ICB Business Management Programme Learning Outcomes


Business Management Programme


Refer to the ICB curriculum statements under the ICB Accounting Programme for the following subjects:

  • ICB Business Literacy
  • ICB Bookkeeping to trial balance
  • ICB Financial statements
  • ICB Financial reporting and regulatory frameworks


Refer to the ICB curriculum statements under the ICB Office Administration Programme for the following subjects:

  • ICB Marketing management and public relations
  • ICB Human resources management and labour relations


ICB Business management 1

What is management?


  • Explain the nature and definition of management;
  • distinguish between the different levels of management;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the generic tasks of managers; and
  • outline the development of management theory through the years.



Management and the environment


  • Identify the scope of management in different types of organisations;
  • discuss the management of businesses according to their size;
  • explain the role of managers in modern organisations;
  • distinguish between the different management disciplines;
  • demonstrate an  understanding  of  the  influence  of  the  business  environment  on management practices;
  • describe the common misconceptions about management; and
  • recognise the role of the CEO in an organisation.


Financial planning and control


  • Prepare a business plan suitable for submission to a financial institution;
  • monitor actual performance of an organisa-tion against a budget;
  • decide on the purchase of fixed assets based on the highest financial return;
  • understand the importance of financial reporting.


Costing and pricing


  • Calculate the total production, administration, selling and distribution costs of a product;
  • distinguish between fixed, semi-fixed, semi- variable and variable costs;
  • carry out a simple break-even analysis;
  • calculate a selling price by using the mark-up or the margin;
  • apply the concepts of chargeable hours and total hours worked.


Managing working capital


  • Calculate the level of working capital in a business;
  • identify and explain the dangers of overtrading;
  • understand the effects on cash flow of external and internal events and actions;
  • prepare a debtors collection schedule as well as a creditors settlement schedule;
  • calculate an effective interest rate; and
  • calculate an approximate APR.


Working with SARS


  • Explain what Value Added Tax (VAT) is, and how the system works;
  • explain the VAT registration requirements and VAT periods;
  • compare the two bases according to which vendors may be registered for VAT;
  • perform basic VAT calculations;
  • calculate gross earnings for an employee, including allowances as well as company car and medical aid fringe benefits;
  • calculate ‘remuneration’ and ‘balance of remuneration’ as defined by SARS;
  • calculate ‘PAYE remuneration’, ‘SDL remuneration’ and ‘UIF remuneration’ as defined by SARS;


  • complete a monthly EMP201 return reflecting the correct calculation and payment of PAYE, SDL and UIF to SARS;
  • complete the annual EMP501 reconciliation for SARS.





Introduction to computing


  • Discuss the history of computers briefly;
  • learn what a PC is and how it basically works;
  • identify the main components of PC Hardware;
  • understand why upgrading a PC is important;
  • identify various PC Software applications;
  • differentiate between hardware and software;
  • understand the interaction between Hardware and Software using the IPOS cycle;
  • understand what networks are used for;
  • identify the basic components of networks; and
  • explain the advantages and disadvantages of using computers.


The windows operating system


  • Understand where the windows concept comes from;
  • learn how to use basic tools in Windows;
  • learn how to Log On to your PC;
  • identify the desktop and the taskbar;
  • identify objects in Windows;
  • use the recycle bin;
  • identify tooltips;
  • identify common Window components;
  • learn how to control multiple opened Windows;
  • learn how to start a programme;
  • use the help, support and search tools;
  • learn how to adjust PC hardware and PC software properties;
  • learn how to change basic mouse properties;
  • view the display properties;
  • understand user accounts;
  • add and remove programmes;
  • learn what drivers are;
  • use Windows Explorer to browse and create folders;
  • open and navigate through the Windows Explorer structure;
  • learn how to work with files and folders in Windows Explorer;
  • create and save a document in Windows; and
  • know how to launch a programme.


