Practical vocational qualifications that lead to ICB membership and professional status

Covid-19 Update

All ICB exams remain available. There is no interruption to online exams which can be taken from home.

When you are ready to complete your M8 exam please call our friendly Exams Team on 0203 405 4000 to arrange your exam which will be carried out at home using the latest remote-invigilation and ID-verification technology.

Find out more

The latest Covid restrictions (as at 5thJanuary 2021) mean that we cannot deliver the M8 exam at a test centre. Until those restrictions are relaxed, the only option is to take the exam from home using remote invigilation.

  

You can take exams as soon as you register as a student. To achieve ICB qualifications you need to complete the exams in numerical order.

By clicking on the qualification titles below you can open up further details and download the detailed syllabus.

For information on the most recent syllabus change in 2019 please click here.

Core Qualifications

Title

Code

Type

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping ▼

Occupational Role: Assistant Bookkeeper

Gain a full understanding of the concepts of double entry bookkeeping and its place in modern business. You'll learn how to enter transactions, produce an initial trial balance, identify and correct errors, and reconcile sales & purchases ledger balances.

Membership Grade: Associate Member

Upon successful completion of this qualification you can apply to join ICB as an Associate Member to use the designatory letters AICB after your name demonstrating your professional expertise.

Entry requirements

You must register as an ICB Student, but there are no formal entry requirements and you don't need any bookkeeping knowledge to begin. Basic numeracy and English language proficiency required.

Duration

120 guided learning hours

or

6 -18 months depending on your study method and other commitments

What's involved 

There are three units with an exam at the end of each one: 

A1 Basic Double-Entry Bookkeeping to Trial Balance
A2 Further Double-Entry Bookkeeping to Trial Balance
A3 Data Entry to Trial Balance using Software

Exams

  • Two 2-hour online exams
  • One 24-hour online exam
  • Can be taken at home, or your office, at any time throughout the year
  • The exams must be taken in order, and within 5 years of each other


Cost

Student Membership: £55 annual subscription + £25 one-off registration fee Register Online
Exams: £65 per exam attempt Book Online Student Registration required
Mocks: £15 per mock. There are two available for each exam. Book Online Student registration NOT required
Training: Various depending on your chosen training provider. Please view our list of Accredited Training Providers
Textbooks: from £45 per unit for studying independently without a training provider
Software: You will need to use a commercial accounting software to complete the A3 exam. If you do not already have appropriate software, the cost may be included as part of your training course, or you could contact software providers to enquire about a free trial version.

 Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping syllabus

A1
A2
A3
3 x online exams
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts ▼

Occupational Role: Self-Employed Bookkeeper/Employed Bookkeeper

Learn how to produce a VAT Return, control the sales and purchases ledgers, post year-end adjustments and produce the final accounts for sole traders, partnerships, not-for-profit organisations and Limited Companies. You'll understand the basics of the various accounting standards (IFRS and UKGAAP).

Membership Grade: Member

Upon successful completion of this qualification you can apply to join ICB as a full Member, Certified Bookkeeper to use the designatory letters MICB after your name demonstrating your professional expertise.

Entry requirements

You can begin this certificate when you have achieved the ICB Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping or its equivalent with another awarding body.

You will need current ICB membership or

current student registration and have completed your most recent examination within the last two years.

Duration

180 guided learning hours

or

9 - 24 months depending on your study method and other commitments

What's involved 

There are four units each with an exam at the end, followed by one final synoptic exam.

M4 Reconciliations and Final Accounts of a Sole Trader
M5 Final Accounts for a Partnership
M6 Final Accounts for a Not-for-Profit Organisation
M7 Final Accounts for Incorporated Businesses
M8 Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts Synoptic Exam

Exams

  • Four 3-hour online exams; can be taken at home or your place of work
  • One 2-hour synoptic exam; must be taken at an ICB exam centre or, due to Coronavirus, can be arranged by remote invigilation from March onwards until circumstances change. Please call us on 0203 405 4000 for more information
  • Exams must be taken in order and within five years of each other
  • Exams are available at any time of year


Cost

Student Membership: £55 annually
Exams: £65 per exam attempt Book Online Student Registration required (exam centre fees included at no extra cost)
Mocks: £15 per mock. There are two available for each exam. Book Online Student registration NOT required
Training: Various depending on your chosen training provider. Please view our list of Accredited Training Providers
Textbooks: from £45 per unit for studying independently without a training provider

 Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts syllabus

M4
M5
M6
M7
M8
4 x online exams
1 x centre-based exam


Supplementary Qualifications

You can choose from our suite of supplementary qualifications that run alongside the core bookkeeping qualifications.  Although these are not usually membership correlative you may need to pass other qualifications before you can attempt them.  

