Everything You Need To Know About The ICB

The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, or the ICB, is an educational body that is a Quality Assurance Partner (QAP) of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupation (QCTO). In short, they can be described as an independent external examination body for accredited business qualifications. In other words, they offer the exams that you have to pass to get a qualification that is accredited.

Where Does The ICB Come From?

The ICB is a professional body that has existed since 1931. They integrated both professional membership along with education and training. In 2015 these two parts split up after the changing of academic guidelines and laws. The educational part still operates as ICB whereas the professional membership operates as ICBA or the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Accountants.

Because they are a QAP of the QCTO, their examinations and qualifications are on the National Qualifications Frameworks which means that their qualifications have NQF levels. They only provide the examinations and qualifications, therefore you can’t study through the ICB themselves, but through a training provider, such as Skills Academy. To be a training provider you need to be a learning institution that is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and then partner with the ICB to become an ICB-accredited provider. Today they have an average of 15,000 students that study their courses every year through different training providers.

What Does NQF Levels Mean?

The NQF levels are a way to have qualifications on an integrated national framework, to ensure that qualifications can be measured the same to see on what level they fall. Matric, for example, is a NQF level 4 qualification, whereas a Bachelor’s degree is a NQF level 7 qualification. The NQF is run by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

 SAQA is a body of 12 members. The members were all chosen by the Minister of Higher Education and Training. They provide the registration of qualifications on the NQF and give courses valid SAQA ID numbers if they qualify.

 

What Courses Do They Offer?

The ICB has five different course streams you can enter, each with either three or four different qualifications – from beginner, intermediate, to advanced levels. They offer a Financial Accounting Programme, Office Administration Programme, Public Sector Accounting Programme, Entrepreneurship Programme, and a Business Management Programme. Below we set out the different courses and their subjects:

Financial Accounting Programme

This course is aimed at people that want to become an accountant or bookkeeper. It teaches you all the ins and outs of bookkeeping, financial accounting, income tax, financial management, reporting standards, corporate strategy, management accounting, and research.

National Certificate: Bookkeeping (NQF 3)

This is the entry level course and takes 12 months to complete. To begin the course you only need Grade 10. The course also assumes that you have no prior accounting knowledge so even beginners can pass this with great success.

  • Bookkeeping to Trial Balance
  • Payroll and Monthly SARS Returns
  • Computerised Bookkeeping
  • Business Literacy

 Further Education and Training Certificate: Bookkeeping (NQF 4)

This is the intermediate level course and takes six months to complete. To begin this course you need to have completed the National Certificate: Bookkeeping.

  • Financial Statements
  • Cost and Management Accounting

National Diploma: Technical Financial Accounting (NQF 5)

This is the upper-intermediate level course and takes six months to complete. The entrance requirement for this course is the Further Education and Training Certificate: Bookkeeping.

  • Income Tax Returns
  • Business Law and Accounting Control

National Diploma: Financial Accounting (NQF 6)

This is the advanced level course and takes 12 months to complete. The entrance requirement for this course is the National Diploma: Technical Financial Accounting.

  • Corporate Strategy
  • Management Accounting Control Systems
  • Financial Reporting and Regulatory Frameworks
  • Research Theory and Practice

Office Administration Programme

This course is perfect for people who wish to gain bookkeeping and office knowledge. This course will give you the skills to be able to work the admin of any department comfortably.

 Certificate: Office Administration (NQF 5)

This is the entry level course and will take 18 months to complete. The entrance requirement for this course is Matric or equivalent.

  • Bookkeeping to Trial Balance
  • Business Literacy
  • Cost and Management Accounting
  • Business & Office Administration 1
  • Marketing Management and Public Relations
  • Business Law and Administrative Practice

Higher Certificate: Office Administration (NQF 5)

This is the intermediate level course and will take nine months to complete. The entrance requirement for this course is the Certificate: Office Administration.

  • Business & Office Administration 2
  • HR Management and Labour Relations
  • Economics

Diploma: Office Administration (NQF 6)

This is the advanced level course and will take nine months to complete. The entrance requirement for this course is the Higher Certificate: Office Administration.

  • Financial Statements
  • Business and Office Administration 3
  • Management

Public Sector Accounting Programme

This is the course for you if you wish to work in finance and government agencies. You will learn all the accounting practices that are done in the public sector, as well as the laws surrounding them.

National Certificate: Public Sector Accounting (NQF 4)

This is the entry level course and will take 12 months to complete. The entrance requirement for this course is Grade 11.