Working with internet and email


  • Learn what e-mail is;


  • distinguish the difference between Internet e-mail and network e-mail;
  • identify the various Outlook components;
  • compose messages in Outlook;
  • learn how to format messages;
  • learn how to open a message;
  • learn how to add an attachment to e-mail;
  • understand why and how to create e-mail folders;
  • learn how to move messages to a folder;
  • understand how contacts work in Outlook;
  • learn how to add and delete contacts in the address book;
  • use the help function in Outlook;
  • working with electronic calendars;
  • schedule appointments and meetings in an electronic diary;
  • create and manage contact in an electronic diary;
  • understand Internet Basics;
  • distinguish between the Intranet and the extranet;
  • understand what viruses are;
  • identify a web browser;
  • understand what the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is;
  • identify the Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Interface;
  • use web-based tools;
  • download programs and files from the web;
  • understand the workings of a search engine; and
  • search the web and getting usable information.



ICB Office and Legal Practice


The role and function of the administrative assistant


  • Demonstrate an  understanding  of  the  role  and  the  function  of  a  secretary  in  an organisation;
  • indicate the traditional technical skills required by secretaries;
  • identify additional skills which are likely required;
  • advise a junior employee on performance;
  • appreciate the importance of good telephone etiquette;
  • demonstrate competence as a secretary in an organisation;
  • demonstrate competence in handling routine business correspondence;
  • draft memoranda, minutes and reports; and
  • demonstrate skills and ability to organise.


Reception and diary management


  • Acknowledge and greet visitors according to organisational requirements;
  • establish rapport with visitors;
  • maintain a professional appearance and behaviour at all times;
  • consult visitors in a professional manner and establish the reason for their visit;
  • attend to requests for information promptly;


  • estimate the time or waiting period and convey this information to the client;
  • record the  receipt  and  dispatch  of  documents  and  deliveries  in  accordance  with organisational requirements;
  • notify relevant parties of visitors’ arrival;
  • give clear directions to visitors to relevant areas in the workplace;
  • explain and apply security procedures;
  • list and explain housekeeping according to organisational requirements;
  • implement housekeeping standards within agreed time frames;
  • ensure that  reception  services  are  not  disrupted  while  housekeeping  activities  are performed;
  • coordinate corporate image displays to create a presentable reception area;
  • keep the display area neat, tidy and clean at all times;
  • constantly maintain stocks of company brochures and magazines for distribution;
  • maintain a well-organised diary with appointments;
  • outline the most important rules of office etiquette; and
  • outline the steps to be taken during an armed robbery or another emergency situation.


Office equipment and ergonomics


  • Outline the features of the different kinds of office equipment;
  • work with office equipment;
  • choose the correct office equipment to suit your needs;
  • gauge whether renting or buying is a better bet;
  • control the movement of different items of inventory;
  • implement preventative maintenance strategies;
  • implement predictive maintenance strategies; and
  • implement safety measures with respect to office equipment and machinery.


Office supplies


  • Monitor office supplies levels by
  • Identifying and recording office supplies levels
  • Ascertaining and comparing office supply levels to required levels
  • Checking records for compliance with organisational requirements.
  • Taking remedial action to rectify office supply levels.
  • Maintain office supplies processes and procedures
  • Monitoring and evaluating office supply processes and procedures
  • Identifying and highlighting out-of-line situations
  • Taking remedial action to bring office supply processes and procedures back in line.
  • Identifying areas for improvement
  • Monitor and control the distribution of office supplies by
  • Identifying, setting and communicating distribution procedures
  • Receiving and recording office supply requests
  • Distributing office supplies within agreed timeframes.
  • Identifying and highlighting areas of non-conformance
  • Taking remedial action to rectify office supply distribution processes and procedures


Creating evidence and maintaining confidentiality


  • Explain the purpose of record-keeping;
  • identify types of information and records;
  • describe various methods of record keeping;
  • explain procedures for maintaining confidentiality;
  • identify the legal requirements for record keeping;
  • follow organisational procedures; and
  • understand the concept of whistle-blowing.


