Adam is studying with Ideal Schools

Congratulations to Adam Skoullos, who is the first student to pass all the examinations in the 2019 Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping! We spoke to Adam to find out more about what he was doing before he started studying with ICB and what his plans for the future are. 

Why did you decide to take ICB’s bookkeeping examinations?

Prior to bookkeeping, I had built a career in the construction industry.  This was great but meant I was often working away through the week.  Once my fiancée and I started our family I wanted to be a more present and involved father and partner.  My fiancée is also studying with ICB and I found myself looking through her study material from Ideal Schools.  I found the double entry interesting and enjoyed the tasks.

With today’s technology and the ability to offer a virtual service and work from home, the planets aligned, and it became clear to me and my family that I should pursue bookkeeping.  With the ultimate plan to work for the family business, the question was how could I get the best training and how long would it take to develop the acumen to be able to offer a professional service.  After much research, I chose to go with ICB and Ideal Schools.  This journey also includes learning about payroll and the reporting requirements for Micro entities (FRS105) and results in achieving a Level 4 Diploma in Advanced Bookkeeping & Accounting.

To be able to work from home, pick my daughter up from school, make dinner for my family and maintain my fitness by hitting the gym every day is priceless.  Being a virtual bookkeeper has the potential to offer this for me and my family.  Getting to this position will provide a much greater quality of life than contracting and working away.  This is the crux as to why I have become a bookkeeper.  The question I ask myself every day though is, how can I make my new skillset count and how long will it take for me to develop a client base that will for a start provide me with a full-time job? This is a leap of faith but others are doing it and there has never been a better time to thrive as a virtual bookkeeper.      

Top study tips

Everyone is different and it took me a long time of struggling before I learnt how to study.  I undertake the same process on each lesson or topic:

Firstly, I read the content with an A4 blank paper pad next to me with all my coloured pens.  As I identify the key factors and core details for each factor, I create a colour coded flow chart of the information.  This allows me to create a visual mind map that really helps me log the information in chunks.  Then once I recall the main factor, I am more able to recall the details as well.  I then save my charts within a working reference book using tabs. I can then quickly go to that information to use it, each time reinforcing the information as knowledge. 

I will not move on until I have fully grasped the methodology or concept. I call this the mechanics. It is when you understand the dynamic of every nut and bolt in a process and how they affect each other. Sometimes this is frustrating when it does not make sense, but this is the key for me to really learning the material.  I often ask myself ‘am I learning to pass the exam or to become an expert’.  The answer gives me renewed determination. 

Lastly, I always drill down on where I made mistakes in mocks and make sure I learn from them.  

You can view examples of Adam's study notes below


What will you do once you have passed all of your exams?

My fiancée is a management accountant who is also studying with ICB.  We have a shared vision where we come together and develop a small and personable bookkeeping business.  Due to my experience working in the trades, I plan to develop a niche that really supports contractors and sub-contractors.

I did think long and hard about which way to go once qualified. I feel that you have to play to your strengths and choosing to specialise makes branding, marketing and content creation so much simpler, because you are focused on a specific client and there is a smaller pool of competitors.  I plan to complete my studies by the end of September, at which point I also plan to have the website up and have a marketing campaign ready to go.  Of course, it is nice to be achieving qualifications along the way - it really helps with having the belief that you can “make it”, as well as developing the self-image of being a competent bookkeeper.