The recognition of IBASA by SAQA as a professional body in 2013 resulted in the creation of 3 professional grades as opposed to the previous four grades. The designations also changed. IBASA’s board approved the migration of existing members to the new grades as Business Advisor (BA), Principal Business Advisor (PBA), Certified Business Advisor (CBA):

Previous Grades NEW Grading –SAQA
Generalist Grades Specialist Grades
Grade 1 BA BA
Grade 3 PBA PBA
Grade 4 CBA CBA

IBASA’s board also approved the implementation of a new grading system with effect from 1 February, 2013. The grading system has been harmonised for both generalist and specialist grades. The final grade will be determined by the weighted score obtained in the following assessment areas.

  1. Academic qualifications
  2. Work experience as an employee, manager or owner
  3. Business Advisor experience (number of sessions, years and size of business client supported)
  4. Membership of Accredited Professional Bodies


  • Business Advisor (BA)
  • Principal Business Advisor (PBA)
  • Certified Business Advisor (CBA)
  • Micro Business (MC)
  • Small Business (SM)
  • Medium Business (ME)



Determination of Final Grades

The scores obtained by an applicant are weighted and summed up to determine the final grade. The following scoring ranges determine the final grade awarded to an applicant for both generalist and specialist.

Minimum Weighted Points 0 184 329
Maximum Weighted Points 183 328 1000
Grade Conditions Minimum CPD Points as per CPD policy Minimum CPD Points as per CPD policy
  • Minimum CPD Points as per CPD policy.
  • Prescribed Certification Examination within 12 months of qualifying
The following serves as an abridged explanation of the meaning of the grades of membership:

Grade 0 = applies to members who have not attained sufficient qualifications or business advisory experience to be graded. This grade usually applies to students or other individuals who have an interest in the profession of “Business Advisor” but have not yet commenced practice. It could also refer to an individual who has failed to supply the necessary information for any grading to be applied.

Business Advisor (BA)

1. Beginner: applies to individuals who are new and/or inexperienced business advisors. It could also apply to someone who has not supplied the IBASA with sufficient information to warrant a higher grade.
2. Intermediate: applies to individuals who have some tertiary business-related qualification, but has had little (usually less than 3 years) experience.

Principal Business Advisor (PBA)

Advanced: applies to individuals with the appropriate requisite academic experience as well as considerable work as well as business advisory experience – usually at least 5 years.

Certified Business Advisor (CBA)

Expert: applies to individuals who have all of the attributes of Grade 3 above but with one or more of the following in addition: 10 years or more business advisory experience OR an expert recognized skill (e.g. Marketing, HR, IT, Finance, Legal) OR Extensive experience (4 or more) of “Business Turn-around” interventions (proof has to be supplied) OR with proven expertise in one of the sectors (Agriculture, Manufacturing, Retail, Service and Tourism).


an honorary grade conferred on an individual by the IBASA board in recognition of substantial contribution made to the SMME sector and/or Business Advisor profession.