Insider tips from our Head of HR and Training

If a company has requested an interview with you, congratulations! This means that they have seen something in your CV that they like and would like to know more about you. But this is also an opportunity for you to get to know the company!

Preparing for interviews is very important and something that the company will be impressed by, this is something that can set you apart from other candidates. Get a notebook ready to take some notes on the following, and take the notebook with you to the interview! You can refer to the notes you have made during your discussion which will show the company you are well prepared.

Firstly, do your homework on the company:

  • Ensure you have a good understanding of their business: the goods and services they offer (have a look at their website, Facebook and other social media pages and make some notes for yourself)

Secondly, make sure you have a good understanding of the position you are applying for:

  • Ask for a copy of the job description before the interview if possible
  • Go through the job description (or google a job description of a similar position if not available) and make some notes on the duties: if it involves customer service, why would you be good at fulfilling the function? What prior knowledge or skill would help you in the role? It is important to think of this before the interview as you will be more prepared to answer questions relating to why you have the potential for the position.

Thirdly, make sure you prepare some questions to ask your interviewer:

  • This helps to show you are well prepared but also will help you get more information about the company and position.
  • Try to stay away from questions relating to terms and conditions of employment, i.e. salary or working hours, the company will bring this up when the time comes.
  • Have a look at this link for some great questions to ask your interviewer:

Lastly, you need to be prepared to answer a few questions, here are some examples of questions I typically ask candidates:

  • Tell me a bit about yourself?
  • What do you know about our company and why do you want to work here?
  • What do you know about the position and why do you think you have the potential for the position?
  • Tell me about your previous positions and the experience you have gained?

I can go on and on but you get the idea, if you would like to prepare some more questions you can also google some examples, here is a link for more info:

Insider tips from our Head of HR and Training

This is very important as it is the company’s first impression of you, so you need to make sure it is a good one!

1. CV layout

I like a CV which is concise and to the point. Try to keep it 1 – 3 pages maximum. I do not think that you need to include copies of all your certificates, ID documents, etc. I would suggest stating your qualifications in the CV and that your transcripts or certificates are available on request.
Nowadays, there are many websites where you can download CV layouts for free, simply google free CV templates and choose a template which appeals to you, here is an example:
I also like a CV which has a small professional photo of the candidate, take note, professional! I think that a CV stands out when I can see the person who is applying for the position, then you are not just another piece of paper.

2. What to cover

In general, a CV should include the following information:
a. Your personal details, i.e. name, date of birth, nationality, your residential area, drivers license if applicable, languages, and most importantly, contact details!
b. Short bio/introduction of the self, experience and intention. For example, I am an X professional who has recently completed my X qualification. I have experience working in the X industry and am passionate about X.
c. I would then suggest listing your working experience, starting from the most recent. Ensure you include the company details, your title and a breakdown of your duties, the period of service and any achievements while in the position.
d. Next, I would suggest listing your education, starting from your highest qualification down to Matric, where applicable. You should also list the period or dates that you studied and the name of the institution where you obtained your qualifications.
e. Skills: list the soft skills and technical skills which you possess, i.e. do you have great communication skills? Computer skills? If so, which computer programs or platforms? i.e. MS Office and maybe you have been trained on a particular payroll software package T list that here!
f. References: it is important to list contacts which potential employers can contact regarding your experience and performance. Ideally, this would be your direct supervisor at your employer or a leader in your community, i.e. Principal from your school, who can vouch for your character and work ethic. Sometimes school leaders will help by writing you a reference letter to send to prospective employers, this helps to support your credibility.

3. Please, no spelling mistakes!

Spell check, spell check and spell check again. And once you have spell checked for the last time ask someone you trust to read through your CV to ensure your writing is free from any errors. Remember, this is the company’s first impression of you, and you want to make it a good one.

