Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

Background to the Certificate IV

The educational pathway for Bookkeepers needs to be appreciated and seen as separate to that of the Accounting stream as the background, needs and aspirations of Bookkeepers varies significantly from that of Accountants. For too often Bookkeepers have been grouped with Accountants for insurance, business models and training when it is clear that the needs of a Bookkeeper are significantly different to those of an Accountant in much the same way that a Nurse is different from a Doctor.

2004 was the first release of the Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping) with further updates in 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2017. The Certificate IV in Bookkeeping was brought in to meet the educational requirements for those seeking to be a BAS Agent under the TASA 2009 act. The review of 2015 identified that core bookkeeping skills were not being covered in the qualification but changes were not possible under the ASQA guidelines as it would make the qualification too similar to the Certificate IV in Accounting.

The review in 2017 took the strong recommendation of ICB and other Associations that the job outcome of the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping and the Certificate IV in Accounting were the same and that the qualifications should be merged.

FNS40217 Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping is the current qualification for Bookkeepers.

The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) where Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping sits as a Level 4 is listed below.

AQF LevelDescriptionQualificationsTime
Level 1 Graduates at this level have knowledge and skills for initial work and / or community engagement.
  • Certificate I
  • 6 Months to 1 Year
Level 2 Graduates at this level have knowledge and skills for work in a defined context.
  • Certificate II
  • 6 Months to 1 Year
Level 3 Graduates at this level have theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for work.
  • Certificate III
  • 1 to 2 Years
Level 4 Graduates at this level have theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for specialised skilled work.
  • Certificate IV
  • 6 Months to 2 Years
Level 5 Graduates at this level have specialised knowledge and skills for skilled paraprofessional work.
  • Diploma
  • 1 to 2 Years
Level 6 Graduates at this level have broad knowledge and skills for highly skilled paraprofessional work.
  • Associate Degree
  • Advanced Diploma
  • 1.5 to 2 Years
Level 7 Graduates at this level have broad and coherent knowledge and skills for professional work.
  • Bachelor Degree
  • 3 to 4 Years
Level 8 Graduates at this level have advanced knowledge and skills for highly skilled professional work
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Bachelor Degree with Honours
  • 1 to 2 Years
  • 6 Months to 1 Year
  • 1 Year
Level 9 Graduates at this level have specialised knowledge and skills for research or professional practice
  • Masters degree (Extended)
  • Masters Degree (Coursework)
  • Masters Degree (Research)
  • 3 to 4 Years
  • 1 to 2 Years
Level 10 Graduates at this level have systematic and critical understanding of a complex field of learning, and specialised research skills for the advancement of learning or professional practice
  • Doctoral Degree
  • 3 to 4 Years

Source: Wikipedia - Australian Qualifications Framework

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