Home Learning College



I’ve noticed whilst trying to promote my VA business to people that the first thing they ask is if I can do bookkeeping and when I say that I can’t as I am not qualified, they seem to lose interest - most small businesses only seem bothered about getting rid of the bookkeeping.

So - I’ve taken the plunge and enrolled with the Home Learning College to study to become a professionally qualified Bookkeeper. It’s a really expensive course, which luckily I can pay for monthly, but once qualified, they pay for my membership with the ICB and I get all the SAGE training and the software.

Has anyone else done this course and can anyone give me any hot tips? I hope to get through the first two levels by christmas so that I can start promoting the service just before January year end.

Fingers crossed, once people trust me with their bookkeeping, it may open up a few more doors for me to do the rest of their admin!!!


Hi Nikki
I have noticed the same thing. I identified when starting out that this is a skill I need to develop, and so far almost eveyone has asked me about book keeping. I’m now looking for a home learning course, how have you got on with yours? Has it been worth it? and have you found it easy to work at alongside running your business?



Hi Steph,

I can recommend the course - obviously I can’t compare it to any others but the course material itself is easy to read and understand. Each chapter is broken down into a good mix of study, examples, practice questions and then the assignments.

I have not actually progressed as quickly as I would have liked, just because of work / life balance and juggling the study with the business and my family. However one thing that I have been lucky with is that I am doing the books for some friends of mine free of charge so that I can get the ‘real life work experience’ until I qualify. It’s good to know that you can study and do the exams at your own pace.

Good luck and please do let me know how you get on.

Nikki Thurston
Cloud 9 Admin


Do you need a formation qualification for book-keeping? I keep my own books and 'am offering manual book-keeping service to others. My knowledge comes from attending the free business link and HMRC workshops. Obviously I don’t have any knowledge of SAGE but there are some cheap courses available through Adult Education Community Colleges and occasionally free course via Learn Direct.

I have also discovered some websites via google which offer free courses which I am going to check out.


Hi MrsWilliam,

I agree with what you are saying to a point… I do my own bookkeeping etc but gaining a professional qualification and being a member of the ICB gives off a much more professional image (in my opinion) to clients.

I do know bookkeepers who don’t have a professional qualification - their knowledge comes from spending years in employment doing the books or perhaps looking after a partners business accounts etc. I’m not saying that they are any less professional or don’t know what they are doing, however I haven’t had as much experience in that field and therefore like the fact that I would be following set guidelines and procedures from a professional body such as the ICB.


Came across this thread while looking for some advice on Money Laundering Regulations Registration. Just wondered if you guys are offering bookkeeping as a service if you have complied with the HMRC requirements, it’s not something that a lot of people seem to be aware of and there’s a really good comment somewhere else on the forum by Sara Gill on how to comply.

Hope this helps


Hi to everyone in this thread!

I decided to look on the forum for bookkeeping advice and noticed Nikki’s thread on bookkeeping. I thought about doing a bookkeeping course, in fact I think I started one many years ago, but due to personal circumstances did not finish it!

However, I am finding the same as Steph and Nikki, that this is something that one needs and I wondered how you were getting on with your studying Nikki, and whether you could advise me on where to go to look for the course. I know I can just go online and look it up, but it is sometimes nice to get personal advice.

I have run a small retail business at home for many years with my husband and prepared the books for accounting, also submitting VAT returns, and also done bookwork for my family, but it is very different offering a service to clients and would like a qualification.



Hi to all of you

I offer bookkeeping to a number of clients but have had no formal training which hasn’t put the client off. However, I do use the same accounting package for them all which is extremely easy to use, and I also don’t offer any accounting advice.

Because I am not trained/qualified, I am registered with HMRC for Money Laundering. If you do start offering bookkeeping before you are qualified with any national bookkeeping body then I would recommend you register with HMRC otherwise you could be fined (I didn’t register when I first started and it cost me £100 fine).

The qualifying bodies do register you automatically when you pay your registration fee with them (ass I understand it).

Good luck to all with your courses.



Hi Dawn,

Thanks for replying to this post. Do you mind me asking what the package is that you use? I think I have read somewhere else on the forum about an accounting package; would it be Kashflow or something else? I did go online to look at this a few weeks ago and thought about applying for a free trial to use on the work that I do at present for myself and my husband.

My son has a limited company and I organise all his paperwork and add the figures to a spreadsheet for his accountant to submit to company house.

Do you mind me asking what sort of bookkeeping you do? I don’t know anyone else that I could ask about this and often wonder when someone says they do bookkeeping what this actually entails. I am just enquiring as it is something I enjoy doing and would like to look into it further.

I’ve just had a look on the HMRC website and appreciate that information.

Thanks for your help, I do appreciate it.


Hi Lesleyann

I use Kashflow for my own and my clients’ bookkeeping. The type of things I do for them is reconciliation of bank accounts, invoices out, receipts in (they email me copies of the supplier invoices for me to add in or we use Dropbox to store them). For some of the clients I actually have access to their bank accounts and also make payments on their behalf from those accounts (currently 2 clients but moving towards a third).

I don’t work with spreadsheets or Sage etc - I used to do spreadsheets with clients but to be honest it doesn’t give them the full picture of how their business is performing, Kashflow allows them to see all kinds of reports from within the system. I also don’t offer financial or accounting advise - they have to speak with their accountant for that but I do sometimes liaise with their accountants at year end.

Kashflow has also recently added the ability to take money from customers via direct debit (GoCardless) without a merchant account, and this is much cheaper than payments via PayPal etc. PayPal can also be integrated with Kashflow so that payments made/received are integrated automatically.



Thank you Dawn for the help. I will definitely try the free trial with Kashflow, and it seems as if you are working along the same lines as I do for my son.

I am never quite sure. when people say they do bookkeeping. if they actually submit accounts figures to the Tax Office, and I really don’t want to go that far! I know there are a lot of people out there who are hopeless at sorting out their receipts and financial paperwork and this is the sort of thing I enjoy.

I will let you know how I get on once I have had a go with the Kashflow.

Also I take on board what you say about registering. I will definitely look into that.

Thanks again!