Brian Harford FCCA FIAB set up Woodgrove Tutorials in 1999.
His business is fully accredited by the IAB and he won awards for the quality of its teaching.
Brian, also an award-winner, has been Chief Accountant with big-name Financial Services businesses such as Aegon and Transamerica.
He has tutored IAB student Emma Fone for more than six months. He explains the typical procedure for a new entrant to bookkeeping.
“Students enrol for courses and Woodgrove sends them assignments. They then submit them to us, we mark them, give feedback and a model answer, and on they go.
“We take them through the course step by step. They can do the assignments when they want but Emma Fone submitted hers very quickly.
“We respond by giving her fast feedback so there’s little delay and that keeps Emma motivated. And she cracks on. She passed Level 1 with excellent results, and then onto Level 2, bang, bang, bang. Emma is currently studying for IAB Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping which will take her to MIAB professional qualification.
Emma passed Levels 1 and 2 in three months. That’s unusual. A lot of students take a break. But as soon as Emma finished Level 2, she was onto Level 3. I admire her tenacity, motivation and determination.”
Woodgrove has enrolled more than 2,000 students since Brian founded the enterprise. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a failure in the past five years,” he says.
Brian is a Fellow of the IAB (FIAB) and has nearly 40 years of experience in teaching bookkeeping. He was a part-time lecturer at London Metropolitan University for 14 years and is a regular blogger on the IAB website.
He was named Tutor of the Year at a ceremony in the House of Commons for his outstanding contribution in assisting IAB students become fully qualified bookkeepers.
He shares Emma’s passion for bookkeeping as a career. “The restaurant owner gives you a brilliant meal, a plumber can fix your toilet – but they haven’t the aptitude or will to do the books. They’re happy to hand it over to someone like Emma. The courses give an understanding of commercial reality – cash (the lifeblood of any business) control, money in, money out.
“If you take the IAB courses a step at a time and get through, the benefits can be phenomenal.
“You can be master of your own destiny in terms of having your own business, growing it and providing a first-rate services to small businesses in your area.
“The most important thing about IAB is that their qualifications are accredited by Ofqual, the government Regulator in England and included in the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). The IAB qualifications therefore have the hallmark of accreditation.
“Bookkeepers have been around since 1494 when Italian Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan Monk, invented double entry bookkeeping and it will be needed for centuries to come.”
Brian is upbeat about the future of bookkeepers. “They’ll be around for ever because, as a minimum, every small business has to have their books done as the basis for their self-assessment for tax.”