ICBA – Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Accountants

History of the ICB and ICBA

The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Accountants has its origins in the ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers). The ICB, which goes back to 1931, split into two bodies in 2012. The ICB focussing on Education and Training, and the ICBA focussing on Professional Membership. Thus was born the ICBA (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Accountants).

In a sense, the ICB is the training organisation, and the ICBA is the professional body of which you can become a member if you are successful in your studies. The ICBA represent a way to get professional recognition for your studies and your work experience.

You will be involved with the training body (the ICB) only while you are busy with your studies. You can be a member of the Professional body (the ICBA) for the rest of your life.

In South African law, professional bodies can be recognised by SAQA (the South African Qualification Authority). The ICBA is recognised by SAQA as a Professional Body for the registration of professional designations on the NQF (National Qualifications Framework).

The History of Professional Bodies in South Africa

South Africa has a long history of professional bodies. With new legislation around education and training the past 15 years, the roles of these bodies have been changing.

In the past these bodies would often be both quality assurer of training to current and prospective members, as well as a membership body aimed at professionalising their stated field of operations.

The bodies who have successfully navigated their way through all these changes, often split into two bodies: and education focussed body, and an independent membership body.

Links between the ICBA and other Professional Bodies

The ICBA has professional relationships with the following bodies:

  • South African Business Accountants (SAIBA)
  • South African Institute for Tax Professionals (SAIT)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (FASSET)

Through the close link between the ICB (Educational Body) and the ICBA (Professional Membership Body), there are a number of advantages linking to these other professional bodies – for students on ICB courses, as well as ICBA members.

The Aim of the ICBA

The ICBA sets itself the goal to certify qualifications and award designations. That means that the ICBA can evaluate your qualifications and work experience, and based on that they can give you a certain level of membership.

Membership means you can use the designation letters behind your name.

The ICBA works at improving the image, training and professionalism of their field. Their field being people working in Finance, Accounting, Bookkeeping and Office Administration.

Different Levels of Membership

If you have a qualification from the ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) or an alternative accredited qualification, then you can apply for membership.

If you are studying towards one of their recognised qualifications, then you can apply to become a Student Member. Student Members are not allowed to use any letters or designation behind their name.

Once you have passed the Certified Junior Bookkeeper qualification, and you have at least six months work experience, then you can use the designation CJBIcba(SA) behind your name. As a professional member of the ICBA you are expected to adhere to their code of conduct.

Using a professional body designation, shows your employer, co-workers, clients and prospective employers that you are a recognised member of the ICBA. You are also allowed to use their logo on your business cards and in your marketing materials. This is a way to stand out as a professional.

As you get more work experience and higher level qualifications, you can apply to the ICBA to use higher level designations behind your name.

ICBA membership levels

Membership level Designation NQF level attained Minimum work experience *
Student None Not applicable 0 months
Certified Junior Bookkeeper CJBIcba(SA) Level 3 6 months
Certified Public Accounts Administrator CPAAIcba(SA) Level 4 12 months
Certified Senior Bookkeeper CSBIcba(SA) Level 4 12 months
Certified Technical Financial Accountant CTFAIcba(SA) Level 5 24 months
Certified Technical Public Accountant CTPAIcba(SA) Level 5 24 months
Certified Junior Office Administrator CJOAIcba(SA) Level 5 24 months
Certified Senior Office Administrator CSOAIcba(SA) Level 5 24 months
Certified Financial Accountant CFAIcba(SA) Level 6 36 months
Certified Office Manager COMIcba(SA) Level 6 36 months
*Relevant and current work experience

ICB Qualifications recognised by the ICBA

The ICBA has seven professional designations on the NQF. They are linked to specific qualifications and jobs, as follows.

Thus, depending on their level of qualification, successful ICB students can apply to the following levels of professional membership with the ICBA:

 

Membership level: Certified Junior Bookkeeper

ICB Qualification required: National Certificate: Bookkeeping

 

Membership level: Certified Senior Bookkeeper

ICB Qualification required: FET Certificate: Bookkeeping

 

Membership level: Certified Technical Financial Accountant

ICB Qualification required: National Diploma: Technical Financial Accounting

 

Membership level: Certified Financial Accountant

ICB Qualification required: National Diploma: Financial Accounting

ICB Courses

To apply for membership of the ICBA, you need to start studying one of the ICB courses. Your first step is to register with an accredited course provider. Skills Academy is fully accredited by the ICB and FASSET to offer these courses.

The ICB courses are arranged into four different fields of study. These fields of study are:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Public Sector Accounting
  • Business Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Office Administration

Inside each field of study is a range of courses, which I shall list below. All of these courses are recognised by the ICBA towards membership of the ICBA.

ICB Financial Accounting Courses

ICB Public Sector Accounting Courses

ICB Business Management Courses

ICB Entrepreneurship Courses

ICB Office Administration Courses

Exams and Assessments

ICB home study students can write their exams four times a year. In February, May, August and November.

You usually have to register for an exam two or three months before the exam. So, if you are aiming for the February exams, you need to be registered for them by the beginning of December.

ICBA Membership

As an ICB student, you can apply for Student Membership of ICBA. The benefits of membership is as follows:

The right to use those designation ICBA letters after your name (not if you are still a Student Member)

Use the ICBA logo on your business cards, letterheads and website

ICBA Membership certificate

Tax booklet for ICBA members – updated after the annual budget speech

ICBA Members’ notebook

Discounted workshops

With the right ICB courses and work experience you can apply to the SAIT to become a Tax Practitioner – as well as get a discount on your SAIT Membership

ICBA Members who are Bookkeepers in private practice, can apply for exclusive access to Pastel’s Bookkeepers’ Forum – which brings all kinds of special benefits for you from Pastel

ICBA Members with the required work experience and the proper ICB qualification (National Diploma: Financial Accounting NQF Level 6) can apply to become an Accounting Officer through SAIBA

Certified Technical Financial Accountants and Certified Financial Accountants may perform the duties of an ex-officio Commissioner of Oaths

The ICBA has professional relationships with the following bodies:

  • South African Business Accountants (SAIBA)
  • South African Institute for Tax Professionals (SAIT)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (FASSET)

The ICBA does not offer training. However, it recognises appropriate education and training providers and contributes to the curricula of learning programmes offered by these providers.

So when you study one of the ICB courses, then you know that each course of recognised by the ICBA towards membership of the ICBA.

How to Apply for ICBA Membership

Students

Apply for student membership by filling in the Student Membership Application Form.

Pay the yearly fee for Student Membership.

If you are registered as a student with the ICB, then you qualify for a discount on your student membership fees.

Qualified Bookkeepers, Accountants and Office Administrators

If you are properly qualified, and you have the required amount of work experience, then you can apply for full membership with the ICBA.

Your membership level will depend on your qualifications, as well as your work experience.

Submit your membership application documents, together with membership fees, as well as supporting documents if requested.

If you are continuing your studies as an ICB student, then you qualify for a discount on your membership fees.

The best time to apply is before the start of the new year. Your membership fees are for a calendar year.

Last Updated: November 8th 2016