An open letter to IAB

For the longest time, I’ve recommended IAB as the professional body of choice for any new bookkeeper starting out.  When people were left in limbo during the new member freeze, I was the first to fight their corner, but now I fear they’ve lost their way.

We are only looking for a few things from our professional bodies, but we want them done well.

Certification.  To know that new entrants to the profession and old hands alike are at the pinnacle of their game.  We want the confidence when we see a professional body seal on a certificate that the holder is competent and able.  Not only that, we want to know that they’ve been updating their skills through CPD.

Guidance and support.  As a sole practitioner, it’s impossible to know everything.  We all want to stay legal and be the best that we can be, but we don’t always understand the new legislation and need it explained in an easy to understand way.  We want our professional body to keep us safe and on the right side of the law.

Representation.  Professional bodies should represent our views to the government and others making decisions.  They are our conduit to influence the new rules coming into our world.  We also want them to big up the profession to business, helping them to understand the important role that bookkeepers play.

These are the three pillars of a great professional body.  We know that they have a responsibility to supervise us for money laundering.  We accept that.  We would rather that they helped us to get it right, though than hide behind the curtain waiting for us to fall and whacking us with a fine. 

It seems that recently they’ve found a big stick and are happily beating the very people who provide for their existence.  Is anyone 100% confident that they are getting everything right with their money laundering responsibilities?  Do you understand what you need to do and that you are doing it right?

I thought I did until I heard of some of the reasons fines are being issued by my professional body.  

To the IAB I say forget the coffee mornings, podcasts, and window dressing.  Leave them on a back burner and get the basics right for me and every other member.  

We understand that as an organisation you were getting things wrong and needed support and time to put your house in order.  We accepted that.  Now we’re asking for the same from you.

Don’t beat us, help us.  Don’t ignore our emails and pleas.  Tell us what we need to do in plain English and help us to get it right. Every member is trying their best to stay legal.  They don’t want to get it wrong and if they stumble, show them the way.

Unfortunately, you are now at risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. 



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