4. The importance of truthfulness and evidence

I believe very strongly about this section, and this is not only about the implications of lying on your CV (which you should not do!) but more specifically, being able to back up statements on your CV with concrete facts and justifications. For example, if you say you have great time management skills, why? If someone asked you why in the interview, would you be able to explain? You should be able to!
For every statement you make on your CV, you need to be able to back it up with a story or explanation as to why you say so. If you cannot, then maybe it should not be on in the first place.
Therefore, if you list multitasking or interpersonal skills on your CV, make sure you make some notes in your notebook about times during your studies or previous work experience which you needed to multitask or demonstrate your interpersonal skills to get the job done. A good way to do this is by explaining what was the situation or problem, what did you do that demonstrates your skill, and what was the outcome.

5. Applying to jobs online

a. You often need to create profiles on these platforms, a (professional) profile picture will make your profile stand out!
b. Ensure the information you insert matches your CV and is kept up to date
c. Make your cover letter personal to the position you are applying for, i.e. if you are applying for a customer service position, rather than stating I am applying for the position stated I the advert (which I see quite often) take two minutes to write that you are interested in the customer service position, and why, from the information you have read in the advert, you believe you are a great candidate for this position. The cover letter needs to catch the recruiter’s eye and I can easily spot the difference between a cover letter which is copy and pasted, vs one which the candidate has personalised to the position.
d. It’s tough out there! You may need to apply for 20 jobs before you get called for an interview, be prepared for this and keep trying. Do not give up!
e. If you have applied for positions online ensure you check your emails daily and keep your phone on you, if a recruiter tries to contact you and you only respond a week later, it may be too late.

Working for yourself or starting a business can be a terrifying idea. The risks, commitment, sacrifices and sheer determination involved could be enough to turn away even the strongest of Entrepreneurs.


Out of the top ten people on last year’s Forbes 400 list, seven of them founded and built the businesses that made them as successful and wealthy as they are today. This is where starting a business could take you.

#1 Bill Gates – Microsoft

#2 Jeff Bezos –

#3 Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook

#5 Larry Ellison – Oracle

#6 Michael Bloomberg – Bloomberg LP

#9 & #10 Larry Page & Sergey Brin – Google


The first step to achieving growth as an Entrepreneur is having a unique business concept, but that’s just the start. In order to realise the potential of your startup idea, you’ll need to be able to build an effective, efficient business around you, meaning you need to be a Project Manager, strategist, people manager and business analyst all in one.


What are the key responsibilities of an Entrepreneur?

A foolproof way to learn how to be a successful Entrepreneur is to look at the mistakes of startups that have failed before you. Many small businesses fail in their formative years, with almost 45% of companies closing their doors within five years of opening them.


Leading causes of startup failure are:

  • Not solving a true market problem
  • Running out of capital
  • Hiring the wrong team
  • Getting outplayed by competitors
  • Pricing your product or service incorrectly

In order to ensure your startup succeeds, you’d need to be confident in your ability to deal with the responsibilities that entrepreneurship requires of you. Your skills and tools would need to evolve to serve your market niche and help you develop a sustainable business plan to fill your gap.

Key responsibilities of an Entrepreneur include making an impact in the following three areas:

  • Generating and identifying new business opportunities to capitalise on
  • Navigating the legal environment with starting a business and planning accordingly
  • Developing an effective marketing plan that is best suited to your organisation


Business strategy
  • Defining the overall organisational goals, values and purpose of the business
  • Conducting competitor research, internal and external SWOT analyses to construct a  competitive advantage
  • Implementing, evaluating and adjusting strategies to ensure business sustainability


Cost management
  • Compile reliable budgets that can be used to accurately report and estimate costs for inventory management
  • Compare and contrast the costs and benefits of outsourcing investment recovery
  • Apply financial insight and ensure a business has attainable and maintainable goals


What is the career path of an Entrepreneur?

