Prince Michael of Kent welcomed ICB’s ‘family and friends’ to its inaugural Founders Lunch and roundtable discussion at the House of Lords

Among the key guests of honour was Bill Dodwell from the Office of Tax Simplification. He told delegates that bookkeepers have a key role to play in helping small businesses, which are often formed without sufficient help and guidance. Following the publication of the OTS report ‘Simplifying everyday tax for smaller businesses’ Dodwell stressed HMRC should be doing much more to leverage the support bookkeepers can bring in making the tax system work for millions of taxpayers.

Founders lunch

Clare Mannall FICB, Caroline Plumb OBE, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Bill Dowell

ICB’s Garry Carter then widened the debate, looking at the challenges for the decade ahead. Picking up from the discussion at the Summit, he even wondered if people thought being called ‘bookkeepers’ adequately explained the great work ICB bookkeepers provide UK SMEs.

The chair of the ICB advisory council Paula Veysey-Smith C.FICB felt that members need to keep getting the message out there that ICB bookkeepers really do so much more than just keep the books. She pointed to the close personal relationship bookkeepers have with their clients - it is the bookkeeper that provides the real support on their journey to becoming a successful, sustainable business.

Clare Mannall FICB, of Luca Award-winning small practice CEM Bookkeeping & Consultancy Ltd, agreed that it was that personal touch that gives ICB bookkeepers the edge. The ICB’s support and networking opportunities also mean she is able to grow her business with the confidence of being a Certified Bookkeeper.

Alastair Travis, VP at Tide, explained that keeping up-to-date with AI and the latest cloud technology will keep bookkeepers stay relevant and a vital resource for start-ups, micro businesses and SMEs. Tide business accounts now service one in eight small businesses, and he really didn’t see the bookkeeper's role diminishing in the next decade.

Caroline Plumb OBE, CEO at Fluidly agreed that bookkeepers are key in growing small businesses everywhere. She felt that creating partnerships was the way forward, and promised to continue the discussion in 2020.

The inaugural Founders Lunch was hosted by ICB co-founders, June & Garry Carter in the presence of ICB royal patron, HRH Prince Michael of Kent. The Carters were delighted to be joined by 2019's practice of the year Luca Award winners; New Practice (Open Counting House; Susan Bruland MICB) Small Practice (CEM Bookkeeping & Consultancy; Clare Mannall FICB) and Large Practice (Another Answer; Sylvia Bourhill C.FICB). Also in attendence were Chris Downing from Sage, Al Newman from Receipt Bank and Trent McLaren from Practice Ignition.