ICB supervises nearly 3500 bookkeepers working in public practice under our Practice Licence scheme.

If you are a bookkeeper running your own business and providing a service to clients, you are legally required to have a supervising body in accordance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (MLR). ICB members are supervised through the Practice Licence scheme. 

If you are not yet a member, we can offer you temporary MLR supervision whilst you apply for membership. Upon your admission to membership your MLR supervision will be included as part of your Practice Licence. Temporary MLR supervision is subject to terms and conditions and only awarded to established bookkeeping businesses who meet ICB's criteria. We would be happy to help you with your application; if you have any questions please call us on 0203 405 4000.

If you are running a bookkeeping business and are not registered with an MLR supervisory body, you are breaching Regulation 56 of the MLR and should apply to a supervisor as soon as possible. You may be asked to pay a penalty and/or unpaid fees.

ICB members in public practice must hold an ICB Practice Licence even if they are registered with another body that is acting as their MLR supervisor. If this applies to you please send proof of your MLR supervision together with your application for a Practice Licence.

> Practice Licence in detail

> Money Laundering Regulations resources

> MLR Supervision for members of affiliated bodies


Becoming self-employed has given me a better life

ICB member Leisa Turnbull had her successful bookkeeping business featured in Woman and Home magazine after turning over almost £30,000 within her first year of trading. Leisa told Woman and Home magazine:

"the beauty of bookkeeping is that you can work as much or as little as you want - I work four days a week and only during school hours.  Since I started, I've doubled my earnings month on month."


Women & Home article small

click image to read full article

Running your own business

99% of the UK's businesses are classed as 'small' with fewer than 50 employees. In fact, one-man-bands account for almost three-quarters of all businesses.  There is therefore no shortage of companies who might potentially wish to outsource their bookkeeping and who only require a bookkeeper for a few hours a month or a couple of days a week. As an ICB Practice Licence holder you could set up your own business to offer services to multiple clients on a self-employed basis.

Are you ready?

Working self employed does not suit everyone and there are lots of things to consider before you make any big decisions. You should bear in mind that your business will need your people skills just as much as your bookkeeping skills. Successful startups have a plan for proactively acquiring those crucial first clients, but once your bookkeeping business is established you should find that you gain clients just through word of mouth.


A4 Guide to starting your bookkeeping business

ICB has produced a handy A4 guide to answer the important questions about setting up a bookkeeping business. ICB can send this to you in the post together with an application form for a Practice Licence and information about compulsory insurance for your business.

Please call or email ICB to request the guide, quoting your ICB Number.

0203 405 4000

Benefits for Members with a Practice Licence 

Practice Licence holders benefit from enhanced access to the restricted content within the Running a Practice section of the website.  You can see what sort of content is included from the right hand menu and it includes:

  • Advice on marketing and advertising
  • Advice on contacting accountants and potential clients
  • Discounted Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Downloadable templates for letters of engagement and contracts

Once you're an ICB Practice Licence holder you can use ICB's heraldic crest on your website and marketing collateral.

Further reading:

Setting Up Your Business Checklist

Practice Licence in detail

Discounted Professional Indemnity Insurance

UK SME Statistics


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