There’s always been something very special about Accountex. One of the biggest events in the accountancy calendar, where accounting professionals, software providers and professional bodies come together to share knowledge and collaborate. This year, however, the stakes are a bit higher, with the coronavirus restrictions at an end and an increased ability to network making this a bumper year for the conference.

 Accountex Panel: Why Bookkeepers Are The Future of Accountancy

Accountex Panel

Pictured from the left: Rasa D'Alton FICB PM.Dip, Director of Cloudit Bookkeeping Ltd, Lucy Brown, ICB Director of Professional Standards, Dayle Rodriguez, Kreston Reeves Systems Advisory Manager, and  Ami Coplenad, ICB Director of Communications. Not pictured: panel host Juliette Foster, Journalist and News Presenter.


The exhibition halls at London’s Excel were packed as the accountancy world descended on the multitude of stands, talks and exhibitions. Despite the hustle and bustle of the conference hall, it was clear that the pandemic had had a profound impact on business, with entrepreneurs increasingly turning to automation to manage their businesses during lockdown. This, added to the fact that the majority of new entrepreneurs are now under 30 presents bookkeepers with the challenge of having an emerging client base that is highly technologically literate. Figures show, however, that this does not mean that entrepreneurs are turning their back on bookkeeping support, with a fifty fold increase in their numbers since 2003, and a rapidly rising sector turnover hinting at increases in demand. It would therefore seem that what small business owners want is that intimate understanding of their business’ finance and a trusted advisor, such as an ICB Bookkeeper to help make sense of their numbers.


ICB 'Team Wednesday'

Pictured: ICB 'Team Wednesday'


Digitisation aside, the other key element of the conference for bookkeepers was the debate around the role of the accountant and the bookkeeper and what that meant for the future of both industries. In ICB's Accountex panel event on why bookkeepers are the future for accounting, experts from within and outside ICB found that if the two professions want to increase their productivity and service their clients better, they had to work as a team. Indeed, the speakers felt that the collaboration of bookkeepers and accountants would play to each party's strengths, with the bookkeeper utilising their close relationship with their clients and the accountant building on this knowledge to provide high-value advisory services to them. This seems to bear out when one considers the number of accountants looking to recruit ICB Bookkeepers to their practices that visited our stand at the conference, exemplifying the high regard in which members’ qualifications are held.


Of course, the most prominent topic of the show was the advent of MTD for ITSA, with software companies encouraging bookkeepers to start preparing their clients for the April 2024 commencement date. Many Accountex attendees raised concerns about the administrative burdens posed by the new legislation and the 4.2 million businesses that it now affects. As highly organised, adaptable and technologically savvy professionals, ICB Bookkeepers are best placed to cope with this seismic change and indeed utilise the inevitable increase in demand that it will cause to turbo charge their practices.

Garry Carter at AccountexWe were delighted to have seen so many ICB members at the conference and our stand. Given the degree of interest in bookkeeping services that we saw, it is clear that bookkeepers are extremely highly regarded by the accounting community. It is your client management acumen and intimate knowledge of the businesses that you work with that enables them to grow and thrive. As an ICB member, you should be incredibly proud of the important role you play in the economic health of the country, something ICB president, Garry Carter pointed out in his rousing address on why bookkeepers should be at the heart of accounting practices on the first day of the conference. ICB will continue to work hard to represent the interests of bookkeepers in this way both within and outside of the profession going forward.


Pictured: Garry Carter, ICB President and Co-Founder presenting 'Why You Should Put Bookkeepers At The Heart Of Your Practice'