ICB supervises over 3700 bookkeepers working in public practice under its 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 2007 (MLR). ICB members are supervised through the Practice Licence scheme. 

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 non-members


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.

"We've increased our client base by 40% in the last year without spending a penny on advertising.  Being a qualified practice with ICB brings confidence, professionalism and integrity to Flex Accounting Services Ltd."

Beverley Flanagan
Flex Accounting Services Ltd
Practice of the Year winner

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.

0845 060 2345

Benefits for Members with a Practice Licence 

Practice Licence holders benefit from enhanced access to the restricted content within the Running a Bookkeeping Business 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
  • Advice on writing letters of engagement and contracts

Using the ICB's heraldic crest is also restricted to Practice Licence holders.

Further reading:

Setting Up Your Business Checklist

Practice Licence in detail

Discounted Professional Indemnity Insurance

UK SME Statistics


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