Elizabeth Carter’s Journey to Working as a Self-employed Bookkeeper

From fuel engineer, to teacher, and now self-employed bookkeeper. Elizabeth’s journey to becoming a qualified bookkeeper also saw her crowned ICB Student of the Year at the 2020 ICB Luca Awards.

“I started my early career as a fuel engineer at a Steelworks after gaining a chemical engineering degree. After three years I left to become a maths teacher. Teaching is a really rewarding job, but it is all consuming. After having my first child, I cut my hours to part time. I then had two more children, and decided that teaching didn’t fit in well with my family life.

Elizabeth Carter - ICB Student of the Year

Having three young children with the eldest starting school made me re-evaluate my lifestyle choices. I was craving the flexibility to choose my own working hours, so that I can attend school concerts and plays, and generally have a better work/life balance.

I volunteer at our local sling library, helping parents carry their babies and toddlers safely and comfortably in slings and carriers. It was at a sling library that a fellow volunteer suggested I become a self-employed bookkeeper.

The more I thought about it, the more it appealed, so I left teaching and started training.
I initially bought an e-course for AAT level 2 from Groupon, but it was dreadful! I don’t think I ever even heard from my tutor!!

Exams during Lockdown? Not a problem when studying ICB

After struggling and chatting with another friend, they told me how great the ICB was, so I decided to take the plunge and sign up to Training Link’s complete bookkeeping package.

In February my first set of books arrived in the post, and I got stuck in, initially on nursery days and in the evenings. I started to really enjoy it! My study days were my favourite days. Lockdown hit of course, and I lost my nursery days, so I worked during nap times and after bedtimes.
News arrived that the AAT exams would not be running, but the great thing about the ICB was that the ICB exams would continue to run as normal.

I am forever grateful that the ICB and Training Link offered ‘business as usual’ service and I was able to progress rapidly during lockdown. By the time I had got to M8 (the end of Level 3), even that was available online.

Studying really saved me during lockdown. Parenting 3 children aged 5, 3 and 1 was not easy without going out. It was easy to feel despondent, but I had my bookkeeping and I was trying to get a chapter done every day. Every day I was so thankful that I had switched from AAT to ICB so that my time was not wasted.

I decided to keep studying to complete all my qualifications before actively trading as a self-employed bookkeeper.

At the time of writing (October 2020) I have completed level 2 (A1, A2, A3), level 3 (M4, M5, M6, M7, M8, and costing and budgeting) and level 4 (SAT, DFS and corporation tax). I have also completed my Diploma in Payroll Management course and am awaiting my result. I cannot believe how much I have been able to learn in such a short time.

I am so excited about my future career as a bookkeeper. I feel that it will fit into my life perfectly and I feel well supported by the ICB in the future. I am confident that I will enjoy the work and that there is work available. After studying, my next challenge is finding it!

‘Bottesford Bookkeeping’ is not going live yet, but it won’t be long!!
I’ve loved the studying and am looking forward to completing and getting started working for myself.

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