Advice on Bookkeeping Courses


Hi Everyone

I am after a bit of advice. I would really like to offer bookkeeping services to my clients, but unfortunately I have very little background in accounts/bookkeeping, although I am good at figures.

I have looked at several courses, one in-particular which looks very good, but to be honest it is out of my price range.

Can anyone recommend a bookkeeping course that is a reasonable price?




Can’t say I can help on a suitable course, but have you considered outsourcing to a VA :slight_smile: If it’s something you don’t know about, you could employ a bookkeeping VA. By getting a reasonable rate from the client, you could take a percentage off the top, and get someone else to do the work.


My understanding is that in order to offer this service you need to be properly qualified and there are 2 bodies who do it… And then you also need to be registered for the Money Laundering Regulations too. The reason it is so expensive to do the courses is because it’s certainly a money spinner!

I’m sure there will be one of the bookkeeping VAs along soon.


Hi Heather

I do bookkeeping for clients but have not completed a bookkeeping course. However there is more to offering this service than knowing numbers.

If you are not registered with one of the bookkeeping institutes, whereby your membership covers Money Laundering registration and supervision, you will need to register with HMRC - this costs £110.00 per year and if you don’t registered and you are found to be offering this service, they will fine you. I didn’t register for the first two years as I was unaware of the changes in the regulations and I was then fined £100 and charged 2 years’ back registration. They also call on a regular basis to check that you are doing ok, that you are following the rules ie ensuring security checks/paperwork for your clients are correct etc.

Even if you don’t actually do the bookkeeping but offer this service through your company, and outsource it to another VA, you have to register with HMRC. You can find more details here: … troduction.

I started off by doing some spreadsheet work for a client which gradually grew into me doing his invoicing etc. I now work with various different online software packages which, technically speaking, don’t need any bookkeeping knowledge. However, over the years I have researched and kept myself up to date with the rules etc and work closely with clients’ accountants to ensure I do the best I can for my clients. All of my clients are aware I am not formally trained and trust that I will speak with their accountants if there is something I don’t understand. Doing my own accounts has also helped me. I am about to look at doing a bookkeeping course though with Pitmans, making use of my VA winning voucher, just to formalise my knowledge and to be able to assist clients a little better.

You need to have some knowledge of VAT - the different forms of it (flat rate, input/output and margin), what can be claimed for as expenses, salaries (if the client is an employer) and lots of other dos/don’ts.

Although expensive, if you really want to offer this service and don’t have the knowledge yet, doing one of the courses by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, Pitmans etc would be the best option. Don’t go for the AAT courses - these are accountancy based and you have to be fully qualified before you can start offering any bookkeeping services. Going down the AAT road is a bit of a double edge - you will eventually be a qualified accountant, but you can’t practice until qualified. However, legally anyone can actually set up as an accountant/bookkeeper without any certification, so long as they are registered with HMRC for Money Laundering.



Excellent information Dawn, thanks for posting!


A late reply but thank you for this Dawn - was coming on to ask a similar question and was delighted to find your answer :slight_smile:


This is also a late reply, but I trained and qualified with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers. I studied through Ideal Schools and they were/are fantastic!! You can sit as many levels as you choose and there are easier to manage monthly payment plans. Good luck!

Kirsten x


Thanks for the great explanation Dawn. I was actually looking at AAT courses as I’ve got 20 years experience but no formal qualifications and bookkeeping is my niche.


I’ve just finished the AAT path( 2 results pending - fingers crossed) at the end of level 3 you can apply to become a licensed bookkeeper (you don’t need to do level 2), they cover your money laundering supervision as part of your licence fee (£140) and there are resources such as engagement letters etc.


Hi Dawn, great information. I am doing a few bits and pieces on spreadsheets and am raising invoices. The client is now asking me to manage their new software for this, so I think I will be making a call to HMRC to check out what I need to do. Thank you


wow great information!
I am qualified by experience but it was still a grey area. As this is something I want to be able to offer.
I know as of next year it is all going digital isn’t it and you will need to submit accounts in a different way…i.e… using software etc