ICBA members: Get a 15% discount on 1 Group’s CPD events

We’re excited to announce that the ICBA is now endorsing 1 Group Conferences, Events and Training, and giving this organisation our full backing. This means that all registered ICBA members and their respective companies, will receive a 15% discount when attending a 1 Group event. 

Who is 1 Group?

1 Group Conferences, Events and Training help companies develop their staff professionally through workshops, conferences and seminars. These events focus on various financial, legal and business trends and changes – helping companies to develop their staff and their organisations.

1 Group’s team has about 16 years of experience in coordinating world class conferences and functions. They have worked with over 400 companies like Allan Gray, Bidvest, Discovery, MWEB, Sage Pastel, and many more. Their events have taken place in 5-star venues across South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Kenya, Namibia and Botswana.

What does 1 Group cover?

1 Group covers a wide range of training events on topics within the following fields:

  • Financial – Business Rescue in terms of the new Companies Act, IFRS, The National Credit Act, and many more.
  • Legal – Consumer Protection Act, Protection of Personal Information, and more.
  • Human Resources and Labour – Collective Labour Law, Forensic Recruitment Techniques, Conflict Resolution, and much more.

Click here to see a full and comprehensive list of topics covered in 1 Group’s CPD events.

Why attend these events?

If you’re a financial industry professional, you need to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. You wouldn’t trust a pilot or a doctor who’s let his/her knowledge lapse, would you?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is one of the ICBA’s requirements for membership renewal: on-going learning means you are keeping your industry knowledge current and relevant. All members must earn at least 20 CPD points every year. Each hour of learning you complete = 1 CPD point.

Earning CPD points is easy and affordable – thanks to the ICBA’s partnership with 1 Group!

Click here to see a list of 1 Group’s upcoming workshops in the ICBA’s events calendar.


Why make the transition from accountant to financial advisor?

Have you become bored with preparing tax returns every year? Have you thought of becoming a financial advisor? It will take time and effort, but making the switch can pay off. 

Advisors who begin as accountants blend their tax expertise with financial planning. If you broaden your scope of services, you could improve your job satisfaction and build stronger relationships with your clients. Just think about the possibilities of providing your clients with an investment management style that’s fine-tuned with being tax-sensitive.

The transition from accountant to advisor demands quite a steep learning curve. Tax planning is only one aspect of financial advising. There are other intricate aspects like:

  • investment management,
  • risk management,
  • estate planning,
  • and retirement planning.

If you’re an accountant who wants to become a financial advisor, you’ll need to expand your technical knowledge of all these areas. It may take a lot of in-depth studying and on-the-job training.

Why you might switch to financial planning

1. You seek a fresh challenge
2. You crave a different dynamic with your clients
3. You’re bored with preparing tax returns every year
4. Most elements of financial planning are impacted by taxes
5. Your accounting background can enhance your credibility as a financial planner

Your accounting knowledge could help to size up your clients quickly by reviewing their tax returns. You’ll know where to look for clues to get a better understanding of their finances.

Most financial advisors with tax expertise tend to focus on providing comprehensive financial planning for their clients. But many of them would rather partner with a CPA who specialises in tax returns – freeing them up to look beyond all the tax forms and focus on planning a client’s wealth.


7 reasons why it’s important to improve your skills

Just like pilots, doctors and many other professionals, financial industry professionals need to keep their skills and
knowledge up to date. You wouldn’t trust a doctor who’s let his/her knowledge lapse, would you?

It’s essential to think about how you can forward your career by adding new skills, experiences and qualifications to your CV.

Check out these seven reasons why it’s important to improve your skills:

1. Increase your salary / hourly rate

Job satisfaction is important, but so is getting paid what you’re worth. If that overseas holiday looks out of reach, you might want to invest in some certifications or training to ensure you end up on that tropical island.

2. Demonstrate your character to impress employers

Most employers respect individuals who keep moving forward and develop themselves. If you can demonstrate this – in your current position or at your next interview – then they are likely to consider you the type of person they would want to work with.

3. Gain new work

You might be able to win new types of work, just by adding a few extra skills to your set. It could be as simple as going through some retraining, or completing an extra education course.

4. Stay on top of new developments

If there’s a new software release or dynamic new trend, you need to have that knowledge under your belt. This will make you better equipped to compete in your field.

5. Combine your skills to stand out from the crowd

You never know what the future will bring – the financial industry might get more competitive. You might need something extra, or a unique combination of skills that offer you a unique selling point. Think about your talents and passions. Try to find creative combinations that could make you stand out from the crowd.

6. Gain a sense of achievement

The best part of learning a new skill is feeling that sense of achievement. But the entire process of learning is interesting and rewarding, and you can gain great insights into your own character and capabilities. You might even make valuable business contacts and meet new friends along the way.

7. You are the boss

Nobody else will look after your career development like you can, so only you can initiate change. Don’t rest on your laurels – move forward to ensure you don’t get stuck in a rut.

For finance professionals, it’s imperative to improve your skills and one of the reasons why the ICBA requires a certain measure of professional development. The easiest and most cost-effective way to do this, is by attending discounted workshops, seminars and webinars that are endorsed by the ICBA. You’ll earn valuable Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points and keep your industry knowledge current and relevant.

Click here to see a list of upcoming CPD events in the ICBA’s events calendar.


How to start your own bookkeeping or accounting business

Every business needs a bookkeeper/accountant. Business owners today realise more than ever before that if they are not careful about their finances, they soon won’t be in business. As it can be costly for smaller businesses to appoint a full-time bookkeeper or accountant, outsourcing this function has become very attractive to business owners and a great opportunity for bookkeepers or accountants to start up their own bookkeeping or accounting businesses.