Record management systems


  • Provide reasons why companies record and keep information;
  • identify the structure, components, equipment and supplies required for electronic and paper filing systems;
  • use procedures appropriate to the workplace for opening, closing and retaining files;
  • select and use appropriate storage and retrieval methods for electronic and paper records;
  • handle records in a manner which complies with statutes and regulations governing the privacy of information and the retention of records;
  • develop a schedule for retention and disposal of records;
  • provide reasons for internal control; and
  • identify problems with inadequate internal controls and make suggestions for improvement.


Handling mail


  • Receive mail according to established procedures;
  • sort mail according to established procedures;
  • stamp mail correctly according to established requirements;
  • provide reasons for stamping incoming mail;
  • attach enclosures securely and report missing items in accordance to set procedures;
  • describe the importance of maintaining confidentiality and security of documentation in terms of receiving and sorting mail;
  • observe confidentiality in terms of a mailroom code of conduct;
  • distribute mail internally to relevant persons within an agreed time;
  • explain possible reasons for unavoidable or necessary delays in distribution, and describe the consequences of such delays;
  • address mail legibly and correctly for internal and external distribution;
  • describe procedures  for  dispatching  mail  externally  in  accordance  with  established procedures and Post Office requirements;
  • dispatch mail externally via the Post Office or a courier service within agreed deadlines; and
  • explain the legal implications of neglecting to comply with mailroom procedures in terms of own work performance and possible cost to company.


Travel and events management


  • Identify the principal features of making effective travel arrangements;
  • prepare an itinerary for a trip;
  • give advice on booking travel and hotel accommodation;
  • suggest a selection of useful travel reference sources which a secretary might consult;


  • list the sort of arrangements entailed in organising formal and informal meetings;
  • appreciate the factors which need to be taken into account in arranging a business lunch or event;
  • suggest the factors which would contribute to a successful social event;
  • identify the principal features in organising a business event;
  • explain the kind of checks which would be built into arrangements to ensure effectiveness; and
  • identify and source available external support.



Creating business documents


  • Produce an advanced business letter;
  • produce an advanced official letter/formal report;
  • produce display documents and documents used at meetings, suitable for publishing on A4 and A5 paper;
  • prepare a notice, agenda and minutes of a meeting;
  • prepare a table on A4 portrait and A4 landscape paper;
  • preparing a legal document and a company document;
  • producing a financial statement; and
  • preparing a curriculum vitae and a memorandum.


Banking, cash control and the business information manual


  • Discuss the necessity of banking and banking accounts with examples of consequences of not having them;
  • explain the skills necessary to interpret bank statements and operate banking accounts with examples;
  • relate financial concepts and principles to the business environment; and
  • prepare a business information manual (business plan).


An introduction to business law


  • Describe the South African legal system;
  • identify the different courts of law;
  • discuss the requirements that have to be met in order for a contract to be valid; and
  • distinguish between the different types of contracts a person can enter into.



Acts and laws for business


  • Discuss aspects of intellectual property law;
  • discuss aspects of competition law;
  • discuss legislation applicable to business and banks; and
  • discuss legislation applicable to the accounting and tax environments.


ICB Business Management 2



  • List the reasons for planning in an organisation;
  • identify different planning timeframes;
  • name the barriers to planning formulation;
  • outline the planning process;
  • analyse the different tools available for planning purposes;
  • set well-formulated goals for an organisation; and
  • distinguish between the different types of plans an organisation could implement.


Decision making


  • Discuss the importance of decision-making in an organisation;
  • explain the difference between problem-defining and problem-solving;
  • outline the steps in the decision-making process;
  • identify the different types of managerial decisions;
  • distinguish between the different conditions under which decisions can be taken;
  • describe how decisions are taken in groups;
  • compare the formal decision techniques; and
  • contrast the decision-making tools at the disposal of a manager.




  • Compare the different organisational structures;
  • list the principles of organisation;
  • outline the delegation process;
  • distinguish between job design, job enrichment and job characteristics; and
  • demonstrate an understanding of the principle of ‘authority’ in an organisation.



Leadership and motivation


  • Define the term ‘leadership’;
  • contrast the different leadership theories;
  • identify contemporary leadership perspectives;
  • explain the link between leadership and organisation-political behaviour;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the needs of the individual in an organisation;
  • describe how to handle groups and teams;
  • analyse the motivation process;
  • define the term ‘motivation’;
  • compare the different motivation theories;
  • recognise the relationship between money and motivation; and
  • discuss where motivation originates from.




