Sue Bruland AICB – Open Counting House Ltd

Sue Bruland AICB – Open Counting House Ltd

From working as a chef in top London hotels, to starting and eventually selling an engineering firm. Sue then decided to start her own business as a bookkeeper. But first, she’d need to study for her ICB qualifications…

ICB award winner and Feefo Platinum Award winner

“I have had a very varied career to date, starting my working life as a chef in top London hotels, motherhood, worked in Germany for 9 years, moving back to the UK and finally setting up an engineering business with my husband.

It’s been a fantastic journey and I’ve learnt a great deal about business as well as having two grown up children who have both done exceedingly well and of whom I could not be more proud. I have a vast amount of business experience and transferable skills that I felt I could use to help others.

I did some soul-searching about 3 and a half years ago, and I realised that what I was doing was not my “dream”. We had sold our previous business and it was the natural point to move on to something new. Having taken care of the financial side of a growing business for some 20 years, I chose bookkeeping as the area where I could have the most impact. I decided to start my own business as a bookkeeper…but with a difference; helping other businesses to grow and be successful. My journey began with ICB/Training Link in August 2015.

My previous business (which I had started with my husband) grew from a dining room table start-up to a £1.5m turnover business employing over 20 people, and in spring of 2015 it was sold to an International German company.

A few months later I decided it was time to get a qualification for what I had been doing on a daily basis. I knew how to process the business accounts but I did not always have the knowledge as to why and what went on in the background.

Training Link were the training provider for me

I wanted to change my life and go in a new direction. I wanted to run my very own company…Open Counting House Ltd. Looking back over the last 3 years I definitely chose the right provider. Training Link have been fantastic, very supportive and I cannot rate them highly enough.

I remember the conundrum as to whether I should go down the AAT route or the ICB route but it was following a telephone call with Training link that made me decide that they were the training provider for me.

This career change has not been easy to achieve, or without its challenges. As I still retained a full-time position at my previous company for the majority of my studies, it has taken me 3 long years to reach Associate level and to become licensed. Why has it taken so long? Well, life being what it is, there have been set backs and challenges along the way.

Over the course of the last three years I have passed 7 ICB exams (achieving 100% in B3, BA5 and BA6 giving an overall 96% for level II and III!!) and 3 Sage exams. On a personal level, there have been many challenges over the 3-year period, including moving house. Throughout this time my sole focus was to qualify so that I could set up my own business. I am now qualified to complete final accounts for all non-incorporated business (Sole Traders, Partnerships and Not-For-Profit-Organisations).

As I write this article, my letterhead and business cards for Open Counting House have just been approved by ICB and I am waiting for printing quotes to come in so I can go out networking with business cards in my pocket. How exciting is that?

It is very early days; I am learning to tweet, to promote my business on Facebook and Linkedin. I have my very first networking event booked in (that’s so scary) and there is still so much more to learn and do. And not forgetting I need to get through my ABA8 and ABA9 exams.

What I do know though, getting through my turbulent journey would not have been possible without the support and understanding of all my friends and professionals around me. Whether it has been my husband, Training Link, friends and family, or fellow students. Each and everyone of them have at times either offered advice, just listened, helped, given me space or heaps of encouragement when I needed it most.

Every single person associated with the ICB had a dream when they signed up to the organisation. Some will have reached their dreams, some will be on their way to achieving their own goals and some will be at the beginning of the journey. If through this article I have been able to encourage anyone to keep motivated and achieve their dream then I have achieved what I set out to do.

I personally believe you only get out of life what you put in and it’s good to know that if you don’t give up (despite what life throws at you) all your hard work and efforts will be rewarded.

As I progress along on my new journey with my new company Open Counting House Ltd, I would be delighted if you wanted to follow me, tweet me, connect with me on LinkedIn and support my new venture in any way.”

Open Counting House is a professional, friendly and approachable bookkeeping business based in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire. We offer a bespoke service to Sole Traders, Not for Profit Organisations, Partnerships and Limited Companies.

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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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