The power of bookkeepers: Reflections on ICB’s annual summitby
Joanne Birtwistle attended the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers summit last week and reports on the news and inspiring stories heard from the show floor.
At AccountingWEB, the bookkeeping community is one I feel most connected to and despite having hosted the bookkeeping show with Jo Wood and Zoe Whitman for 13 episodes, there is always more to learn and discover.
So last week, I attended the annual bookkeeper ICB’s summit at the Westminster Park Plaza in London. It was my first time at this event, and it was great to network, gain insights and strengthen my connections with the bookkeeping community.
Sharing inspiration stories
The ICB’s membership is 78% female and this helped to give the summit a tone and atmosphere distinct from any other accounting event or indeed business events I have attended before. The sense of community, togetherness and collaboration was refreshing and real and the stories shared were inspiring.
Take Lara Manton, who shared an unusual tale of scope creep that demonstrated how being there for clients can sometimes lead to unexpected opportunities.
Lara began a project for a longstanding client who produces corporate videos... and ended up managing the entire budget, payments and payroll for the 10th anniversary of Top Chef, the US version of MasterChef. It sounded like a rollercoaster ride – albeit one where she says if she did do it again, it would be at an increased hourly rate!
ICB opposes single AML regulator
There were also practical sessions – Garry Carter, co-founder and head of compliance, gave members an update on the proposed reform of the anti-money laundering (AML) supervisory system – along with what the changes would mean for the ICB as a supervisory body.
The Treasury is looking at four potential models to beef up AML supervision, ranging from the creation of a new single AML regulator to single regulators for the accountancy and legal sectors or strengthening the supervisor of supervisors: the Office of Professional Body Anti-money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS).
If the Treasury chooses the single new regulator model, professional bodies and HMRC will be stripped of their AML supervisory powers. Carter said that the ICB sees OPBAS Plus as the best option – with the body continuing its work on the assumption it will “remain as we are” in the meantime, with a decision expected in the second quarter of 2024.
This view falls in line with a number of professional bodies, including ACCA, ICAS and the ICAEW, which have publicly backed the proposal to enhance the powers of OPBAS, saying this approach would carry the least cost and disruption.
The Oscars of bookkeeping
After the summit there was a quick changing into formal attire before reconvening for the annual LUCA awards. It was a memorable and uplifting night, clearly showcasing the supportive nature of the bookkeeping community, which concluded with a poignant moment as our own John Stokdyk was posthumously honoured with the Michael Kintore Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession Award. I collected the award, along with our events director Mike Goldsmith from ICB’s chief executive Ami Copeland (below).
I’d like to thank Ami for recognising John at the Awards – it meant a lot to the whole team.
Outside of the conference hall in the exhibitor space, our chief executive Tom Dunkerley and Mike Goldsmith, were making noise about our upcoming Festival of Bookkeepers and Accountants (FAB) on 13-14 March at the NEC in Birmingham.
We are a mainstream event that finally recognises the bookkeeping community and we are proud to be working with the ICB on a dedicated area at the event that is all about bookkeepers – the bookkeepers retreat.
This festival aims to celebrate and acknowledge the vital role bookkeepers play in businesses, enhancing their clients’ bottom lines. We want to ensure that FAB truly reflects the wants and needs of bookkeepers. That’s why we need your active engagement and input. We want to hear directly from you, the bookkeeping community, about what you would like to see at FAB.
Finally, mark your calendars for the final bookkeeping show of the year on the 29 November. We will be discussing strategies to navigate the upcoming self-assessment season – come armed with your questions. Remember that all previous bookkeeping shows are available on demand, and I am always open to your comments and suggestions on how we can better serve this fantastic community and ensure that you feel at home with AccountingWEB.