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Scotland award for family firm with roots in Holland

A FAMILY firm started in Glasgow almost 40 years ago by a Dutch entrepreneur has been named Scotland’s Best Bookkeeping Training Provider.

Ideal Schools was set up in 1983 by Elias Vanden Akker – known as Al – who was born in Holland but posted to Scotland in 1966 after volunteering for the US Navy during the Vietnam war.

Al’s son Scot Van Den Akker now runs the business, which specialises in delivering home study bookkeeping, payroll and taxation courses for people who want to become a self-employed bookkeeper or work in a financial environment.

The company was named Best Bookkeeping Training Provider – Scotland in the 2021 Education & Training Awards from Corporate Vision Magazine, a monthly publication that spotlights advances and best practice in human resources, marketing, coaching, and recruitment. The awards recognise training providers across the UK and internationally in Australia, Canada, North America, Europe and South Africa.

“We’re thrilled to have won this award,” said Scot Van Den Akker, director of Ideal Schools.  “It’s a great testament to the incredible hard work of our staff and students over the years.

“Covid has made the last 18 months challenging for everyone. But it has also given our students at bit more time during the stay-at-home periods to press on with their studies and get their qualifications. Now that restrictions are easing, they’re ready for their new careers.”

Under money laundering regulations, anyone who wants to be a bookkeeper needs to be accredited, and Ideal Schools facilitates this.

It provides online and distance learning tuition to help people pass bookkeeping and accounting exams with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers – the largest bookkeeping Institute in the world – and the Association of Accounting Technicians. This is the UK’s leading qualification and membership body for accounting staff, with around 125,000 members in more than 90 countries.

Ideal Schools is based in Glasgow’s St Enoch Square and also has a presence in Manchester. The company has eight staff.

Before opening Ideal Schools, Al was director of education for a large US-based business college called ICS, which employed 150 people in Glasgow. Al’s mother had also been a bookkeeper in Holland.

Ideal Schools has delivered thousands of courses that have helped people across the UK set up new bookkeeping businesses or grow their careers.

“About 99% of the UK’s private sector businesses are micro, small and medium sized enterprises,” explains Scot Van Den Akker. “All of these are legally required to file accounts every year and record all payments to staff – so there’s never been a better time to work in this sector.”

Corporate Vision said the Education & Training Awards were launched to spotlight excellence in education and training from early years support to professional training.

Awards Coordinator Steve Simpson said: “From early learning, to adult education, all who make contributions to this vital sector are recognised in the Education and Training programme. I am proud to offer all of my winners my congratulations and best wishes for the rest of the year and beyond.”

To find out more about the Corporate Vision awards and winners, please visit

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