The 2019 ICB Inspire Tour concluded in Dublin on 21 May

‘Bookkeepers play an integral role in the running of SMEs and the economy as a whole. They are the backbone of the finance profession’ said Ed Heffernan, founder of top financial services recruiter, Bardens, at the ICB Inspire Tour in Dublin. ‘91.8% of Ireland’s businesses are small or micro enterprises and they can’t operate without a good bookkeeper.’

A self-proclaimed ‘bookkeeper by osmosis’, Heffernan paid tribute to the bookkeepers in his life, including his mum and his wife, in a charismatic opening speech at Dublin’s Castleknock Hotel at this year’s last stop of the Inspire Tour. The event marked ICB Ireland’s relaunch and the kick-off of a new partnership with training provider StudyOnline.

 ‘StudyOnline share our passion,’ said ICB’s own Garry Carter, ‘together we are helping people become the best they can be and achieve their dreams of financial independence and security.’ Carter continued by saying that whilst other bodies have 48% pass marks, ‘ICB’s exams are the toughest on the planet.’

‘Our organisation was set up in the UK but we have offices all over the world including in New Zealand, Australia, the USA and the former Soviet Union and our bookkeepers can only prosper if they win the trust of SMEs.

Senior accounts & finance lecturer at StudyOnline, Tena Sheil, took to the podium to deliver a moving and rallying cry to the engaged gathering of students, bookkeepers, accountants and fellow educators, for all to join forces in to raising the profile of bookkeepers and bring about a seed change in Ireland.  

‘ICB has changed the reality for bookkeepers around the world, promoting their professionalism and providing the support they need in terms of knowledge and resources.’ Tena gave three key actions for individuals who want to be actively and rigorously involved in their own progression:

  1. Respect what you do and get qualified
  2. Engage with educators, including your employer
  3. Stop the race to the bottom and get the remuneration that befits a professional

‘We are rolling out the ICB qualifications in bookkeeping and payroll because the Irish market is demanding that we qualify bookkeepers. And when Ed Heffernan from Bardens says this is a good qualification, you know it’s good!

‘What the market needs is not just bookkeepers, but ICB Bookkeepers!'

Tena Sheil, StudyOnline

Attendees were also treated to a PAYE Modernisation workshop from leading payroll software provider, and Bookkeepers Summit stalwart, BrightPay, together with a representative from Ireland’s Revenue. PAYE Modernisation, or P-mod as it’s commonly known, is Ireland’s version of RTI and the biggest change to payroll in decades, seeing Revenue fielding over 1300 calls per day when it was introduced at the start of the year. Asked about the timeline for an MTD-style digitalisation of other taxes, the Revenue replied that ‘VAT-mod’ is on the roadmap and discussions are already underway.


(L) Audrey Mooney, Support Manager at BrightPay. (R) Sinead Sweeney, Revenue Change and Communications Manager for PAYE Modernisation.

AutoEntry, another Ireland-headquartered business, spoke about harnessing AI and automation to reduce time spent on data entry, and SmartVault delivered the ‘Bookkeeper’s Guide to Going Virtual’ discussing how to use its secure online document-sharing portal to add value for clients and drive efficiency.

ICB Ireland members gathered in the hotel’s Lime Tree Bar for an informal networking drink and nibbles at the conclusion of the half-day event. Summing up perfectly, Ed Heffernan, wished everyone farewell and toasted his ‘passion and respect for bookkeepers as the cornerstone of every good business.’

(L-R) Bruno Simoes MICB PM.Dip, Aaron McDonnell MICB, Marie Wells MICB, Ami Copeland, ICB Head of Communications

If you are based in Ireland, please contact Tena Sheil at StudyOnline to discuss flexible training options to take your career to the next level.


ICB Ireland website: