Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Small Business)

Three equal parts to this course - learning broad management skills then skills more related to an entrepreneurial approach to small business, and finally the application of that learning to the "real" world.

Course Code: VBS001
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Broad based Management and Small Business Training in the One Course

  • Learn about management, marketing and communications
  • Learn about small business
  • Combine these skills and discover opportunities for employment and business in small business
  • 900 hour, self paced practical course

This is a flexible, relevant course for those wanting to train to move into supervisory or managerial positions.

....for Entrepreneurs, Small Businessmen, or anyone seeking to improve their career prospects in the world of Commerce.


This course offers core study options (including Office Practice, Management, Business Operations and Marketing Foundations), as well as specialist subjects, which focus on those areas highly applicable to small business. These are: Bookkeeping I (the successful completion of which enables you to join the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers), Entrepreneurship and Advertising and Promotions. In addition, this course offers further specialisation specific to your field of interest, in the form of an Industry Project.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Small Business).
 Business Operations VBS006
 Management VBS105
 Marketing Foundations VBS109
 Office Practices VBS102
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Bookkeeping Foundations (Bookkeeping I) BBS103
 Advertising and Promotions BBS202
 Entrepreneurship BBS204
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 5 modules.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Industry Project II BIP001
 Research Project I BGN102
 Workshop I BGN103
 Workshop II BGN203

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Small Business) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


Office Practices

This course is important for any small business. Whatever your business is, there will always be a need for some amount of office work. It is important you know how to make decisions about the equipment, materials and procedures that you use to manage the business from the office, whether it's as modest as a small desk at home; or a more substantial room at the back of a workshop.
The course consists in eight lessons.

  1.     The Modern Office
  2.     Communication Systems
  3.     Interpersonal Communications
  4.     Phone Skills
  5.     Writing Letters and Other Documents
  6.     Computer Applications
  7.     Office Organisation and Procedures
  8.     Health and Safety in the Office

Business Operations

Start by learning the basics to get organised better in any business.

This course provide you with the foundation for running any type of business.

The things you learn in this module will be built on and expanded through both modules that follow, and through your experience beyond the course.
There are 6 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction - business law, types of businesses, starting a business 
  2. Finance - Liquidity, the money market, terminology, insurance
  3. Financial Records  - Basic Bookkeeping procedures, cash flow
  4. Financial Management  - Taxation, costing, budgeting, investing
  5. Business Planning Developing a 12 month business plan.  
  6.  Mistakes to avoid - Reasons for business failures, profitability
        improving productivity


Make sure your management style is grounded in the 'tried and true'. This course outlines management theories and procedures, problem solving and decision making tactics, staff management, supervision, recruitment and workplace health and safety.
Developed by professionals with a substantial amount of industry experience, it is the perfect foundation for a successful career.

There are 6 lessons as follows:

  1.     Introduction & Organizational Structures
  2.     Management Theories & Procedures
  3.     Problem Solving & Decision Making
  4.     Management Styles & External Influences
  5.     Employing People & Interview Skills
  6.     Staff Management

Marketing Foundations

Marketing is a weak point for many otherwise good small businesses.
A large proportion of people who start small businesses are very good at providing the products or services; but their business struggles because they simply don't get enough customers.
To avoid such a scenario, it is essential to have a broad understanding of marketing, and specific skills such as writing advertisements, undertaking market research, developing an appropriate marketing plan and selling. The course consists in ten lessons, as follows:

  1. Marketing and the Business -What is marketing, and its significance, Considering alternative approaches to business & marketing, Alternative enterprises (eg. goods or services based, sole proprietor or partnership etc).
  2. Scope of Marketing -Understanding basic economics (eg. supply & demand); the difference between the potential market, available market, target market, and penetrated market for a product/service of your choice; Different advertising approaches, Controlling Growth, Improving Results in Business, etc
  3. Target Marketing -Understanding the market place; Stages that sellers move through in their approach to a market, What is targeting, Advantages of target marketing as compared to mass marketing and product-differentiated marketing
  4. The Marketing Mix and Managing the Marketing Effort -Product, price, place, and promotion; Affects and interactions between marketing and other operations of a business.
  5. Product Presentation and Packaging -Importance of product knowledge, Core, tangible and augmented products; Differences in packaging & presentation for different products.
  6. Promotion -Communication skills, Merchandising, Shop Floor Layout, Displaying Products, Signs, Understanding Selling and Increasing Sales, Sales Methods, Publicity Marketing, Structuring an Advertisement or Promotion, Advertising budgets, etc
  7. Product Pricing and Distribution -Pricing, Profitability Ratio, Increasing Turnover, etc
  8. Customer Service -Methods of assessing customer satisfaction; Significance of Customer Service; Different types of customers in the market place, and how best to approach each; Difference between selling, publicising, marketing and advertising, etc
  9. Market Research -The research process, What to research, Surveys, Developing and conducting a market research program, where to find useful statistics,
  10. Organisations - Structures and Roles Business law; Financial Management, Business Structures, Business terminology, etc.

