There are nearly 4000 ICB Practices with 4 to 400 clients each. The nature of your venture may change as you develop your business over time; gaining new clients and offering a richer service as you become more qualified & experienced.
Client acquisition & retention
In order to develop your business you need to acquire clients and retain them. You should ask yourself:
Who are the clients you are approaching and what issues do they face? How can you help solve those issues and what makes you different from other bookkeepers?
Once you can answer these questions you will find it easier to target your marketing efforts and to keep your existing clients engaged.
Your ICB membership distinguishes you from bookkeepers affiliated with smaller bodies or those without professional membership. You can use the following marks of distinction to sell yourself as an ICB Practice Licence holder:
- You are a member of the world's leading bookkeeping organisation
- You have a professional qualification, training and membership
- You have Professional Indemnity Insurance
- You are supervised under the Money Laundering Regulations
- Your Institute monitors standards and provides best practice guidelines
- You are governed by a set of Professional Conduct Regulations
- Your skills & knowledge are kept up to date through Continuing Professional Development
- In the case of any disputes your clients can contact the Institute
Use your Practice Licence Holder Benefits
- List your Practice in the ICB Find a Bookkeeper Directory
- Use the ICB heraldic crest on your stationery and website
- Use the designation Certified Bookkeeper if you are an Associate (AICB), Member (MICB) or Fellow (FICB)
- Take advantage of the free checking service for your stationery, website or marketing materials
- Read through these Running a Practice pages of the website for useful information and tips - most of the pages are only available to Practice Licence holders
Advice from other members
"I always say, people don't buy into the business - they buy into the people. As well as having great technical skills we need to be excellent communicators and be prepared for total flexibility in our approach."
Claire Packham FICB
“I've been self-employed as a bookkeeper for 17 years, and make a very successful income from it. (Turnover this year will be just under £70k!) I started out part time when the children were very young - working from home.
“Although I was initially aiming at the self employed/small business, I found the clients I got were much bigger businesses than I was targeting with my marketing - although that did mean I generally had to work in their offices. However, with remote working these days - you can do anything from home. Word of mouth is great for building your business, so just one satisfied client will work wonders. When quoting to clients, always remember to point out that they don't need to pay employers NIC, holiday pay and no worries about redundancy and other employment issues.
“I am still turning away clients on a regular basis because I just can't take on any more work.”
Forum user 'Cath' MICB PM.Dip
"I have been in business for 11 years and work 60+ hours some weeks. I do self assessment as it in an area I enjoy and I have approx 50 clients. I have had staff and premises but recently decided to go back to working alone therefore reaping more profit. Most of my clients have been referrals from existing clients."
Sharon Eyre AICB PM.Dip
“To win clients you need to explain to them why they should choose you. What benefits can you offer them? This leads to the next big mistake made by so many bookkeepers; clients don't want to know that you do general ledgers and bank reconciliations. Many clients don't even know or care what these are. They want to know that you understand the problems they face in their business and that you can help solve them.”
Kris McCulloch MICB PM.Dip
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