  • Demonstrate an understanding of the nature and importance of control in an organisation;
  • outline the control process;
  • describe which areas in a business controls should focus;
  • distinguish between the different levels of control; and
  • list the characteristics of an effective control system.



Introduction to ecomonics


  • Define economics;
  • describe the economic environment in which an organisation functions;
  • classify and explain economics as a science;
  • explain the basic economic problem;
  • differentiate between microeconomics and macroeconomics;
  • explain the micro and macroeconomic and operational environments applicable to an organisation;
  • distinguish between needs, wants and demand;
  • discuss and classify the hierarchy of human needs;
  • define and calculate opportunity cost;
  • illustrate and interpret a production possibility curve;
  • demonstrate the relationship between production and cost;
  • identify and discuss the problems flowing from the basic economic problem;
  • indicate why you should study economics; and
  • describe the main theories and approaches used to examine the economy.


Economic systems and how the economy works


  • Discuss how the different economic systems attempt to solve the basic economic problem and questions arising from it;
  • discuss the various economic systems meaningfully;
  • know the advantages and disadvantages of each system;
  • know the similarities and differences between the systems;
  • identify South Africa’s current economic system;
  • give an opinion on the ‘ideal’ economic system;
  • distinguish between households and businesses and show how their activities interrelate;
  • describe the  role  of  government  and  show  how  it  interacts  with  households  and businesses;
  • describe the  role  of  the  foreign  sector  and  show  how  it  interacts  with  the  domestic economy; and
  • describe where and how the financial sector fits into the entire economic cycle.



The monetary sector, public sector and foreign sector


  • Explain the origin and functions of money;
  • discuss the requirements of money;


  • discuss the instruments of monetary policy;
  • discuss the transmission mechanism;
  • fully explain equilibrium in the money market;
  • discuss various financial intermediaries;
  • discuss the reasons for and the nature of government intervention;
  • describe regulation in the media economy;
  • explain the role of tax as a fiscal policy instrument;
  • discuss loans and expenditure as fiscal instruments;
  • explain why there has to be co-ordination between fiscal policy and monetary policy;
  • explain what international trade is and what it includes;
  • place the present world economy in historical perspective;
  • give reasons why international trade takes place;
  • explain the difference between comparative and absolute advantage; and
  • explain the advantages of international trade.


The economic cycle, growth, development and forecasts


  • Graphically depict the consumption function and interpret the income expenditure diagram;
  • explain the relationship between expenditure and savings;
  • show the relationship between the interest rate and the level of investment;
  • discuss finance, valuation and investment in the economy;
  • explain the working of the multiplier effect;
  • evaluate the effect of government expenditure and taxes on the economy;
  • identify the effect of the foreign sector on the economy;
  • calculate the multiplier; and
  • understand the effect of the exchange rate and interest rates on the economy.





ICB Business Management 3

Introduction to strategic management


  • Define and evaluate strategic management;
  • describe and explain the advantages of systematic corporate strategic planning;
  • appraise the strategic management process;
  • describe and explain the key elements /steps in the corporate strategic planning process;
  • examine the different levels of strategy and the characteristics of strategic as compared to tactical decisions and management;
  • analyse and assess the corporate planning process in different organisational contexts;
  • describe the role of the key individuals involved in the strategic management process;
  • provide a critical overview of the building blocks of the strategic management process;
  • describe the various levels of strategic management;
  • appraise the relationship between strategy and competence; and
  • analyse the importance of stakeholders on the strategies employed by companies.


The significance and progression of international business


  • Examine the changing nature of the international business  environment  by  critically analysing the dynamic nature of this environment as an important source of  major business opportunities;
  • identify the reasons for ‘going global’;
  • discuss various similarities between domestic and international business;
  • identify and discuss various differences between international and domestic business;
  • examine ‘degree of involvement’ by analysing two main  approaches  –  classification structure of Howard Perlmutter (four types of attitudes that influence internationalisation) and the stages approach; and
  • demonstrate an understanding of the new age transnational approach.