Title

Code

Type

Level 2 Certificate in Payroll Administration ▼

The Level 2 Certificate in Payroll Administration is aimed at those who are new to payroll and have little or no previous knowledge or experience. Successful candidates will be able to carry out the role of a Payroll Assistant and will be able to demonstrate a good basic understanding of payroll services and running basic payroll calculations, or as an employed Payroll Clerk.

Entry Requirements

No prior bookkeeping knowledge or qualifications are required but candidates must have basic numeracy skills.

Candidates must:

hold valid student registration or ICB membership

Assessment Type

1 timed online exam. Time allowed for completion: 2 hours

Availability

Immediate in every week of the year

Cost

Student Membership: £55 annual subscription + £25 one-off registration fee Register Online
Exams: £65 per exam attempt Book Online Student Registration required
Mocks: £15 per mock. There are two available. Book Online Student registration NOT required
Training: Various depending on your chosen training provider. Please view our list of Accredited Training Providers
Textbooks: from £45 per unit for studying independently without a training provider Buy Online

 Level 2 Certificate in Payroll Administration syllabus

P2 1 x online exam
Level 3 Diploma in Payroll Management ▼

This qualification covers the theoretical knowledge and demonstration of the use of various tables and publications issued by HMRC and the demonstration of how to carry out computerised handling of payroll related matters.

Membership Grade: Payroll Agent

Upon successful completion of this qualification you can apply to join ICB as a Payroll Agent. ICB Associate or Members who complete this qualification can use the designatory letters PM.Dip after their membership designatory letters.

Entry Requirements

No prior bookkeeping or payroll knowledge or qualifications are required, but candidates must have basic numeracy skills. You do not need to have completed the preceding Level 2 Certificate in Payroll Administration but may find that a useful starting point if you are new to the subject.

Candidates must:

hold valid student registration or ICB membership

Assessment Type

One timed online assessment. Time allowed for completion: 24 hours. 

Availability

Immediate in every week of the year

Cost

Student Membership: £55 annual subscription + £25 one-off registration fee Register Online
Exams: £75 per exam attempt Book Online Student Registration or Membership required
Mocks: £15 per mock. There are two available. Book Online Student registration NOT required
Training: Various depending on your chosen training provider. Please view our list of Accredited Training Providers
Textbooks: from £45 per unit for studying independently without a training provider Buy Online
Software: You will need to have access to commercial payroll software to take your exam. If you do not already have appropriate software, the cost may be included as part of your training course, or you could contact software providers to enquire about a free trial version.

 

 Level III Diploma in Payroll Management Syllabus

P3 1 x online exam
Level 3 Diploma in Self Assessment Tax ▼

This qualification is being superseded by the Level 4 Certificate in Self Assessment Taxation which is available from February 2020 onwards. If you have not yet begun studying, please choose the higher level qualification instead.

Self Assessment Tax comprises both Personal and Business Taxation and relates to preparing tax computations and returns for sole traders or partners and individuals such as Directors.

Entry-Requirements

Candidates must achieve (or gain exemptions from) the following ICB qualifications before applying:

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping 
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts

Candidates must:

hold valid ICB membership or
hold valid student registration and have completed their most recent assessment within the last two years

Assessment Type

1 home-based, timed, online assessment.  Time allowed for completion: 48 hours. 

Availability

Immediate in every week of the year

Level III Diploma in Self Assessment Tax Returns

SAT3 1 x online exam
Level 3 Diploma in Costing and Budgeting ▼

This module is being phased out in 2020. If you have not yet begun studying please speak to your training provider or ICB directly for further information. 

This qualification is aimed at those who have completed at least the Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts and who wish to understand in more detail how a business needs to carefully analyse its costs and income, plus being able to produce budgets.

This module is an ideal pre-cursor to Management Accounting at Level 4 which deals with similar topics but at a much more detailed level, and which is aimed at larger businesses which might require cost and budgeting information in more complex format.

Entry Requirements

Candidates must achieve (or gain exemptions from) the following ICB qualifications before applying:

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping 
Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts

Candidates must:

hold valid ICB membership or
hold valid student registration and have completed their most recent exam within the last two years

Assessment Type

1 home-based, timed, online exam. Time allowed for completion: 24 hours. 

Availability

Immediate in every week of the year

 Level III Diploma in Costing and Budgeting

L3CB 1 x online exam


Advanced Qualifications

Level 4 Diploma in Advanced Bookkeeping and Accounting

Having completed the core qualifications up to this point you can start ICB's highest level qualification. Choose between these Level 4 modules to achieve a standalone certificate or complete three or more modules to be awarded the full Diploma. ICB Members of at least two years good standing can apply for Fellowship upon completion of the Diploma.

Title

Code

Type

Level 4 Certificate in Self Assessment Tax ▼

Learn how to complete Self Assessment Tax returns for individuals and businesses (sole traders and partners) 

Membership Grade: Fellow*

*Upon successful completion of this qualification, together with two further Level 4 qualifications and after two years' good standing as a full ICB Member, you can apply to ICB to become a Fellow and use the designatory letters FICB. This demonstrates your advanced competency and your attainment of ICB's highest level of membership.

