How Stephanie founded Happy Balance Bookkeeping

How Stephanie founded 'Happy Balance Bookkeeping'

Stephanie started her learning journey just as Covid took hold, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dreams of setting up her own bookkeeping business

ICB award winner and Feefo Platinum Award winner

“Does studying from home really work?”
Current student, and newly practicing bookkeeper Stephanie Hanson explains why the Training Link approach was the perfect choice

Following university, I started my career in retail merchandising for a major high street retailer – where I stayed for over 10 years.

I progressed there to become a merchandiser, and continued until I had my first son in 2011.

I returned to a part-time senior online merchandiser role for another retailer when my eldest son was 18 months old.

I went on to have 2 more sons and took a career break to raise my children and spend time with them whilst they were young.

Once my youngest son started school in September 2019, I decided the time was right to embark upon a new career path.
Whilst I enjoyed working in merchandising, I was looking for something more flexible. Something to better fit around school hours (and the busy evenings spent taking my sons to the many sporting activities they love!)

I have always been good with numbers (having worked forecasting sales and managing stock levels).
I am comfortable prioritising, producing accurate figures and managing a busy workload.

I had volunteered as the treasurer for my sons’ preschool for 3 years and I had touched on accounting in my business degree and ‘A’ Level. Whilst I did not want to become an accountant, the role of a self-employed bookkeeper resonated. Something I could do around my family life and put my skills to good use.

I researched courses and came across the ICB and the self-employed package offered by Training Link. This seemed perfect for me and my goal of setting up in practice on my own. The flexibility offered by studying from home was exactly what I was looking for. I took the plunge and signed up in February 2020.

Then, in March 2020, we went into the first lockdown!

I found myself having to juggle studying, having 3 sons at home and home-schooling them. I wasn’t about to give up!
Once they finished their schoolwork for the day, we went out for our hour’s exercise discovering new local places on our bikes.
Then it was time for me to fit in a couple of hours study myself.

The flexibility of distance learning, and the ICB online exams, meant this wasn’t a problem.

I have really enjoyed getting my teeth into something more challenging for my brain. Taking time to do something for me, other than being a full-time Mum and taxi service!

Like most other parents, I breathed a huge sigh of relief in September 2020 when all 3 of my sons were back at school. I definitely realised I was better suited to bookkeeping than teaching!

In November 2020, I completed my ICB Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping, gaining a Distinction with Honours.

Following another bout of home-schooling in 2021, then a house move (and a bit of procrastination), I eventually completed my ICB Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping in December 2022 (again gaining another Distinction with Honours).

Training Link have been supportive and responsive throughout. The textbooks and assessments provided have been excellent.
And the ability to take the ICB exams online at any time to suit yourself is ideal. I really would recommend this route to anyone considering a similar move.

At the end of February 2023, I gained my practice licence with the ICB. I have found that “happy balance” between work and family, and want to help other people do the same with their businesses; providing services for them to free up their time to focus on running their businesses and doing the things they enjoy more!
I am currently establishing my practice and advertising for my first clients.

Not resting on my laurels, as I want to offer a complete service to my clients, I am continuing with my studies.

Currently, I am studying the Payroll Management course, and aim to take the ICB Level 4 Certificate in Self-Assessment Tax after that.

I am really excited to have launched my practice (if a little nervous!) and am ready to put all my learning into action. I am very proud of what I have achieved so far!

You can follow me on Facebook: – Happy Balance Bookkeeping | Reading

Practice bio

I have launched Happy Balance Bookkeeping to provide bookkeeping services to local sole traders, partnerships and small businesses near Reading and Wokingham. I understand that you may not have either the time or the inclination to spend hours getting your books in order. You would rather spend the time you have focusing on what you are best at, running, developing and growing your business. Or simply not spending your evenings and weekends doing your paperwork, when you could be out doing the things you enjoy and spending precious time with the people you love.
This is where I come in. I can take care of your bookkeeping needs, freeing you up to strike the balance between your work and home life. Get the happy balance you want, and I will balance your books!


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ICB Self-Employed Package

Perfect if you want to work as a self-employed bookkeeper. When you pass the exams you can apply for your ICB Practice Licence.

  • ICB Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping
  • ICB Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping
  • ICB Level 3 Diploma in Payroll Management
  • ICB Level 4 Self-Assessment Tax Returns

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