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Karen's story

Karen Cain

Courses Completed: ICB - MICB, Diploma in Payroll Management & Self Assessment Taxation

It’s not just those entering the world of bookkeeping that can learn from Ideal Schools. Karen Cain did the accounts for a small business for twenty years without any formal qualifications when, in 2010, she secured an opportunity to study for Institute of Chartered Bookkeepers (ICB) status with Ideal Schools.

Since then, she’s gone self-employed and has her own practice, CEM Bookkeeping Services. The freedom of working for herself lets Ms Cain balance work and life at her own pace. She’s now able to fit the school run around catering to her clients’ needs, and gets to spend the time she wants with her family. She credits Ideal Schools for making this possible.

Ms Cain said: “I wouldn’t be practicing today if it weren’t for Ideal Schools, and I wouldn’t go back to being employed, ever.

“From the very start, Ideal Schools has been incredibly supportive of my learning, and my goals. When I first started in 2010, it was paid for by the company I worked for, and the goal was just to get me some qualifications.

“But when my circumstances changed, Ideal Schools changed right along with me, and was able to tailor my learning towards getting the professional status that would allow me to work for myself. I’m now in the middle of the Self Assessment module, and am looking to take the Level 4 Management exams soon.

 “When I was employed, I had to dip in and out of the learning, which the materials made really easy. Time pressures being what they were, it might be a few weeks in between me picking up the materials, but all it took was a quick recap, or a call to Brian McVean at Ideal Schools and I was back on the horse.

“Brian was incredibly supportive. I could call him any time and he would talk me through whatever was giving me trouble. He was really good at explaining things in my language, my thinking, and was fantastic when I came across something I hadn’t seen before.”

Ms Cain praises also the Ideal Schools’ social media hosting. The Facebook page is a private group for students and alumni of the program, and has become a shared resource and community ‘hangout’ under the moderation of student-turned-tutor, Eszter Petrinovics.

Ms Cain said: “Whenever I want support, or just to talk to fellow bookkeepers, the page is there, and there are always people online to help. It’s a real feeling of community.” 

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