeeping Week, bringing you more opportunities to socialise and stay ahead of the game with vital technical CPD sessions.
 
Releasing tickets to the Bookkeepers Summit
 
Tickets will be released as soon as humanly possible and we'll of course be running our super earlybird flash sale again - so keep your eyes peeled for updates in the next newsletter and on social media. We'll provide a discount code should you wish to stay at the main venue overnight on Sunday 6th and/or Monday 7th November, but we'll be nominating another local hotel for the ICB team and any of our members looking for more cost-effective accommodation.
 
As a reminder, members of the Advisory Council and our Branch Chairs receive 50% off Bookkeepers Summit tickets.
 
Looking forward to a hybrid future and what it means for our events
 
If a hybrid future means the best of both worlds, I'm all for it. We're committed to continuing to run events that you can enjoy on your own terms, whether that be in person or online, and we understand that sometimes life just gets in the way and you'll need to watch the content on catchup afterwards so we always make the recordings available.
 
Either way, here at ICB we believe that attending our events is the best way for you to unlock the power of our community and get the information and insights you need to achieve results and live your very best bookkeeping life.
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