When pursuing a career in entrepreneurship, you have the ability to choose your own career path. You could be both the founder and CEO of your company, such as Bill Gates of Microsoft. You could choose to start a business and then find a CEO to run it for you, like Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp did in the early days of Uber. You could also follow in the footsteps of Forbes 400 #3, Warren Buffett, and fund multiple startups with other investors, acting as stakeholders in those companies while their values grow.

The self-made entrepreneurs featured on the Forbes 400 2016 list are worth a total of $1.6 trillion, with 35% of that net worth being found in technology companies and 25% found in finance and investment businesses. Other notable industries include media and entertainment, fashion and retail, real estate and energy.3

The question is: which is the best industry to start a business in?

  • Tech
  • Finance and investments
  • Media and entertainment
  • Fashion and retail
  • Real estate
  • Energy


What is the potential salary for an Entrepreneur?

No two entrepreneurs experience the same business process, meaning no two entrepreneurs have comparable salaries. Your salary is entirely up to the decisions you make and how well your startup performs.

To figure out what you should be paying yourself, you need to look at your business’s revenue and your personal needs and make a decision about what you deserve to get paid.

Make use of pay information sites like Salary, Glassdoor and Payscale to compare your pay to people in similar positions and locations to ensure you pay yourself what you deserve. If the business can’t afford to pay you after deducting operating costs, hold off on your salary but consider marking it as a debt the company owes you, to be paid in the future.

What are the education and training requirements for an Entrepreneur?

Depending on the industry you wish to enter into or the type of product you wish to offer, you could require anything from a college certificate or a Bachelor’s Degree to a Doctorate and multiple certifications.

This is why Entrepreneur, Shannon Smuts believes online business courses are the best option for Entrepreneurs looking to achieve real-time business goals.

Jeff Bezos held a Bachelor of Science from Princeton when he started, while Bill Gates didn’t even finish his studies at Harvard before dropping out in his second year to start Microsoft.

No matter your level of education of qualification, there are key skills you need to be a successful entrepreneur:

  • Business strategy
  • Business management
  • Project management
  • Commercial law
  • Business analysis
  • Cost and management accounting

Take a look at the ICB’s Entrepreneurship Programme here.


Applying for a  job online can be daunting. 

Here are 10 quick checks to do before applying for one.


1. Is your CV fully up-to-date?

The CV you complete is what employers will ultimately see, so make sure it is comprehensive and up to date.


2. Have you written in full sentences with the audience (prospective employers) in mind?

Too many times we see a “one CV fits all” approach from applicants. Tailor your CV to highlight the specific skills the employer/recruiter will be looking for on your CV.


3. Have you included enough detail, without being long-winded?

An online CV that you complete is not an abridged version of your full CV. It should contain enough detail to showcase your skills without being so long that the reader loses interest.


4. Have you completed all your previous employment history?

There are up to 12 available spaces to complete previous work history on the RecruitMyMom CV. Starting with the most recent, include all relevant work experience in your CV.


5. Have you explained the gaps in your CV?

It is okay to have working gaps on your CV provided you can explain why they exist.


6. Have you checked for spelling, grammar and upper/lower case errors?

If a job specification asks for “attention to detail” or “excellent in English” these errors can immediately disqualify you. Download a grammar app such as Grammarly to ensure you get it right.


7. Are your employment references from previous employers and do they include telephone numbers or contact email addresses?

References should not be colleagues or family unless specifically requested.


8. Have you looked at your final CV?

When one looks at the final CV it is easy to spot errors.


9. Apply immediately!

Having a completed CV enables you to respond quickly to your perfect job which ensures your CV is at the top of the applicants’ list.


10. Have you thought about how to write an excellent motivational letter when applying for the job?

The motivational letter should not be vanilla. It must show that you have read and understood the requirements of the role and taken the time to explain why you should be considered.



