Louie Prosperi, CEO of ICBUSA

In North America, there is no government regulation on the profession of bookkeeping, nor is any certification required to practice as a professional bookkeeper. 
However, with almost 30 years’ experience in the accounting and bookkeeping industry, both as CEO for over 7 years of the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada, and in my current role with ICBGlobal (the largest certification body in the world), I believe there is great value in obtaining certification from an independent organization, for both individual bookkeepers and the industry as a whole. 
We have found world-wide that individuals, on the average, earn more and are better prepared to meet the challenges of their profession when certified by an independent professional association. Here is what you should look for in a professional association: 
• All members must conform to a code of conduct and best practices.
• The professional certification achieved requires members to have a combination of practical experience and to pass a professionally proctored exam.
• Members are required to maintain their professional qualifications by acquiring Continuing Professional Development credits. 
All of our ICB associations around the world meet the above conditions. 
We have found that when individuals point to their certification and what it stands for in their marketing materials, it allows them to distinguish themselves and create value, in the same way, that CPA’s earn more for their work compared to non-CPA’s because of their certification. 
But in addition, once a member is certified by us the benefits have only begun. ICBUSA is also here to help bookkeepers in their careers. How do we do that? 
• We ensure that our professional certifications stay current – meaning that our exam and other requirements will always reflect the current needs and expectations of the public.  Our exams and qualification requirements are reviewed every two years and updated to ensure our newly certified members are also kept current.
• Our mission as leaders of the bookkeeping community is bring to light challenges facing our profession and to provide the resources, tools, and education our members need to succeed.
• We are committed to building a community of professionals who are interested in sharing and dedicated to improving the profession. 
There is so much more I can say and I will gladly discuss this topic with anyone who wants to carry on the conversation. You can reach me at louie.prosperi@icbusa.org and please visit our website www.icbusa.org