By Edward Wilson
Laurie Austen, 19, has injected a fresh approach to the centuries old art of bookkeeping at Bookkeepers in Buckingham Ltd (BiB). His enthusiasm for financial management in SMEs and start-ups has helped turn around struggling businesses and reaped its rewards on a personal level. After leaving school, Laurie held a few jobs before changing direction and deciding to become a bookkeeper.
He successfully secured a job at Bookkeepers in Buckingham Ltd, and split his time between working and studying for the ICB Level I qualification in manual bookkeeping. Laurie said: “It took me about a year to complete the Level I because I was working at the same time. I realised that the best way to learn was through experience; I didn’t want to rush the qualification, and I ended up getting a great result.” After completing the Level I, Laurie assisted with the turnaround of one of BiB’s biggest clients. The client, who was operating at the wrong end of a £100,000 overdraft facility, took on Laurie as its bookkeeper. Laurie brought the client back into positive cash-flow in only 9 months. “Working on that client was a real turning point for me. It helped me to really understand and get to grips with how business finance works. Seeing the numbers add up and balance out was really rewarding, and I realised that bookkeeping was a really strong career choice for me.” Laurie’s success saw him promoted to a company director, with a 5% equity share in the business and a company car.
He has now completed his ICB Level II qualification in computerised bookkeeping, manages 12 clients and is working towards his ICB Level II in manual bookkeeping. “I am involved with a number of clients from different industries. I work with construction companies, plant hire businesses and local hairdressers. My work is really varied and each day is different. I have great relationships with my clients; the guys from the construction company give great banter! “I obviously have plans in the pipeline that don’t just revolve around bookkeeping; I’d love to go travelling with friends in the near future. However I’m developing a really exciting and rewarding career that I can come back to at any point, whatever I decide to do whenever I decide to do it.” Laurie is a member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and is qualified to ICB Level II in computerised bookkeeping.
If you would like to find out more about ICB and how to become a member, please call 0845 060 2345 or visit www.bookkeepers.org.uk/membership