Are you currently freelancing as an accountant or thinking of working for yourself? Navigating a freelance career can be stressful and can leave you feeling uncertain, particularly if you don’t know how to market your services and build on your experiences. Here are a few tips to help you accelerate your professional journey and market your skills as a freelance accountant:



Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) include start-ups and small companies that can’t always afford the big financial services firms. Think corner shops and fledgling companies. These enterprises need accountants too. As a freelance accountant, this is a great market to tap into. Make yourself visible to younger, smaller businesses and target your service towards this gap. A good start is by offering free assessments to the small businesses. This will help them get a sense of what you are offering and how it can benefit their business.



It can be hugely beneficial to network with other freelancers, both formally and informally. A popular online freelance network called Upwork (formerly called Elance) matches freelancers with freelance jobs. This site allows you to build a profile, market your skills, and find work online.



Given the many recruitment agencies out there, it could be worth your while to sign up with at least one of them. Specify that you’re a freelancer looking for short-term contract work. This will help you build up a portfolio, broaden your experience, and maintain a stream of work. Also, consider BAN (Business Accounting Network), which is a franchise structure of accounting professionals working for themselves.





Build a website for yourself. There are many free platforms available if you don’t want to pay for one, and there’s always the option of outsourcing if you do. Your website should outline your services and let people know how to contact you, at the very least.



Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and that it reflects the very best of who you are, what your experience entails, and which skills you have to offer. Needless to say, you should fully familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of LinkedIn.



A professional Facebook page can be helpful too. This makes you accessible and can go a long way in building up a client base. Be sure to include testimonials from satisfied clients and keep your page professional and updated. It should have a distinctive feel from your personal Facebook profile and should focus solely on marketing your business.



When your freelance career starts really taking off, you could explore the option of growing it even further. Consider the possibility of elevating your individual freelance business to a small consultancy firm. This would entail building your brand, probably recruiting a small team, formalising your company, and possibly continuing your education through additional bookkeeping and accounting programmes while maintaining business operations.



Thinking of studying a financial programme? Fascinated by economics, business or bookkeeping? While rewarding career paths, the financial world is in its nature very competitive. Finding a good job – never mind a job you’re passionate about – can be tough! As a result, it’s more important than ever to have the right credentials behind you. Attaining an ICB qualification not only adds a professional, accredited business qualification to your CV arsenal, but makes you more employable and indispensable. A reputation spanning decades, opens up doors and places you in a league of professionals. Can you afford not to stand out?

Here are 4 Reasons why you can’t afford NOT to have an ICB qualification:

1. Recognition – both locally and abroad

We’ve been there, done that! 87 years of experience as an Independent External Examination Body means we’ve earned our stripes in the industry. Why does this matter? Recognition and reputation are important. We’ve established ourselves as a leading Financial and Accounting Accreditation Body offering relevant, high quality financial knowledge. This in turn has led to positive relationships with top- tier industry leaders and recognition with professional bodies (CIMA, ACCA), employers and graduates across the country and the world. Your ICB qualification sets you apart in a pile of CV’S, in an interview room, or in the line up to a promotion. Hello employment!

2. Attainable Success

It’s no secret – graduation rates are low in South Africa. Completing tertiary studies can be challenging, and sometimes downright overwhelming. We understand this and use study methodologies that give you the best chance of succeeding. Our courses are broken down into different levels, with each level working towards your final qualification. These easy-to-manage study chunks make completing your qualification more achievable as you’re able to build your knowledge incrementally. The result? A higher chance of attaining success and that shiny graduation photo, of course.

3. Credible and Accredited

Fake colleges and qualifications are real! Fly-by-night, “diploma mills” have been circulating in South Africa, promising the world and delivering the opposite – unaccredited degrees and empty pockets. You’ve been warned.

With the ICB, you can sleep easily with the knowledge that your qualification will always be credible and accredited. All our training providers are the real deal – accredited colleges are registered with DHET (Department of Education and Higher Training). As an appointed Quality Assurance Partner for QCTO, we are authorized to conduct examinations on a number of registered qualifications that are on the NQF. You won’t be taken for a ride-ever.

