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A year to remember for Lincolnshire bookkeeping business

Clare Kendall

If you are considering the switch from AAT to ICB to enhance your self-employed opportunities, CLICKING HERE will set you on the right path.

Lincolnshire mum of two Clare Kendall has boosted her bookkeeping career thanks to completing the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) Level 4 Certificate - Self-Assessment Taxation Returns course with leading home study college, Ideal Schools.

In less than a year, the businesswoman has not only launched her own firm and grown it to over a dozen customers but has also won the highly coveted New Practice of the Year at the annual ‘Oscars’ of bookkeeping’, the LUCA Awards. 

Clare said: “I studied for Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualifications with a local training provider and got as far as level 3 which allows you to become a self-employed bookkeeper.

“When looking to study for the next level, however, it became clear that it would take too long for me to achieve what I wanted. I am an ambitious person, so after researching my options and speaking with some fellow Lincolnshire bookkeepers I switched at the start of 2020 to study with ICB as this offered a quicker route to becoming a licensed and regulated professional.

“I was accepted quickly as an ICB Member due to my existing AAT qualifications. Like everyone else, my plans changed when the pandemic struck. As my husband was put on furlough, he moved on to childcare duties, which, in turn, allowed me to go all-in on my bookkeeping and study for the ICB self-assessment course with Ideal Schools.

“It’s the best decision I made as it has allowed me to become a ‘one stop shop’ bookkeeper rather than having to pass income tax self-assessment claims to someone else. I think 95% of the ICB Lincolnshire Branch are Ideal Schools students and they recommended I get in touch and speak with its director, Brian McVean, to chat through my options for getting underway.

“The Ideal School’ service is fantastic as you get feedback and answers to problems from Eszter, my tutor, straight away. When I studied elsewhere, I was used to not getting an answer for 24 hours or longer which was not ideal as not knowing an answer can really slow down the whole process of studying and progressing.

“It is hard enough studying at home, so it is a big relief to know someone is at the end of a phone, email or on Facebook groups to help you out. So, I would 100% recommend Ideal Schools as they have been brilliant”, she said.

Having passed the SA course and now picking up lots of clients, Clare also recently won the New Practice of the Year award at the 2020 ICB LUCA Awards.

“The end of 2020 is certainly very different to how it started in terms of my career. As much as I enjoyed the AAT courses, had I chosen to go for the level 4 with AAT then I would not even have completed it yet.

“Instead, going down the ICB route has seen me start my own business, pass the self-assessment tax returns course, have over a dozen clients - half of whom use me to do their tax returns work – and win a LUCA award. 

“Like everyone else I’m looking forward to recharging over Christmas but I’m planning for further growth in 2021 as I have just signed up to do the ICB’s Financial Statements course through Ideal Schools. And once my youngest starts primary school after summer I’ll be able to spend even more time on the business.”

Brian McVean, said: “Clare’s progress has been fantastic and goes to show what can be achieved if you are determined and dedicated. She is a role model to students at the beginning of their bookkeeping journey and we look forward to working with her as she continues her studies.”

Quick fire questions:

  • Life before bookkeeper?

    I was a web developer (which came in handy for my own website www.clkbooks.co.uk) then systems analyst with the NHS when it was doing changes management of IT systems. I did twelve years at the NHS in total and loved the job. The career advisor at school said a systems analyst was the job for me and they were right as I love coding.

     

  • What changed?

    When starting our family, we moved from Sheffield to Lincolnshire which meant a three hour round trip commute every day to the same hospital (no remote working then) and just wasn’t sustainable with a young family.

     

  • Why bookkeeping?

    When searching for what to do next I spent a long time researching my options and decided that bookkeeping was the right fit for me. I signed up to study AAT level 2 with a local college, but studying was a bit start-stop for 3 years as I had another child.

     

  • Why Ideal Schools?

    I was recommended to Ideal Schools via my local ICB branch and they have been excellent since day one. I look forward to continuing my bookkeeping journey with them. 

     

  • Typical day now

Having a young family, I love the flexibility that a bookkeeping career offers. It varies so much day to day: from calling HMRC on behalf of clients, to tidying up work for a limited company, to then passing onto their accountant to helping sole traders.