Anish Jose MICB PM.Dip qualified as a Certified Bookkeeper in just over a month, choosing ICB over ACCA because of the flexible on-demand exams and practical syllabus

Employed by an accounting firm in Essex, Anish decided to enrol with ICB in April so that he could start his own practice or ‘do a bit of freelancing’. Despite completing all of his exams by the end of May, Anish is humble about his achievements and attributes his success to an early start. ‘In India, where I grew up, we learn bookkeeping in school starting at debits and credits. After school I did a Bachelors Degree in Commerce and Accounting in Delhi and started work in the accounting field itself. I never really lost my touch with the debits and credits so starting ICB’s Level 2 was really straightforward for me.'

After working at some large corporations in India such as IBM and Mercer, Anish moved to the UK five years ago to join his wife who was already here working for the NHS. Since living in the UK, Anish’s experience working in accountancy firms makes him excited about helping small business clients, ‘Now that I’m working with small-scale businesses, I know what they go through and what services they want from a bookkeeper. I want to help them identify areas for improvement, help make those improvements, and help the business grow. I get a lot of satisfaction by seeing the result of my efforts in company profits.'

It’s this focus on small businesses that ultimately led Anish to choose ICB. ‘I did look at other institutions, but if you’re only looking after small businesses, then you would not use most or even half of what you learn.’  Speed and flexibility were also factors, ‘with ICB you can take exams at any time, any day, and most of the results come straight away. I was thinking of studying with ACCA but with having kids and a job, and my wife also working, I didn’t have much time to study and didn’t want to waste time learning something that later on I wouldn’t even use. Some other institutions have only one exam every three months and you have to spend five or six years studying – I’d lose interest! ICB is a quicker route and more useful.’

ICB is a quicker route and more useful.

Asked if, considering his previous accounting experience and the short time it took to qualify, he learned anything new when studying with ICB, Anish explains, 'Level 3 was a useful refresher for me – especially the charity and the partnership accounts. In Level 4, Capital Allowances was something else useful I haven’t dealt with in my recent work.'

'I used the mocks to find out the areas where I was lagging, so I could go back and refresh and understand it in the right way.’

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the M8 is now a home-based remote-proctored exam, and we wanted to know how Anish got on with it. 'It was a great experience! Before I did it, I was quite worried about how it would work. Once I booked the exam, I got a snapshot of how it would be like, and it was really straightforward.'

M8 was a great experience!

'I would like to thank my wife for her support during the period as she managed the kids along with her long and stressful working hours of caring for Covid-affected patients. Whenever I needed a few hours, day or night, to continue with my studies, she never complained and allowed me to concentrate on my studies.'


Watch Anish appearing in Episode 47 of ICB TV

Even though he’s achieved ICB membership, Anish is keen to continue learning. 'Whenever I am working, I try to learn something new and learn something that keeps me motivated - always adding to my skillset.' So how does ICB membership help him on that journey?  'ICB membership gives you that edge of professionalism and credibility. Getting an ICB Practice Licence [to run your own business] is a big addition and sets you apart from anyone else who isn’t regulated.'

ICB membership gives you that edge of professionalism and credibility

Gaining globally-recognized bookkeeping qualifications also makes Anish feel more confident and helps him provide a great service, 'for me, when I am working on any sort of accounts, I like the bookkeeping to be perfect. So, if I am the one who is doing the bookkeeping, then I am more confident doing the accounts. And us bookkeepers, we have a lot of patience when it comes to bookkeeping, because it does take a long time. That’s where the automation can come in. If you keep on doing manual inputs, even if you are working with a small business, you are wasting time and you won’t be able to make true value for your client.'

Asked for his opinion on whether he sees automation as a threat, Anish is unphased, 'I hear a lot of people question if a business will need a bookkeeper if they use automation software, but you need a human to see if the software is doing what you need. When it comes to more inter-management sort of things, like if an invoice needs to be accrued or pre-paid, then I think a human being has more expertise. 

'10 years ago there wasn’t much talk of software but now there's so much, from banking apps to accounting software. We as bookkeepers can help businesses understand all these new tools. Because we know what the end result should be, we can help businesses use software to their advantage. I think automation challenges and motivates us to keep thinking and deliver even more.'

If you'd like to know more about being a student with ICB please speak to our friendly team on 0203 405 4000 or find out more here