Elspeth Cordray MICB PM.Dip is living proof that being a Certified Bookkeeper prepares you for anything. In the latest of our member profiles, we discover how Elspeth used ICB qualifications to set up her own business around her growing family, before moving on to a role in an award-winning software firm.

Elspeth always had an interest in tech, software and ecommerce. But like many of us, she initially chose a job that fit around her family. Starting out in an admin role at a local construction firm, she gradually took on more responsibilities, especially in credit control. But she didn't stop there. She knew she needed qualifications to move up, so she turned to ICB for help. Studying remotely, Elspeth earned her ICB qualifications in 2008 and built a business picking up work via the ICB website listings.

Change - adapt - improve

As her family grew, Elspeth took a break to focus on homeschooling her six children. Various life changes meant that she was looking to restart her business in 2017 – but after five years out of the industry, had to retake her ICB exams. In a herculean effort, Elspeth combined self-study and learning with e-Careers to pass eight exams within nine months. EC Bookkeeping Services was back in business. 

“At first, I was overwhelmed at the thought of having to take all the exams, but it actually worked out for the best. The syllabus had been updated, and it meant I could add more skills – and services – to what I could offer my clients.”  

Elspeth also completed her Payroll qualifications with Ideal Schools, which meant she could now offer Payroll, VAT and bookkeeping.  

Finding her niche

As her business grew, she found a specialism with several e-commerce clients. The business boomed, so much so that in 2018 she brought in other ICB members to help out. “I never had a website, I never advertised. The business grew organically because people would recommend me. It felt safer to subcontract to ICB members because they were just so competent and understood the level of service I wanted to provide.” 

Elspeth's focus remained on ecommerce clients, and her skills didn't go unnoticed. Ecommerce Software Specialists A2X, invited her to review a new VAT feature. And they loved her work. 

“I had a hankering to work in the software world and I really enjoyed working with the lovely A2X team because they’re such fun! In 2020 when lockdown came, everyone wanted to sell online and needed ecommerce support. This meant that my role at A2X expanded, and I became responsible for Customer Support in the UK.” 

And the ICB came too! 

Elspeth still considers herself a bookkeeper, and has brought the ICB with her in her new role. “I’ve helped to recruit two of the ICB members I used to subcontract to in my practice into my team at A2X. ICB skills are really transferrable, and the two individuals are widely recognised as some of the most reliable, conscientious and technically capable team members in the business. The skills we have all gained from our ICB qualifications have prepared us for so much and we’re able to support customers in a wide variety of ways.” 

“I love what I do now, and use my bookkeeping skills every day as I’m able to understand exactly what our customers are going through. It’s important that I stay up to date with my ICB qualifications and everything that goes along with it. I’m looking forward to seeing my fellow bookkeepers in November at the Bookkeepers Summit!” Elspeth continues to undertake pro bono work for charities.  

Ami Copeland, CEO of ICB  

“Elspeth is a true inspiration. We love to see our members flourish. We have incredibly high standards at ICB – and that means our Certified Bookkeepers can be relied upon for accuracy, tenacity and great problem-solving skills. ICB bookkeepers are an asset for any business!”