ICB's new CEO reflects on role

Following her appointment as CEO last month, Ami Copeland, formerly ICB's director of communications, shares her vision for the organisation and discusses why the future is bright for bookkeepers.

t's a huge honour to continue my parents' legacy as I step into the role of CEO at ICB. In the 26 years since they founded the institute, June and Garry Carter's passion and ambition for bookkeepers have driven a radical shift in the public perception of bookkeepers, and overseen continuous growth in the number of bookkeepers starting their own businesses.

It's also a particularly exciting time to be working in the accountancy world as our understanding of the bookkeeper’s role continues to expand and evolve. Digitisation, globalisation, AI and increased regulation are external factors playing into the hands of ICB bookkeepers as they help businesses adapt to embrace the joy of real-time data, accurate records and relevant forecasts. ICB is here to fortify bookkeepers' efforts and ensure that, far from being painful, initiatives like MTD ITSA and what comes after it are a route to stronger businesses and a stronger economy.

As most new startups are now lead by the under-30s, we’re seeing an associated uptick in business owners’ adoption of technology and their expectation of digital collaboration with accounts professionals. It’s quality professional bookkeepers who are able to satisfy this demand, elbows deep as they are in the real-time figures and with their unique approach to telling the story of the numbers, shifting the expectation of what good financial management looks like.

By empowering bookeepers, ICB empowers business owners. Our vision is that one day every small business will be empowered to grow because they have the support of an ICB bookkeeper. ICB exists to certify, support, inform and connect bookkeepers across the world and provide a trusted benchmark for the profession.

At 26 years old, ICB is the rookie young maverick among the accountancy professional bodies. We're rightfully proud that all of our qualifications can be achieved online, 24-7, 365 days of the year. This flexibility and accessibility is embedded in our culture and it's one of the reasons that 78% of our members are women. I want to strengthen our role as the professional accountancy body that helps people from all walks of life, with all sorts of other commitments, side hustles and time constraints, to gain a qualification and achieve the career of their dreams.

Like a good bookkeeper:

  • - ICB is trusted, relied upon and helpful.
  • - We're accessible and approachable.
  • - We insist on high standards and we're fiercely detail-oriented.
  • - We genuinely care.

I will succeed as CEO when our members succeed. I look forward to supporting bookkeepers to step into their power and rise to the challenge of the current economic uncertainty, the next HMRC initiative, the latest regulatory change, and the newest technology. As a truly member-centric organisation, we don't just set standards and enforce them, we work together with our members throughout their career as they make dreams come true for themselves and the businesses they support.