Understanding international trade


  • Examine the various classification of share in world trade;
  • analyse and discuss the Big Four global economies;
  • discuss the methods available to claasify the world in international trade;
  • examine the reasons for global trade and critique the measurement thereof;
  • compare and contrast the various types of barriers to international trade, including tariffs, nontariffs, dumping and anti-dumping, and other hurdles to world trade;
  • compare and contrast the role and function of various global institutions such as the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank;
  • comment on the purpose of trade blocs and compare and contrast various trade blocs currently in place, including the European Union (EU), BRICS countries, SADC countries and the South African Customs Union (SACU); and
  • critically analyse the benefits and obstacles posed by global trading blocs.


Analysing the macro-environmental matrix


  • Examine the importance of environmental scanning;
  • contrast the methods used in environmental scanning;
  • analyse the various sources of information;
  • compare and contrast the major macro-environmental dynamics; and
  • analyse and examine the concept of a competitive analysis.


Global business strategy


  • Analyse and discuss the planning framework, approaches to planning, benefits of planning, and the difficulties of planning in international markets;
  • explain and examine the Ansoff growth matrix;
  • discuss the key strategic decision areas;
  • compare and discuss all elements of international strategy and organisational dynamics;
  • elaborate on the components of international strategy and competition;
  • explain the significance of international strategy and level of economic development; and
  • examine and analyse the capital requirements associated with global business strategy.


International organisational culture and structures


  • Analyse Hofstede’s (1997) definition of culture;
  • discuss and comment on the five cultural dimensions as presented by Hofstede;
  • summarise the characteristics of culture;
  • explain the differences and similarities between national culture and organisational culture;
  • discuss the concept of cultural diversity and indicate reasons for intercultural failures;
  • examine international organisational structure in the form of  international  teams  and elaborate further on how culture impacts on this type of international organisational structure;
  • draw a  comparison  between  the  various  leadership  styles  across  the  world  whilst considering the impact of domestic culture;
  • discuss the concept of international communication and its associated elements;
  • develop a strategic cultural diversity plan;
  • become culturally intelligent and develop intercultural skills;
  • analyse the importance of expatriates and diversity management; and
  • comment on the convergence of cultures theory.



International strategy: joint ventures


  • Discuss the concept of cooperation as a strategy for international business;
  • examine the opportunities presented by the strategy of international joint ventures;
  • contrast and compare the various forms of joint ventures;
  • critically discuss the complexity associated with joint ventures;
  • analyse the various factors that are deemed critical in order for a joint venture to succeed;
  • discuss the impact of culture on the formation of a joint venture;
  • compare and contrast leadership vs. motivation in respect of joint ventures;
  • define and discuss policy development and joint ventures;
  • analyse how planning is affected when forming a joint venture; and
  • discuss the role of trust and how to develop trust in joint ventures.



Entry strategies and decisions


  • Discuss the concept of choice of entry;
  • examine and  differentiate  between  the  different  categories  of  exporting,  overseas manufacturing and ownership;
  • critically discuss the nature of franchising;
  • contrast and compare the various factors that impact on the selection of an entry route;
  • critically discuss the independent approach to entry decision-making; and
  • critically discuss the idiosyncratic approach to entry decision-making.


ICB Financial Management and Control

An introduction to information systems


  • The ability to recognise the value of information and information systems in organisations;
  • discuss the  reasons  why  organisations  are  increasingly  becoming  dependent  on information systems;
  • outline the characteristics of an efficient information system;
  • identify different types of information systems in an organisation and explain the integration of these systems;
  • identify the information system requirements for the different levels within an organisation; and
  • discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various information systems.



Management information systems


  • Define and state the purpose of management information;
  • describe the features of useful management information;
  • describe the role of information in executing the four functions of management; and
  • highlight emerging trends in information systems;
  • describe information technology as an enabler of change;
  • explain the need for effective internal control over transactions;
  • describe the purpose and nature of a computerised information system;
  • explain how computerised accounting systems can assist management accountants with planning and decision-making; and
  • identify the key features, functions and benefits of computerised information systems.



