For many small businesses – including our beloved bookkeepers – the time and effort required to enter industry awards can be off-putting. Then there’s hours away from the office and cost to attend a finalist ceremony – and don’t get me started on the need for a whole new outfit! However, it’s also the opportunity to gain recognition for your achievements, and the impact can be phenomenal on your company morale, mindset, and your bottom line.
Let’s look at some of the key benefits of entering industry awards.
Marketing and PR opportunities
Awards provide excellent content for marketing and PR. Just making the shortlist improves brand awareness and gives you plenty to shout about. Make sure you leverage each stage with press releases, social media posts, videos, blog articles, and other marketing materials that showcase your achievements to a wider audience.
Who are your audience more likely to use if you’re THE award-winning business in your area? It demonstrates to existing and prosepective clients that you’re at the top of your profession.
An award win or short-listing nomination acts as a third party endorsement for your business. A win can give a real stamp of authority within your industry sector and is a sign of quality for potential clients. Penelope Allard FICB ACM PM.Dip of Wild Bookkeeping won Social Media Influencer of the Year and New Practice of the Year at the ICB LUCA Awards in 2022. “The ICB LUCA Awards are judged by an independent panel of judges, so knowing that your application has been reviewed, judged and made it onto the shortlist is an amazing feeling.”
Level the playing field
For many small businesses, awards provide the opportunity to compete against the big boys. Because of the range of categories, many of which aren’t budget based, you get to go head-to-head against major blue chip companies and, in many cases, succeed in areas such as customer service, innovation and impact.
Before you even get to the ceremony, the practice of writing out award entries can really bring light to your achievements. Shortlisting and winning provides a boost to the entire team (or indivdual). Helen Bower FICB PM.Dip, of Adder Bookkeeping won Employer of the Year in the 2022 ICB LUCA Awards: “I was filled with absolute joy when I won, especially as my team put me forward. When you work really hard and try your best, it is a wonderful, wonderful thing to be recognised and appreciated.”
Industry awards often involve ceremonies and events where you can connect with other professionals, potential partners, investors, and clients. This networking can lead to new business opportunities and collaborations. The ICB LUCA Awards ceremony is always a fantastic evening of celebration where members come together as a community.
A word of warning
Not all awards are created equal. Evaluate which awards and categories are most relevant to your profession – and the ones that will be recognised by your clients. Independence is also really important, so review the judges and understand the process ahead of the application. And watch out for spiraling costs (see previous note on award ceremony outfits).
About the ICB LUCA Awards 2023
The Oscars of the bookkeeping world, the annual ICB LUCA Awards recognise outstanding achievement in the bookkeeping profession and are judged by a scruptulously independent panel of industry experts. There are also awards for the software and apps that support the nation’s bookkeepers, which are voted for by ICB students and members.
The closing date for applications is Friday 15 September, and the awards ceremony is held as part of the ICB Bookkeepers Summit on Monday 6 November at the Park Plaza Hotel Westminster, London. Enter here
A CASE STUDY:
Lara Manton MICB, LJM Bookkeeping
Winner ICB LUCA Small Practice of the Year 2021 & Xero Innovative Partner of the Year Award 2023
“The 2020 ICB LUCAs were the first awards I ever entered. Although I’d been practising for ten years by then, I never thought my business could be good enough to be award winning. When I was shortlisted, it felt like a massive achievement."
“With the 2021 LUCAs I spent quite a bit of time on my entry, sitting down to work out everything that had happened in the year, asking clients and accountants for recommendations. It made me realise that my practice was bigger and better than I thought!
“I never expected to win! It was the most amazing experience and validated the hard work and effort I had put into running a practice for over a decade. It gave me the confidence to shout about my business and what I was doing for clients. To be recognised by ICB in that way, meant a lot.
“The recognition from ICB gave me the confidence to enter other things, such as the Xero Awards and the Accounting Excellence Awards. Winning the 2021 Small Practice of the Year was not just the most amazing achievement, it was also the catalyst for me to take things to the next level.”