What the ACCA
Examiners said
Sarah Colley, FCCA
[email protected]
• Comments for each paper from examiner
• Includes key changes from June 2011 exams
• Common themes
F5 Performance Management - comments
• Basics done well including variances and budgets
• Struggled with linear programming, planning and
operational variances, pricing strategies and
classic performance management questions
• Must be able to discuss subjects, not just
perform routine calculations
F5 Performance Management – What’s new
• Backflush accounting is deleted
• Included
- Specialist cost and management accounting
- Decision making
- Standard costing and variance analysis
F7 Financial Reporting comments
• Basic areas done well on Qu 1- 3
• Weak when non standard requirement such as
cashflow extracts, complications in group accounting
• Must relate ratio comments to scenario
• Qu 4 and 5 poor, failure to refer to accounting
standards and demonstrate understanding
• Handwriting getting worse
F7 Financial Reporting – What’s new
• Syllabus largely same but some more rules
based requirements
• Will continue to test several standards within
question 4 & 5
• To ensure understanding rather than mechanics
will test in a non standard way
F8 Audit and assurance comments
• Most students are completing all 5 questions but many
leave question 1 until last
• Other strong areas, ethics, report to management,
going concern indicators
• Weaknesses include assurance, audit risk, substantive
procedures vs test of controls, audit reports,
• Layout poor and question requirement not answered
• F3 knowledge
F8 Audit and Assurance what’s new
• Nothing major, and no future changes planned
either to syllabus or exam style
F9 Financial Management - comments
• Frequently examined areas including NPV, IRR,
WACC, cost of debt, working capital management
consistently done well
• Questions on long term finance and impact of financing
on financial position never answered well
• To improve study whole syllabus including theory and
link this to techniques, try and reflect on what a
financial manager would do
F9 Financial Management – what’s new
• Addition of Islamic Finance but only at
knowledge level
• Structure of exam to stay same
• Level of questions remain same
P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics comments
• Areas done well include core corporate governance
themes, knowledge marks, time management and
organised answers
• Weak areas where tasks are 2 parts, answering
questions with verbs such as evaluate, construct and
assess, ethical reasoning task and professional marks in
Qu 1
• Must not question spot
• Must read and study the case and each question before
starting the answer
P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics – what’s new
• New name
• New content on risk:
- dynamic nature of risk assessment
- management responses to changing risk assessment
- risk appetite
- objective and subjective risk perception
- related and correlated risk
P2 Corporate Reporting comments
• Basic knowledge of IFRS, the written parts of topical
issues, cashflows and new goodwill calculation
• The question is often not answered at all or all parts
or scenario not used. Layout is weak and application
of knowledge is lacking
• To improve need to apply knowledge, understand the
principles, write better essays, do more revision and
manage stress
P2 Corporate Reporting what’s new
• IFRS 9
• IASB work programme
• IFRS for SMEs
• Reorganisations
• More group accounting in future
• Format still same, Qu 2 major theme, Qu 3
specialised industry, Qu 4 current development
with application in part b
P3 Business Analysis - comments
• Strong areas, strategic position, choice and
implementation, IT and financial analysis
• Poor areas, business process change, project
management, people and exam technique
• Practise doing questions in full to time, answer
requirement, use quantitative data provided,
rational model and the interconnections
P3 Business Analysis – what’s new
• Lots!!
• Evaluation of business forecasting models
• Establish pricing strategies including financial and
non financial factors
• Project management restructured
• Performance and reward management and
quality removed
• Pilot paper available on ACCA website
P7 Advanced Audit and Assurance - comments
• Good performance on requirements featuring
risk assessment, discussion of ethical and quality
control matters, audit procedures and factual
• Poor answers included bullet points and waffle,
with a failure to demonstrate higher level skills
• Need to learn clarified ISA and improve
application skills
P7 Advanced Audit and Assurance – what’s new
• No change on focus
• Some requirements may be embedded in
• Few requirements will be based solely on
factual knowledge
• More practical requirements
Common themes
• Time management
• Lack of reading around
• Dealing with questions in a non standard format
• Need to practise full questions to time
• Not answering question requirement
• Examining whole syllabus
• Exam based on real life situations