Bookkeeping I

Every small business manager needs to manage their finances. There are legal requirements to do so; but even more important, businesses don't survive if the money being spent exceeds the money being taken. The course consists of thirteen lessons, as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Balance Sheet
  3. Analysing and Designing  Accounting Systems
  4. The Double Entry Recording Process
  5. Cash Receipts and Cash Payments Journal
  6. Credit Fees and Purchases Journal
  7. The General Journal
  8. Closing the Ledger
  9. Profit and Loss Statement
  10. Depreciation on Non-current Assets
  11. Profit Determination and Balance Day Adjustments
  12. Cash Control:  Bank Reconciliation and Petty Cash
  13. Cash Control: Budgeting


There are 10 lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Scope & Nature of Entrepreneurship
  2. Is Entrepreneurship Right for You?
  3. Assessing opportunities
  4. The Role of Market Research
  5. Intellectual Property
  6. Legal & Ethical Concerns
  7. Operating a Business
  8. The Business and Financial Plan
  9. Marketing
  10. Launching a Venture

Advertising and Promotions

This course contains ten lessons, outlined below:

  1. Analysing the Market
  2. Target Marketing
  3. Display and Display Techniques
  4. Advertising and Promotions Strategy
  5. New Product Development
  6. Sales Techniques – General
  7. Writing Advertisements
  8. Electronic Marketing -Phone/ mobile  and Email
  9. Direct Mailing
  10. Promotion through Exhibitions and Shows

Industry Project or Work Experience

This is the final requirement that you must satisfy before receiving your award.   There are two options available to you to satisfy this requirement. If you work in the industry, you may be given credit for this requirement by simply submitting appropriate references from an employer or colleagues. If you do not work in the industry, this requirement can be satisfied through either voluntary work or studying formal subjects which we offer such as Workplace Projects or Research Projects. It will not be a problem to do this part of the course; whatever your situation.


To be awarded this advanced certificate, you need to complete all assignments and one exam each, for the seven core and elective modules. If your first attempt at any of these things is unsatisfactory, you will be given opportunities to try again.

After completing these requirements, you also need to undertake Workplace or Industry Oriented requirements as outlined below:

Start A Business, or Work in Business Management

  • What is Successful?
  • What is the future?
  • How to make money?
  • How to improve?
  • How to sell?

Whatever your need, you can learn how to move forward in the business world through this course. If you have a particular area of interest and would like some Free advice first, take advantage of our free Business Advice Service -click here

Starting a Business Tips from our Principal: John Mason

Any one starting a new business has to deal with five things -

  1. Getting a product that can be sold.
  2. Establishing systems to manage the business.
  3. Finding potential customers.
  4. Selling to those potential customers.
  5. Delivering the product.

This may be a simplistic view of business, but it is a very helpful way of understanding what needs to be done, and doing it properly.

Think of these as the “five key areas of business”.

Businesses Don’t Need to Fail
It is often said that many new businesses fail. Different figures are quoted indicating that approximately 10% of new businesses fail.  They usually fail for one reason - because they don’t attend to all five areas of concern above.

It may be that they don’t deal with all of these things because they do not have sufficient resources, for example:

  • Getting a product that can be sold – They choose a product that is already sold well by another large and well-established company. They can’t compete financially or offer comparable service.
  • Establishing systems to manage the business – They are so busy looking at the product and finding customers that they don’t also take an overview of how they are going to run the business effectively and efficiently.
  • Finding potential customers – They can’t afford the marketing required to reach their potential clients and don’t know enough about how they can market for free to do so.
  • Selling to those potential customers – They haven’t conducted enough market research to see who they can sell to. For example by advertising their skateboards and roller skates in Saga magazine (a magazine for over 60s). This may be a massive generalisation, there may be people over 60 who like to skateboard, but the demographic would suggest that their market is likely to be  better aimed at children, teenagers and those in the early 20s.
  • Delivering the product – They may not have taken postage charges into account when pricing their product. They may find that other similar businesses are offering free delivery and they can’t afford to. And so on.....