4. Flexible Study Options

Life happens. Situations change! Don’t be forced to give up on your dreams as a result of the unexpected. The ICB is flexible and have a range of different study options to suit your unique needs and circumstances. Fit your studies around your life and study on your own terms – whether this is full time, part time or distance learning. ICB courses are also structured in a way that allow you study at your own pace or pick up where you left off. How’s that for academic freedom?

Looking to study a reliable, accredited, finance qualification? Take a look at our list of programmes to find the perfect one for you.

Bookkeeping is a continuously growing profession and provides fantastic career opportunities for those who have a mind for numbers. If you are planning on working in bookkeeping, there are a wide range of attributes and professional skills you will need to prepare yourself for a bookkeeping job.

A bookkeeper’s duties are to be across all accounts, including tracking the comings and going of money, paying bills on time on behalf of the business and keeping track of accounts received. As a bookkeeper, your role is to ensure all employees get paid regularly and ensure the business’s financial records are accurate and up-to-date. If you are interested in knowing how to become a bookkeeper we have prepared all you need to know.

Should I Become a Bookkeeper?

Some of the character traits required to become a bookkeeper include:

  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Good organisational skills
  • Numeracy accuracy and diligence
  • Good computer skills
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Patience and dedication

For individuals who like solving problems and enjoy mathematics will be perfect for this profession. When it comes to bookkeeping there are two main types of bookkeepers, freelance bookkeepers who work from home and employed bookkeepers who work in an office environment. Therefore being able to work both independently and as part of a team is an important skill.

A Day in The Life of a Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers usually work in small to medium sized businesses across various industries, and the variety of tasks will be dependent on the size of the business. In larger companies, these responsibilities may be divided among a number of bookkeepers. Whereas, in a small business, a bookkeeper may be required to provide a wider range of activities. Daily tasks may include:

  • Recording the financial transactions of a business in bookkeeping software.
  • Arranging payments of accounts.
  • Receiving and processing invoices for payment and receipts to debtors.
  • Processing payroll and maintaining employee records.
  • Calculating profit and loss.
  • Carrying out bank reconciliations.
  • Checking figures and reporting for accuracy.
  • Reporting any irregularities in data to management.
  • Producing balance sheets, income statements and other financial documents.


If you feel this is the career for you – read more about the ICB’s Financial Accounting Programme.

Adapted from:

If you’re an entrepreneur with a foolproof idea and all the resources you need to start your business, then there’s no need for you to go to college, right? You can definitely be successful without a college qualification, just ask Bill Gates and Richard Branson. But all entrepreneurs (even billionaire ones) need to acquire knowledge and develop skills continuously if they are to be successful.


Whether it’s a business management course or an MBA degree, education should be a priority for all aspiring entrepreneurs.




Education options vary greatly – from multi-year university degrees, to short courses and on-the-job training options such as internships, or a combination of these. As a budding entrepreneur, the type of education you choose depends on what type of business you want to start. For example, if you’re thinking of opening a mechanic’s workshop or a beauty salon (but first want to learn the trade), then specialised vocational training courses would be well suited to you. If you’re academically minded and want to start a business in a complex field such as law or engineering, then having a university degree would be to your advantage.


Many successful entrepreneurs (notably in fields such as IT) have started their career journeys through internships. If you are an independent, driven and inquisitive person, doing internships and even volunteering at big companies within your field can teach you more than any other form of education.


Remember that, no matter the field, every entrepreneur needs to have a grasp of key business skills such as accounting, business management and marketing. Make sure you take this into account when choosing your education options.


Ultimately, since you’re starting your own business, it’s more important to have the proper skills in place than to have a long list of qualifications behind your name (unless these are legally required in your chosen industry). Read on to find out which essential skills you’ll need.