Entry Requirements

Candidates must achieve (or gain exemption from) the following ICB qualifications before applying:

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping 
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts

Candidates must also:

hold valid ICB membership or
hold valid student registration and have completed their most recent exam within the last two years

Exams

  • One online exam; can be taken at home or your place of work
  • Exams are available at any time of year


Cost

Registration: You must be a registered student or member to complete your exam
Exams: £85 per exam attempt. Registration required Book Online
Mocks: £15 per mock. There are two available for each exam. Registration NOT required Book Online 
Training Course: Various depending on your chosen training provider. Please view our list of Accredited Training Providers
Textbooks: from £45 per unit for studying independently without a training provider Purchase Online

Syllabus

L4SAT 1 x online exam
Level 4 Certificate in Corporation Tax ▼

Learn how to prepare corporation tax returns for micro and small businesses. 

Membership Grade: Fellow*

*Upon successful completion of this qualification, together with two further Level 4 qualifications and after two years' good standing as a full ICB Member, you can apply to ICB to become a Fellow and use the designatory letters FICB. This demonstrates your advanced competency and your attainment of ICB's highest level of membership.

Entry Requirements

Candidates must achieve (or gain exemption from) the following ICB qualifications before applying:

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping 
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts

Candidates must also:

hold valid ICB membership or
hold valid student registration and have completed their most recent exam within the last two years

Exams

  • One online exam; can be taken at home or your place of work
  • Exams are available at any time of year


Cost

Registration: You must be a registered student or member to complete your exam
Exams: £85 per exam attempt. Registration required Book Online
Mocks: £15 per mock. There are two available for each exam. Registration NOT required Book Online 
Training Course: Various depending on your chosen training provider. Please view our list of Accredited Training Providers
Textbooks: from £45 per unit for studying independently without a training provider Purchase Online

Syllabus

L4CT 1 x online exam
Level 4 Certificate in Financial Statements for Small & Micro Businesses ▼

Learn how to prepare final accounts for a small or micro-entity under FRS105 or 102, Section 1A

Membership Grade: Fellow*

*Upon successful completion of this qualification, together with two further Level 4 qualifications and after two years' good standing as a full ICB Member, you can apply to ICB to become a Fellow and use the designatory letters FICB. This demonstrates your advanced competency and your attainment of ICB's highest level of membership.

Entry Requirements

Candidates must achieve (or gain exemption from) the following ICB qualifications before applying:

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping 
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts

Candidates must also:

hold valid ICB membership or
hold valid student registration and have completed their most recent exam within the last two years

Exams

  • One online exam; can be taken at home or your place of work
  • Exams are available at any time of year

Cost

Registration: You must be a registered student or member to complete your exam
Exams: £85 per exam attempt. Registration required Book Online
Mocks: £15 per mock. There are two available for each exam. Registration NOT required Book Online 
Training Course: Various depending on your chosen training provider. Please view our list of Accredited Training Providers
Textbooks: from £45 per unit for studying independently without a training provider Purchase Online

Syllabus

L4FS 1 x online exam
Level 4 Certificate in Business Insight ▼

The bookkeeper's relationship with a client need not end with agreeing the final accounts. The time spent recording transactions and preparing financial statements puts the bookkeeper in a unique and valuable position to help the business identify opportunities to improve performance, profitability and cashflow.

ICB's new Business Insight certificate at Level 4 replaces the existing Management Accounting certificate to provide a qualification which delivers knowledge and skills that will enhance the relationship between the bookkeeper and the client.

 

This module comprises

1.     Cost behaviour and analysis

2.     Forecasting and budgeting

3.     Performance measurement

4.     Managing the cash operating cycle

5.     Short-term financing decisions

6.     Short-term decision making

7.     Medium-term capital investment decision making

Membership Grade: Fellow*

*Upon successful completion of this qualification, together with two further Level 4 qualifications and after two years' good standing as a full ICB Member, you can apply to ICB to become a Fellow and use the designatory letters FICB. This demonstrates your advanced competency and your attainment of ICB's highest level of membership.

Entry Requirements

Candidates must achieve (or gain exemption from) the following ICB qualifications before applying:

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping 
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts

Candidates must also:

hold valid ICB membership or
hold valid student registration and have completed their most recent exam within the last five years

Exams

  • One online exam; can be taken at home or your place of work
  • Exams are available at any time of year

Cost

Registration: You must be a registered student or member to complete your exam
Exams: £85 per exam attempt. Registration required Book Online
Mocks: £15 per mock. There are two available for each exam. Registration NOT required Book Online 
Training Course: Various depending on your chosen training provider. Please view our list of Accredited Training Providers
Textbooks: from £45 per unit for studying independently without a training provider COMING SOON

Syllabus

NB. This module supersedes the Certificate in Management Accounting.

L4BI 1 x online exam
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