An introduction to auditing


  • Explain the nature of an audit;
  • explain the purpose of an audit, including the advantages and disadvantages of an audit;
  • explain the nature of accounting records, including proper records;
  • explain the concepts of true and fair presentation, and reasonable assurance;
  • explain the regulations governing the appointment, removal and resignation of auditors;
  • describe the duties of auditors;
  • describe the rights of auditors;
  • explain the liability of auditors under contract and negligence to clients;
  • explain the liability of auditors to third parties;
  • describe the objectives of an internal control system;
  • explain the importance of internal control to auditors;
  • discuss the fundamental principles an auditor should adhere to including  integrity, objectivity, professional confidence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour;
  • describe the detailed requirements – and application of professional ethics – in the context of integrity, objectivity and independence;
  • explain the structure of the auditing profession; and


  • explain the scope of ISAs.


The role and function of the financial manager


  • Explain the primary roles of the financial manager, namely performing financial analysis and planning, making investment decisions and making financing decisions;
  • demonstrate how a financial manager balances the timing of returns and cash distributions to equity participants in lieu of prevalent and pending risks;
  • critically evaluate the ethical considerations that underlie a financial manager’s conduct; and
  • describe the agency problem and the associated risk posed by a financial manager to the corporate entity that it purports to serve.


Material and inventory control


  • Identify appropriate cost centres and elements of costs;
  • explain what is meant by ‘stockpiling’;
  • explain how inventory costs can be controlled in the most efficient way;
  • illustrate how  the  most  economical  ordering  quantity  for  items  of  inventory  can  be ascertained;
  • determine the reorder point and safety stock values for items of inventory;
  • describe the just-in-time (JIT) system of inventory control.
  • describe the real costs of inventory (e.g. purchasing costs, ordering costs, stock-out costs and quality costs);
  • explain the concept of ‘shrinkage’ and demonstrate how shrinkage can be minimised;
  • demonstrate how inventory can be valued according to the FIFO or weighted average method of valuation; and
  • calculate gross margins when using different valuation methods for closing inventory.



Labour cost control


  • Describe recruitment  practices  and  payroll  administration  as  elements  of  personnel management;
  • explain the importance of proper administration of payroll records; and
  • discuss the importance of effective performance management in an organisation.



Allocating and controlling overheads


  • Record and analyse information with respect to allocation, apportionment and absorption of overhead costs using direct and step methods;
  • record and analyse information with respect to allocation, apportionment and absorption of overhead costs using the linear algebraic method; and
  • establish a predetermined overhead rate and calculate under/over-applied manufacturing overhead.


Job costing


  • Describe the characteristics of job costing;
  • calculate unit costs using job costing;
  • identify the differences between job costing and process costing;
  • describe the steps involved in job costing;
  • identify overhead application rates in a job costing environment;
  • calculate the cost of a job;
  • calculate and analyse the profit or loss of a job;
  • identify and calculate over- or under-absorbed overheads;
  • calculate the cost of a job taking into account work-in-process and finished goods;
  • identify and complete a job order cost sheet;
  • account for normal and abnormal wastage;
  • prepare relevant ledger accounts for a job costing system;
  • prepare manufacturing accounts; and
  • distinguish between work-in-process and finished goods in a job costing environment.



Contract costing


  • Define contract costing;
  • describe common  terms  used  in  contract  accounting,  including  contract  price,  total estimated;
  • Identify and calculate costs and profit, certified and uncertified work, as well as retention money;
  • differentiate between fixed price and cost plus products;
  • examine the reasons for work being certified;
  • describe how the contract accounting system works;
  • prepare a contract account (WIP) in the general ledger;
  • prepare the general ledger accounts under the completed contract method;
  • prepare the general ledger accounts under the percentage-of-completion method;
  • prepare contract accounts when holding back a reserve;
  • outline the accounting processes to account for the disposal of unsuitable materials, plant, etc.; and
  • apply the concept of prudence in the recording process when it appears that a loss is going to be made during the course of a contract.