  • Bookkeeping and Trial Balance
  • Computerised Bookkeeping
  • Business Literacy
  • Public Accounting Administration

Diploma: Public Sector Accounting (NQF 5)

This is the intermediate level course and will take 12 months to complete. The entrance requirement is the National Certificate: Public Sector Accounting.

  • Financial Statements
  • Cost and Management Accounting
  • Business Law and Accounting Control
  • Technical Public Accounting

National Certificate: Financial Accounting (NQF 6)

This is the advanced level course and will take 12 months to complete. The entrance requirement is the Diploma: Public Sector Accounting.

  • Corporate Strategy
  • Management Accounting Control Systems
  • Financial Reporting and Regulatory Frameworks
  • Research Theory and Practice

Entrepreneurship Programme

This is the perfect course for people who have dreams of starting their own businesses. It teaches you everything of business as well as developing ideas into reality.

National Certificate: Small Business Financial Management (NQF 4)

This is the entry level course and will take nine months to complete. The entrance requirement is Grade 11.

  • Bookkeeping to Trial Balance
  • Business Literacy
  • Entrepreneurship 1

Higher Certificate: Office Administration (NQF 5)

This is the intermediate level course and will take 15 months to complete. The entrance requirement for this course is the National Certificate: Small Business Financial Management.

  • Financial Statements
  • Marketing Management and Public Relations
  • HR Management and Labour Relations
  • Office and Legal Practice
  • Entrepreneurship 2

National Diploma: Financial Accounting (NQF 6)

This is the advanced level course and will take 12 months to complete. The entrance requirement for this course is the Higher Certificate: Office Administration.

  • Financial Reporting and Regulatory Frameworks
  • Research Theory and Practice
  • Financial Management and Control
  • Entrepreneurship 3

Business Management Programme

This is perfect for anyone who wants to manage businesses and understand their finances. This will teach you everything you need to know.

 

National Certificate: Small Business Financial Management (NQF 4)

This is the entry level course and will take you nine months to complete. The entrance requirement is Grade 11.

  • Bookkeeping to Trial Balance
  • Business Literacy
  • Business Management 1

Higher Certificate: Office Administration (NQF 5)

This is the intermediate level course and will take you 15 months to complete. The entrance requirement is the National Certificate: Small Business Financial Management.

  • Financial Statements
  • Marketing Management and Public Relations
  • HR Management and Labour Relations
  • Office and Legal Practice
  • Business Management 2

National Diploma: Financial Accounting (NQF 6)

This is the advanced level course and will take you 12 months to complete. The entrance requirement is the Higher Certificate: Office Administration.

  • Financial Reporting and Regulatory Frameworks
  • Research Theory and Practice
  • Business Management 3
  • Financial Management and Control

Do I Need Matric To Study ICB Courses?

The simple answer is no, unless you wish to study Office Administration. A simple way to figure out what you can study is by looking at the NQF levels. You need to have the NQF lower than the one the course starts with. Therefore when wanting to study Office Administration that starts with NQF 5 you need an NQF level 4 qualification which is Matric. With Financial Accounting you only need Grade 10 as it starts with the NQF level of Grade 11. The other three programmes you only need Grade 11 as the courses all start on NQF 4.

How Do The Exams Work?

The exams are done through the ICB and not your training provider. You get to choose when and where you write your exam. This is done through the ICB Learner Portal. At the exams you will also have to hand in your Portfolio of Evidence (PoE). Your PoE consist of three assignments and two tests to be completed in your own time. You will receive your PoE after you register with the ICB.

 

How Does Registration Work?

To study and ICB course you first have to register with your training provider, such as Skills Academy. After this is completed you will have to register on the ICB Learner Portal for your course and indicate through which training provider you are studying. You will then be sent your PoE which, as explained above, will be handed in when you go write your exam at the venue of your choice.

 

Why Study an ICB Course?

There are many upsides of choosing an ICB course. The first is definitely that you can have your first accredited qualification in as little as six months. Another upside is that the qualifications are not only recognised in South Africa, but internationally. You also have the opportunity of registering with a professional body after you have completed your qualification. You can register with the ICBA, South African Institute of Tax Professionals (SAIT), The South African Institute of Business Accountants (SAIBA), International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB), and International Association of Accounting Professionals (IAAP).

 

What Should I Do Now?

As explained before, you need to register with your training provider first. To do this fill in the form on this page to get a free callback from us, or call us toll free at 0800 39 00 27.

 

Written by: Maretha Lubbe

Last updated: April 17, 2019

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