ICB awards

Last month I was invited to the ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) awards, also known as the Lucas after the inventor of the double entry system, Luca Pacioli. I love judging the awards as I get to see what the best bookkeepers are doing to help their clients. A good bookkeeper is worth their weight in gold.

I’m also a Champion of the ICB, an honourary position that I was awarded a few years ago. This allows me to use the CICB letters after my name along with my usual FCA.

As well as seeing the best bookkeepers take the stage to collect their awards (including some who had travelled over from the trouble in Ukraine) there were software awards too.

I was delighted when the bookkeepers voted our favourite Xero as the bookkeeping software of the year. We also have client using Freeagent which was chosen as the friendliest software; not surprising as their chief accountant, M, writes all sorts of useful guides.

Which is your favourite bookkeeping software and why?

Judge the judges 

I’ve been busy this week judging accountancy awards. 

I always love doing this as I like to learn what the best businesses are doing. But some entries are easier to judge than others. 

Entrants are asked to submit facts and figures to support their entry. As most of the judges are accountants you can expect that we will focus on these. And yet too many entries are clearly written by a marketing person with eloquent prose. Judge what your judges will be looking for. (This is even easier when you know who the judges are.) 

Awards entries are like CVs, imagine me saying “so what?” or “prove it” to every sentence on your CV. Facts, figures and evidence are import in any awards entry but even more so when your judges are accountants.  

Why to enter awards

I love judging awards as I get a sneak preview of what the best accountancy businesses are doing. It’s really exciting to see people pushing the profession forwards. This year I’m fortunate to have been asked to judge both the Accounting Excellence Awards and the Xero Awards. (My atrocious memory means that I immediately forget who has been shortlisted and who has won so you can try bribing me with chocolates as much as you like but I just can’t remember)

I also enter my books into the Business Book Awards. The Numbers Business won first place in its category in 2019 which was a really pleasant surprise for a first time author. Growing by Numbers sank without trace in 2021. And just yesterday Changing the Numbers was shortlisted in its category. We’ll find out if it wins at the big awards dinner on 16 May.  

Entering awards can feel like a lot of hassle or you may be afraid of ‘failure’ so why would you put yourself through that?

  1. Writing out your awards application helps you to realise how much good stuff your business has done.
  2. An award or shortlist helps you to stand out from your competitors
  3. Being shortlisted is as good as a win as far as your work is concerned. Making the shortlist is based on how good YOU are. The winner can depend on who else happens to have entered the same year. You might win or lose depending on your competition more than your own work.
  4. An award or shortlist is great for handling imposter syndrome
  5. An award is great for publicity as it gives you something to shout about in your local community and amongst your clients. Local papers like to hear good news although you may need a bit of an angle such as your reasons for starting the business or how you have overcome adversity.

Not all awards are created equal. Some seem to be more about making money for the organisers, either in large entry fees or selling tables at awards dinners. If the winner is dependent on paying to attend the dinner then it is not worth it.

But there are plenty of reputable awards out there.

Both the awards I judge and enter are open to anyone whether you can be there in person or not. And, if you can afford it, you can treat your team to a great night out to celebrate all their hard work. Or take along some clients to remind them that they have chosen to work with a (potential) award winner.

So go ahead and enter those awards. And let me know if you need a hand to prepare your entries.

Who should really be on Honours Lists?

Every time an Honours List is published e.g. New Year or the Queen’s (now King’s) birthday there is always somebody moaning that the recipients are less deserving than a local or national community hero.

And every year I tell the complainant that they can nominate those heroes.

If there is anybody that you think is deserving of an honour then you can use this link to put their name forward.

Who would you nominate?

How good would they feel?

What other awards can you nominate people for in your industry or local community?