Bookkeeping certification


Hi everyone!

I am new to this adventure and I am yet to officially go live with my business.
I was hoping to get some insight from those who offer bookkeeping services. As a practicing bookkeeper for the last 10 years, I have never been certified by a specific institution. I was wondering if anyone had any advice/recommendations…
Is it essential or just reassuring to potential clients? Are there certain institutes that are better known/reputable?

I noticed the following institute:

Any insider tips would be warmly welcomed!

I know I must be registered with HMRC re Money Laundering

Many Thanks


Big disclaimer: I’m not a bookkeeper, but I’m sure the ones on here will keep me right!! (Guys - jump in if I get stuff wrong!)

Firstly because bookkeeping has a legal element, you either need to be certified by one of the governing bodies (ICB, ACCA etc) or register for Anti Money Laundering Regulations with HMRC. My understanding on the qualification by experience route is that it’s blooming difficult and you have to pass various exams. However registration with the governing bodies mean that they rubber stamp your registration, and also that you get access to various training and networking events through the year… The registration fees (I believe) are roughly equal to what you’d pay for MLR registration.

NB: You cannot advertise bookkeeping or perform bookkeeping functions without registration or licensing in place. HMRC define bookkeeping as being something which affects the recording of accounts, which means that if you load stuff onto a live system like Xero/Kashflow/Sage Online/Quickbooks online etc, you are performing bookkeeping/accountancy.

HMRC in 2018 in conjunction with SVA and VAProMag launched an exemption for virtual assistants who perform limited bookkeeping as part of their business - but the rules are you must be turning over under £30k, the bookkeeping function must be less than 5% of your turnover and you have to register with them… Various other bits n pieces, but you can read more here:


Hi Caroline,
Thanks for getting back so quickly.
So am I right in thinking… so long as I’m registered with HMRC re money laundering I don’t need to be certified by an official body?
I’m keen to be 100 per cent certain.


No, but I would highly recommend it because:

  1. It’s the same cost as being registered with one of the bodies, but you get training and networking if you join.
  2. They are great at keeping you up to date with legislative changes (of which there are many).
  3. The clients are going to want to see proof - either qualifications from a recognised bookkeeping body or via the accountancy programmes.

Look at it this way: Would you entrust your car maintenance to someone who had “picked up a few skills over the years”? Or would you want someone properly qualified? That’s how clients will see it… And if they don’t, do you want to be put in an awkward professional situation if they intend to cut corners on their record keeping??

@valueaddbiz / @carolemeyrick1 / @virtuallyroz Any views?


Hi Caroline
Yes, I agree. Thanks for sharing your insights.
I’m nearly there now. Hopefully I’ll be up and running soon!


Hi everyone,

For what it is worth, I thought I would share the below response which I have just received from the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB). They aren’t providing Anti Money Laundering (AML) supervision to new memembers due to an administrative restructure which is a shame.

Here is the exact response I received:

'If you are a self-employed bookkeeper offering bookkeeping or accountancy related services to the public (this includes if you are subcontracted by an accountant) you need to be supervised under the Money Laundering Regulations 2017. The IAB is temporarily not issuing AML supervision to any new members, whilst the process of supervision is undergoing an administrative restructure. If you are likely to require AML supervision in the future you can register your interest with the compliance team (, who will contact you once this service is available again. We are doing our upmost to rectify this. A separate annual fee of £160 would usually apply and possible additional registration fees.


Oh that’s interesting! Thanks for sharing.