Are you a Part Qualified accountant?

Part Qualified accountants can become members of ICB by using their existing qualifications, without the need to take ICB assessments.

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If you are already a part qualified accountant becoming a member of ICB by exemption is simple and straightforward.  You will be required to show proof of what you have already achieved and then complete one single Membership Entrance Paper (MEP), which can normally be completed at your place of work or other acceptable location.  Although you are a part qualified accountant, and no doubt wishing to achieve qualified status in due course, becoming a Certified Bookkeeper will not only open up new career prospects for you but will demonstrate to future employers that you fully understand the underlying principles of the whole financial structure.  The MEP tests your knowledge of bookkeeping and, in conjunction with your accounting qualifications, enables ICB to award you the level of membership that is appropriate to your skills and competence.
As soon as you are appointed a Certified Bookkeeper you can apply for a Practice Licence and start your own bookkeeping business.

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Why you should join ICB

The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers is the world's largest bookkeeping institute.  It has members in 110 countries across the globe.  Self-employed bookkeepers in the UK support start-ups, small, medium and large businesses with their day to day financial management.  Many practice licence holders have multiple staff members and hundreds of clients.

ICB offers continued support for its members through technical support, software education workshops, branch meetings, the Bookkeepers Summit and the ICB Global Annual Dinner and Luca Awards.

Call ICB on 0845 060 2345 to find out more. 

What do you need?

To make an Application for Membership by Exemption you will need to provide UK accounting qualifications that correspond to the ICB syllabus and are dated within the last two years.

How long does the application take?

Applying for Membership by Exemption can take up to three months from the point your application is received.  Please let us know if you are already running a business and need supervision under the Money Laundering Regulations during this time.

What does it cost?

There is a one-off non-refundable application fee payable upon application. Once exemptions are granted and you are offered membership, you will pay an exemption fee in addition to your first year's membership subscription fee. These fees are determined by the level of membership you are offered.

Fees & Subscriptions

Making your application

1. Submit an Online Application

You can submit an application for membership by exemption at any time throughout the year.  

When you are ready, please complete the online form and pay the non-refundable application fee with a credit or debit card. Once you have completed the online application form you will have set up an account and be given an ICB Number that you can use as a reference when contacting us.   

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2. Submit the Supporting Documents

Your application will not be processed until all supporting documents are received. You can upload them through your online account or send them by mail or email.  

Required Items:

  1. Copy of passport and/or photo driving licence •
  2. CV or cover letter detailing work experience and study to date •
  3. Copies of relevant qualification certificates and/or full contact details for two referees
  4. If applicable, details of your company and any staff members, and the services you are/will be offering
  5. If applicable, details of your MLR Supervision 

3. Complete the Membership Entrance Paper (MEP), if applicable

We will contact you to confirm your application and all necessary documentation has been received. As soon as we have received your references we will contact you to arrange for the MEP to be sent.

All applicants are required to complete this skills appraisal to assess the level of membership that should be offered.  The skills appraisal covers elements of ICB's bookkeeping syllabus at Levels I to III which is the usual entry requirement for full Member, Certified Bookkeeper status. The MEP should take a competent bookkeeper no more than three hours to complete.

Waiting for a decision

Your application will be passed to the Admissions Panel for a decision once all necessary documentation has been gathered, including the results of your MEP and responses from reference requests if applicable.

When an application will not be accepted

ICB cannot offer exemptions from any ICB examination that you have attempted and failed in the past, even if you have obtained a reciprocal qualification from another awarding body.

You will be required to make a formal application for exemption, and the decision will be made by the Admissions Panel based on your application as a whole.

Using your qualifications

ICB recognises certain qualifications awarded by other institutes, examination boards and awarding bodies.

If you are applying solely on the basis of your qualifications, please bear in mind your qualifications must have been gained in the UK within the last two years. Qualifications awarded by other awarding bodies are accepted only where they correspond to the ICB syllabus and a satisfactory mark has been obtained by the applicant. ICB may also specify the grade or percentage that needs to have been achieved.

Please ensure you forward copies (not originals) of qualification certificates and results sheets. ICB does not offer exemptions based on exemptions granted by other bodies.


Professional status, global recognition, support, exclusive discounts, and the kinship of the world’s biggest bookkeeper community.

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If we are unable to award exemptions based on your qualification or experience, you can take our examinations to gain membership.

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Ready to apply for Exemption?

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