These are just some examples of where potential businesses may fail simply because they haven’t really considered some things in enough detail.   These things may not be massive, they may only be small – for example – not including the cost of free delivery in their product cost, but over time that can seriously affect how much (if any) profit they are making.

Imagine you are selling pens for a cult television series, such as Doctor Who or Thunderbirds. The pens cost you £1 to buy. You are selling them for £1.50.  It costs you 30 pence to post the product. Leaving you 20 pence profit per item (you think). You haven’t taken into account the cost of actually packaging the item, which actually costs you 10p. That leaves you 10p profit. But what about your time, getting the order off the internet or in the post, packaging the pen, writing the customers address on the package, going to the post office at the end of the day to post it, buying the stamps, writing the order in your accounts, keeping track of stock you have available, paying for premises if you have them, paying for other staff members, advertising costs, the cost of your website. The list goes on and all of that has to be funded in 10p per pen. Can you see my point?

Some businesses don’t attend to these things because they don’t have the resources to deal with the things that need doing. For example, it is not good enough to develop a fantastic product and expect the marketing, sales, customer service and other aspects to just look after themselves.

When starting a business, the business men/women involved need to be aware of the resources they have at their disposal.  These resources may include –

  • Time
  • Networks
  • Equipment
  • Money
  • Property etc.

Deciding on the product may well be the first step in starting any business; but that decision must be tempered with an awareness of the systems required to manage that product, the market potential of that product, how well you will be able to sell that product and what is required to deliver that product to customers.  If your product is not matched with your capacity to handle it; you may well be entering a business doomed to failure.


More about the school:

  • Established in 1979
  • Offices in both Australia and the UK
  • We are stable and sustainable.  In a world where many institutions are subject to financial and political pressures, ours is a fully independent and privately owned education system
  • Our mantra has always been to make the students learning our top priority -to this end, access to tutors via email and phone is unrestricted and much easier than through many other colleges.
  • We collect feedback from students and industry, and respond with continual updating of course notes (We often hear of other unis and colleges handing out notes that have remained unchanged for decades).
  • Courses are unique -we write them, and offer through a small select network of affiliated colleges in 5 countries.
  • A faculty of over 40 academics -all have university degrees or degree equivalent qualifications, plus significant industry experience; many have Masters degrees or higher qualifications -compare this with other schools
  • We believe you cannot take short cuts if you want a "quality" education.  This is why our courses are often longer than elsewhere; but it is also why our graduates learn better, retain what they learn for longer, and are often more successful after they graduate.
  • We believe strongly in the need for Diversity in education. We have a long history and highly respected track record among the sort of people who are bringing about change and innovation around the world. ACS courses are not for everyone; but what a boring world it would be if everyone studied the same thing in the same education system. Humanity advances by having a diversity of opinions and lots of variety in the way people think about and see things.
    •  Our qualification system offers more options and flexibility than most
    • "Standardised curriculum tends to produce clones; but diversity produces creativity and innovation" 



Graduates from this course will have a significantly enhanced ability to manage a successful business.
You will understand business far better, particularly the important areas of finance and marketing which are more common areas that small businesses fail.

Whether you are running your own business or managing a business for someone else; your ability to identify and respond to problems or potential risks will have grown.

What you learn will forge in you a different way of looking at business. You should see opportunities you may not have noticed before; and if you engage with the business world in the way this course leads you to do, your knowledge, understanding and capability to perform in small business will continue to grow long after the course is over.

  • Develop Your Business Ideas
  • Make a Business Plan
  • Small Business, Online Business, Retail, Service, Production
  • Start any type of Small business here


Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner.
John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

Christine Todd

University lecturer, businesswoman, photographer, consultant and sustainability expert; with over 40 years industry experience
B.A., M.Plan.Prac., M.A.(Social).
An expert in planning, with years of practical experience in permaculture.

David Crothers

Extensive international experience in business and finance. Chartered Accountant with 20 years experience in corporate and financial roles. David has a FCA, GAICD, B.Sc.Econ (Hons), Cert IV TAA.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Gaynor Hartley

Dip.Hort.Sc., Cert.Tiss.Cult., MAIH

Sarah Pirecki

A passionate advocate for animal health and welfare. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience majoring in Animal Health and Disease and is currently completing a Diploma of Project Management. She has a wide range of experience working in agricultural settings, veterinary nursing, assistance dog raising, and animal education.

Michael Brugman

Mike is a graduate of Rhodes University and has experience in the Earth Science field. His working experience includes working as a consultant in geology, environmental and atmospheric science.

More recently he has been focused on research and academia including research interests in areas such as air quality and carbon emissions.

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