There’s snow business like Bookkeeper business

Well this was all a little unexpected. The first few days of March saw the country turning white, with everything grinding slowly to a stop. Isn’t it great that so many of us are now cloud-based and can carry on with work regardless? The show must go on. 

Inspiring members

After the huge success of Inspire Tour in 2016, this year we are once again taking the ICB message to cities up and down the UK.  Seventeen locations; one big message: You’re not just Bookkeepers, you’re ICB Bookkeepers.

This year is already being flooded with great seminars and conferences from all the leading software companies. But the ICB Inspire Tour is designed for you, the Bookkeeper.  The programme is jam-packed with practical information, instruction and thought leading presentations. Our big Sponsor for the Tour this year is Sage and I am also really pleased that Auto Entry will be with us too.You will certainly leave on a high.The full list of venues can be found at  Earlybird prices are still available for some venues but we are beginning to fill up so be quick.

Apprenticeships Week launched

ICB Director of Technical Policy, Jacquie Mount, and I were guests of the BBC at the launch of National Apprenticeships Week.  

The first of many events scheduled for ther week, the BBC event showcased not only their own huge success with Apprentices but also talked about the growing diversity of Apprenticeships that were available across almost all trades and professions and in particular the way in which Apprenticeships were reaching a very diverse audience.  Representatives from The Royal Air Force and Barclays Bank talked of their experiences with schemes and Barclays in particular said that Apprenticeships had been targeted at people who would not normally have been able to achieve their entrance criteria.  But by getting people with the right attitude and ambition, Barclays felt that they have successfully recruited people who were good enough to challenge their Degree intake.

Damien Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, said that Apprenticeships were not just win, win but win, win, win; good for the Apprentice, good for the employer, good for the country.

Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, Sue Husband, said that Apprenticeships were all about inclusion and were bridging the class divide.  Jonathan Mitchel, Deputy Director of the Institute of Apprenticeships, said that much had been made by the media of falling numbers of enrolments but that the underlying figures were growing exponentially. 

Much of the success in recent months was put down to the Young Ambassadors Network,  a team of successful your Apprentices who were going out into schools, colleges and Universities to talk at first hand of their own experiences and to show how much could be achieved.

ICB is very excited to have been accredited End Point Assessor of Apprenticeships.

A question of Trust

All members in practice were forwarded a short questionnaire to complete. But a bit like small chillies, this small survey packed a punch and is important, and failure to complete the survey could potentially bring tears to your eyes.

The survey is in response to questions from HMRC, who want to know how many ICB members help their clients set up companies or allow their address to be used as a Registered Address for a client, or even act as Company Secretary of Director for a client’s company. There doesn’t seem to be a logical reason for doing this, so HMRC feel it might be to hide fraud or other activity.From the information that ICB and the other Supervisors provide, HMRC will set up a comprehensive, profession-wide list of those people or practices that do.

Thank you for all those who responded immediately, more than 500 in the first hour.

A promise is a promise

As promised in the last issue, we are today releasing not one, not two but three new documents for you to read and use. We know that you are all very busy and that you spend so much time on your clients’ and employers’ paperwork that you have too little time left to look after your own, so these excellent new documents are designed to make your life easier, whilst at the same time keeping your affairs in order:

Letter of Engagement

You must have a contract between you and your clients. It means that you and they can’t forget what was agreed, that both sides know what is expected of the other and it also sets out what you are going to charge and for what. The ICB LOE template has been brought thoroughly up to date and can simply be adapted to your own needs. Both you and your client then sign the agreement and the contract is set.


Taking Lien

Unfortunately, things sometimes don’t go to plan and there is a parting of the waves. With a proper Letter of Engagement in place this will certainly be easier. But if your former best friend suddenly grows horns and refuses to pay your final invoice, what can you do? This document points out what you can’t do.  

Read more...                                                                          

If you had a problem how would you COPE

Sometimes things happen and the last thing you want to be worrying about is running your business. Whether it's something bad like an illness or good like another baby, all members in practice need to have in place a contingency plan. A bit like life insurance or writing a will, we all put it off. Yet a change in your circumstances, handled properly, need not be anything more than a ‘blip’ and you can return to take up the reins of your practice, confident in the knowledge that, during your temporary absence, your practice was in good hands.  

Most members don’t even know where to start, so ICB has written the Continuation of Practice Engagement (COPE) that will give you some of the things you need to think about plus provide a contract to have in place just in case. To make this work you will need to have a friend, colleague or contact in place to take the reins. Attending an ICB Branch Meeting, the Inspire Tour or the Summit, will give you the opportunity to network with other members. Next time you meet a group of them, keep an eye out for someone whom you would feel confident in working with.