How To Study

Bookkeeping Careers & Qualifications

To begin your career in bookkeeping, you will probably want to arm yourself with an IAB qualification or two.

There are 3 ways in which you can study for these prestigious qualifications. These are:

Classroom-based

Distance Learning

Self-Study

Regardless of the method of study, you will end up with a top quality qualification which is in demand and highly sort after.

Choosing a method of study can be difficult and confusing. What is covered in the fee? What method would suit me best?

That is why we at the IAB have created this guide below of the sort of questions you should be asking prospective centres and yourself. As well as a quick overview of what each method is.

Classroom-based

What is it?

Classroom Based Learning, is a form of teaching which takes place in a classroom environment. It usually consists of going into a centre once a week at a set time for a set duration.

Some IAB centres run an intensive week or two-week courses where you may go into the centre every day, while other centres may run weekly lessons which will run for a couple of months.

This type of learning is great as it is highly structured. Allowing you to meet new like-minded individuals, who are also interested in a career in bookkeeping and accounts.

How much is it?

The fees at centres vary between each centre. Normally the IAB Registration and qualification fee will be included in the cost of the course you will pay to the training provider.

What questions should I ask the centre?

We would recommend that you ask the following questions:

  • Can you help me choose the right level of qualification to take?
  • What’s included in the fee? e.g study textbooks  IAB fees etc.
  • How long is the course?
  • How often are the lessons? E.g Is it one or two lessons a week?
  • What days do the lessons fall on? E.g. Tuesday or Wednesday.
  • What time are the lessons? E.g. Evening or Daytime lessons.
  • How long are the lessons? E.g. 1 or 2-hour lessons.
  • Do you have any entry requirements? (While the IAB doesn’t have any entry requirements for its qualifications other than a good understanding of the English language and numeracy some centres do, especially if you are going straight into a higher level eg. Level 3).

What questions should I ask myself?

  • Can I afford the course fees?
    If not, is there any funding or payment plans I can make use of?
  • Is this the right level for me?
  • Can I commit to the lesson timetable?
    If you have any clashes such as holidays already booked, it is good to let the centre know now.
  • How great am I going to feel, once I have passed this qualification?

Where is my nearest centre?

You can find your nearest centre by entering your postcode in the ‘Centre Finder‘ and select the type of qualification you are interested in, eg bookkeeping or payroll.

You will then be shown a list of all our training providers within a 50 miles radius, with the closest centre being listed at the top. By clicking ‘find out more’ you can view the contact details of the centre as well as the exact qualifications they are accredited to offer.

If there isn’t a centre near you, don’t worry there is always distance learning. You can find out more about this method of study below.

Distance Learning

What is it?

Distance learning comes in many forms, from E-learning to traditional correspondence course. So it is important that you understand the differences between them.

E-Learning is a term used for courses that are completely online. These will often have an online platform which the provider will give you access to. Where you can access all the resources and sample tests needed. The resources can range from an electronic version of the book to videos explaining key elements. There often might be a forum where you get to interact with other students on the same or similar courses.

Traditional Correspondence courses would be offline, where you would receive a book and learning materials in the post, and then would have tutor support via phone, email and even post.

In reality, most training providers use a healthy mixture of the two. So, for example, you might receive your books in the post, but there will be videos explaining the book throughout. With support via phone and email. Each provider is a little different, so it is worth ensuring you know what you are going to get. Handily we have created some questions to help you do just that below.

How much is it?

The fees at Distance learning providers can vary dramatically, but so does what you get for your money. Most centres include the IAB registration and qualification fee in their fees, but it is always worth checking.

What questions should I ask the centre?

  • Can you help me choose the right level of qualification to take?
  • Is the IAB qualification registration fee included in the fee I pay you (the training provider)?
  • What is included in the fee, e.g. study text books etc?
  • How long does the tutor support last?
  • How much time should spend studying? E.g. 3 hours a week
  • How long on average does it take for your students to complete? E.g. 6 months
  • How does the learning take place? E.g. is it online or offline
  • What are the system requirements for the course? E.g. Need to have Microsoft Word etc
  • What system to you have to keep students on track with their course? E.g. Emails or phone calls, to check how you are progressing.
  • Will you arrange or help to arrange my examinations? (if applicable)
  • Do you have any entry requirements? (While the IAB doesn’t have any fixed entry requirements for its qualifications other than a good understanding of the English language, some IAB Centres do, especially if you are going straight into a higher level e.g. Level 3).

What questions should I ask myself?

  • Can I afford the course fees?
    If not, is there any funding or payment plans I can make use of?
  • Am I getting the Distance Learning package for me?
    Make sure you get a system that meets all your needs, and that you will use.
  • Is this the right level qualification for me?
  • Can I keep myself motivated along the course?
  • Can I dedicate enough time to the course?
  • When do I want to have completed and obtained this qualification by?
    Distance learning goes at the pace you set. This means it is possible to get through a qualification as quickly as you want, although be realistic!
  • Where can I sit the exams? (if applicable)
    You can find your nearest external exam centre here
  • How amazing am I going to feel, when I am a qualified bookkeeper?

Where can I find a centre?

You can find a centre by using the ‘Centre Finder’, by selecting Distance Learning and the type of qualification you are interested in, eg bookkeeping or payroll.

The great thing about Distance learning is that it doesn’t matter if the provider is next door to you or on the other side of the country. So contact as many as you can to get the best idea of prices, what is on offer and what suits you best.

Self-Study

What is it?

Self-study is exactly as the name suggests. You study by yourself. There is no tutor support from an IAB accredited training provider. This method of study is great because it means that you are the boss, and a great number of people choose this method.

You might already have the knowledge, skills and experience, perhaps from your existing job, and you just want a regulated qualification to act as that all-important benchmark of your abilities.

Perhaps you are already working in accounts and finance (or not), and your line manager (or friend who is) is going to be your tutor support.

You are a highly motivated individual and you are going to teach yourself, using high-quality training resources such as the IAB study textbooks (written specifically for the qualifications).

How much is it?

The fees for self-study students can be found here.

What questions should I ask myself?

  • Have I located study materials to use?
  • Have I created a study plan?
    To keep me on track, setting out how much time a week I will put into studying and when I aim to finish.
  • Is this the right level of qualification for me?
  • Can I keep myself motivated along the course?
  • Where can I sit the exams? (if applicable)
    You can find your nearest external exam centre here.

How can I register?

To register you would need to fill out the contact form below, and you will be sent all the relevant registration documentation.