The importance of bookkeepers and the role they play

A client not only wants to pay an independent bookkeeper or an accountant to balance their debit and credit transactions. The client will be paying you for your expertise, accuracy, loyalty, honesty and integrity, and your ability to handle their affairs with confidentiality and professionalism.

Clients don’t just buy a service because you want them to.
In fact, clients don’t buy products or services – they buy what those products or services do for them.

Although a vast range of accounting software packages is available to process captured information quickly and accurately, the software is unable to detect where transactions have been allocated incorrectly, omitted or have been duplicated. A lack of internal controls in a company could lead to fraudulent transactions. The bookkeeper or accountant plays a vital role in the accurate reporting of the affairs of the client.

Start up

You are no longer just a bookkeeper or an accountant.

Keep in mind that when establishing your own bookkeeping or accounting business, you are no longer just a bookkeeper or an accountant, but you are also an entrepreneur. You therefore have to start thinking like a business person.
Your business will have 3 basic components:


It will consist of the following 3 basic business elements:

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Management

You are the most important part of your business. You are the person who renders the service – you bring the exciting elements into the business which will lead to success.

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” – Henry Ford


1. Consider your skills

What skills do you need? Which of these skills do you already have? What do you need to do to get those skills which are essential in your business? Your starting point will be to get yourself well educated. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) offers valuable qualifications in this area. The ICB offers four main study programs which include the Accounting Programme which has qualifications that range from the level of a junior bookkeeper through to a financial accountant.

2. Consider the market’s needs

The area you are going to operate your business in must show a need for the services you plan to offer – and your fees will need to be market-related.

3. Consider your resources

Which resources do you currently have? Think about equipment, your home office, your talents and skills as well as personal characteristics. The experience which you have gained (which can be added to your CV) is an important marketing tool. Clients want to know that you have experience in their line of business. Years worked in the corporate or business world are never wasted, and through this you would have gained valuable knowledge and experience which can be used in your own business.

4. Consider other bookkeeping and accounting businesses who can assist or support you when needed.

It is important to network with other bookkeepers and accountants as you can capitalise on each other’s fields of expertise. You may be able to get business from bookkeeping or accounting services that have too much work.

5. Be different

To be different will give you a competitive advantage in the market.

6. Register your business

Once you have decided on the type of business you intend opening – sole trader, Pty (Ltd) – you will need to adhere to certain legislative requirements regarding the registration of your business with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPS).


To lay the foundation of your business you need to take the following into consideration:

1. Give your business a name

This will give your business an identity which your clients will recognise. Do not combine your personal and business finances but see your business as separate from yourself.

2. What do you need to start your business?

Start by listing the items and their estimated costs in a budget to determine your set-up cost.

You need to invest in a computer, printer and a bookkeeping/accounting software package. Also budget for some stationery and implement a good filing system from day one – piles of unfiled papers can become a nightmare when your client base starts expanding. You will also have to find and furnish an office – a home office helps to keep your costs down while you grow your business but needs to be accessible to your clients.

You should also buy insurance to protect yourself against unexpected liabilities.

3. Finance your business

It is good practice to keep your start-up cost as low as possible as you will have to finance some of it – if not all – yourself. You can finance your business as follows:

  • Finance your own business – you basically lend your own money to your business.
  • Finance with a partner – either a partner who actively takes part in the business or a silent partner who wants a return on their investment.
  • Bank financing – the bank will want a business plan with your application.


Entrepreneurs focus on clients’ needs.

When starting your bookkeeping or accounting business, keep in mind that clients will not come to you unless you work hard at catching their attention. Your marketing plan will have to be focused yet creative.

Modern technology has made it relatively easy and cost effective to attract many potential clients’ attention. Apart from marketing through your local newspaper, notice boards, handing out flyers and business cards, it is important to make yourself “visible” through electronic media/the internet. Start off by researching your local market to assess opportunities. The most effective way of marketing bookkeeping or accounting services is through word of mouth – when your service is good, your business will start selling itself. Soon you can expect new business from referrals.

  • Go the extra mile – offer a free consultation to business owners. This will include advice about their business finances. Be careful not to spend too much time on this – 30 minutes per client should be enough.
  • Extra services will give you a competitive advantage in your market. This could include services such as company secretarial services or offering the services of a tax practitioner. Should you decide to offer extra services, you should familiarise yourself with the appropriate legislation and regulations.
  • Sales – Throughout the sales process you should:
    1. Determine the client’s needs – keep contact; ask questions; listen; identify shortcomings in the business.
    2. Present yourself to the client – who you are; what you can do for them; why you are different.
  • Keep your clients:
    1. Be professional.
    2. Any problem with delivering on time is not your client’s problem.
    3. Build a good, friendly relationship.
    4. Keep in contact.


The management of your business will determine its success. Two very important components of management are cost calculation and financial management.

How much you can charge for your services will be affected by the area within which you work and the level of work that you do. It will range from basic record keeping to all the tasks leading to the preparation of the financial statements.

Follow these rules in the management of your business:

1. Keep your personal and business finances separate
2. Keep records
3. Have goals and targets
4. Collect fees owed to you by clients on time
5. Offer credit to clients? NO!
6. Pay yourself a salary.

Stay informed and in touch

It is easy to isolate yourself in your own business, so remember to stay informed and in touch with others like you. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Accountants (ICBA) is the ideal organisation to do this. Become a member and you’ll get information, guidelines and support for a career as bookkeeper or an accountant or for your bookkeeping or accounting business.