Before you start running your own bookkeeping business you need to hold a Practice Licence and comply with its requirements.

Each Practice Licence lasts for a period of one year and runs alongside your membership. The Practice Licence is available to ICB Payroll Agents, Members (MICB) and Fellows (FICB) who are in good standing and can comply with the ICB Bankruptcy and Criminal Convictions policy. 

Your Practice Licence includes supervision under the Money Laundering Regulations (MLR) at no extra cost. It is a legal requirement that bookkeepers in practice be supervised. As a Practice Licence holder, you will have access to a range of guidance and handy tools for complying with your MLR duties. For more information on MLR as a non-member, or a member supervised by another body, please visit the MLR section of the website.

How to Apply

You can apply for a Practice Licence at any time of year.  Applications will be processed within 28 days.  

Please call ICB, or send an email, to request the Practice Licence Application Form to be posted out to you.  

You can request the form to be sent by email.

All Practice Licence applications must be returned via email.  

0203 405 4000

Practice Licence Holder Duties

  • Up to date membership at Payroll Agent, Associate Member with Diploma in Payroll Management (AICB PM.Dip) or higher
    to be renewed on time each year

  • Up to date Practice Licence
    to be renewed on time each year and promptly updated in the event of any change of details or company entity eg. incorporation as a Limited Company

  • Compliance with the ICB Professional Conduct Regulations
    view a copy here

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance for your practice
    information will be sent with your Practice Licence application

  • Compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations
    tools & guidance available once your Practice Licence is awarded

Changing Entity

Changing entity means changing the fundamental business set-up of a Practice and how it trades and usually means changing from a sole trader to a Limited Liability Company or vice versa. It can also mean changing from or to a partnership or any other change. Further information on types of businesses is available from Companies House:

Holders of an ICB Practice Licence are required to notify ICB of any changes; this includes but is not limited to change of address, change of directors/principles, and change of entity. Practice Licence holders are required to notify ICB of any changes within 30 days of the change. Failure to notify ICB within this time limit is a contravention of rule 39 of the Professional Conduct Regulations and may lead to disciplinary action.*

When changing the entity of the Practice the current licence must cease and a new application submitted for the new entity. A new fee is payable in full for the new licence and any remaining fee paid for the previous practice is non-refundable. It is therefore advisable to try wherever possible to facilitate changes to coincide with the renewal of your Practice Licence. 

*Changes which are discovered by ICB after the event are treated more seriously. This is in line with the HMRC quidelines of voluntary and non-voluntary disclosure of relevant information.  

Practice Licence Cancellation

You are usually required to retain your Practice Licence even if you have reduced the size of your practice, are no longer charging a fee, or have reached retirement age. Please contact ICB on 0203 405 4000 to discuss the details of your situation.

If you are no longer in public practice please let ICB know at the earliest opportunity and send notification in writing.  You will be sent a Non-Practising Declaration Form to sign to confirm you have closed the practice and completed the necessary steps to officially cease trading.

You will be liable for all outstanding Practice Licence fees up to and including the forthcoming year's renewal fee unless written notification that you have ceased practising is received at least one month prior to the due date of your renewal fee.


Starting Your Bookkeeping Business A4 guide

When we send your Practice Licence Application Form you will automatically receive our handy A4 guide on setting up a bookkeeping business.  

Exclusive benefits for Practice Licence holders

Although the Practice Licence is compulsory for members in public practice, there are many exclusive benefits to being part of the scheme:

  • Automatic cover, at no extra cost, under the Money Laundering Regulations (as legally required by all bookkeepers in public practice)
  • Use of the ICB heraldic crest on your website, promotional materials and stationery
  • Stationery templates and ready-made bookkeeper flyers at discounted rates through ICBusiness
  • Access to more job vacancies
  • Discounted Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Enhanced telephone support including marketing advice
  • Access to restricted web content to include:
     Marketing and advertising guidance
     Advice on contacting accountants and potential clients
     Advice on writing letters of engagement and contracts

Compulsory Insurance

As a Practice Licence holder you are required to have Professional Indemnity Insurance for your business. This is the only insurance you are required to take out and it will cover you in the event of any clients making a claim against you.

We will send further details with your Practice Licence Application Form.

Professional Indemnity Insurance information