  • Money management. If you struggle with personal budgeting, then it’s likely that you’ll struggle to manage the money in your business. If you aren’t good at budgeting, then do some research on tips for how to manage your money better. There are dozens of reputable websites that offer expert advice.
  • Business management. You can’t be a successful entrepreneur without knowing how to manage a business. Being in command requires good communication, good people management and good relationships with investors and customers.
  • Accounting. As an entrepreneur, you have to keep a meticulous record of your income and expenses. Even if you’re able to have someone do this job for you, basic accounting skills are essential if you want to understand your business’s finances.
  • Marketing. Especially when starting out, you need to be able to attract customers, investors or partners to your business. Being able to effectively market your product or service is often the single biggest factor in your success or failure.
  • Leadership. You may be starting your business by yourself or with a few partners, but your goal is probably to grow your company and employ more people. Leadership skills are essential for making hiring decisions, training new staff, keeping employees motivated and nurturing your business.


Developing these business skills is vital, take a look at the ICB’s Entrepreneurship programme, covering all the above essential skills.



So it’s time to start thinking about your study plans for next year. Your friends have already announced their career, study, and gap year plans on Facebook, but you are still undecided. You’ve done some research and found that you’re drawn to a career in accounting, but you aren’t exactly sure which direction you should take.

Here are 4 reasons why public sector accounting is a good career choice:

1 – You get to choose your working environment:

Because many public sector accountants own their own businesses, or work as consultants, it means that their working environment can change depending on their work and where their clients are based. They could work from an office or from home, depending on the agreement with the client.

2 – You get to help your community:

Whether you choose to work for the government, take on clients in the education or housing sector, or help out small companies, public sector accountants spend a lot of time making a difference in people’s lives and in their communities, whether it is indirectly or directly. This is an opportunity to work with or for a cause that matters to you.

3 – You get to ensure that important work is done properly:

It is important that finances in the public sector are handled correctly, since they affect the public services that are available to communities, such as education, healthcare, sanitation, etc. By taking on a career in public sector accounting, you get the chance to ensure that the work you do is of top quality and in line with codes of professional ethics.

4 – You get to choose your speciality:

The clients you work with have different needs, which mean that you have the opportunity to specialise in an area that you enjoy. Fields of specialisation include tax consulting, auditing, and financial accounting, among others.

Now that you have read some of the reasons why choosing to be a public sector accountant is a good career choice, you might want some more information on the actual job:


What would some of your daily activities be?

As a Public Sector Accountant, you will do some or all of the following:

  • Prepare accounts
  • Develop and manage certain financial systems and accounts
  • Manage financial policies
  • Prepare reports
  • Draw up business plans and financial statements
  • Communicate with management, colleagues and clients
  • Audit accounts

So if you’re keen to make an impact in the public sector (and improve the lives of your fellow community members), and if you have a way with numbers, then you should consider a career in public sector accounting.

If you would like to find out how you can study towards a career in this field, click here.


Great news for any ICB or ICBA learner who has successfully completed an ICB NQF6 of our Financial Accounting stream. You’re eligible for a discounts towards an ACCA Qualification.


Who is eligible?

Any ICB or ICBA learner who has successfully completed an ICB NQF6 of our Financial Accounting stream.


What is the offer?

Each learner can obtain a maximum of 6 exemptions for subjects registered with ACCA

Registration £40
Exemption £30 per exemption


Who is ACCA?

ACCA is the world’s largest leading body for professional accountants, with over 110 years of experience, innovation and excellence. ICB graduates holding the National Diploma: Financial Accounting NQF 6 qualification can study further through ACCA. You will receive up to 6 exemptions o further your studies towards becoming a Chartered Certified Accountant with ACCA.  See


ACCA is an international body which then gives us international accreditation due to the fact they recognise our qualifications.


Offer Valid from 1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020

All applications to be complete here –

Please insert the code IB7 when you get to the Registration code section (if not used normal charges will apply)

Registration Guide -Final Version