ACCA March 2019 Exam Tips

ACCA March 2019 Exam Tips

ACCA Applied Skills Level March 2019 Exam Tips

Performance Management (PM) March 2019 Exam Tips

There is no longer any formal reading and planning time at the start of this exam. However, you are strongly advised to plan answers to section C before you start to write. Always ensure you make reference to the scenario in your answer. The exam will be approximately 40% calculation and 60% discussion, meaning it is not sufficient to be able to perform all if the calculations. Interpretations and application are crucial, especially in section C.

when it comes to sections A & B the best advice is to study all the areas of the syllabus.
  • Areas expected to be tested in section C include:
  • Budgetary systems.
  • Planning & operational variances.
  • Mixed and yield variances.
  • Evaluation of the company performance (either as a whole or a divisional basis).
This paper is also called PM so maybe it would be wise to prepare to evaluate some performance!

Taxation (TX -UK) March 2019 Exam Tips

Expect at least a couple of the OTs to be devoted to the admin of income tax and corporation tax. That means you must be comfortable with :
  • Due dates for payment of income tax (payment on account).
  • Due dates for payment of corporation tax (installments).
  • Filing dates for both taxes.
  • Penalties and interest for late payments and returns.
Also, expect the following topics:
  • VAT rules on registration, impairment loss (bad debt) relief, and SME schemes relating to cash accounting, annual accounting, and flat-rate schemes.
  • Inheritance tax due on lifetime transfers both in the donor’s life and on death.
  • Statutory residence tests for individuals.
  • Identification of groups of companies for corporate tax loss reliefs and gains.
  • Trading loss reliefs for both companies and sole traders.
Section B Qs will be similar to section A only longer!
At least 50% of your revision time has to be spent answering section C questions in the practice and revision kit to help build up confidence. Remember to learn your income tax and corporation tax pro formats. Calculations, which require no more than 2/3 entries into your calculator, can be included on the face of your pro formats (time apportioning a salary). More complex calculations (company car benefits) need separate workings, which are properly referenced (W1, W2, etc) and have a heading.
In both numerical and narrative answers leave plenty of space on the page. Well-spaced answers are easier to mark!
We know the 2 longest Qs will focus on income tax and corporation tax.
These are likely to include the following:
  • Employment benefits.
  • Property income.
  • Relief for pension contributions.
  • Adjustments to profit to arrive at trading income for both companies and sole traders.
  • Capital allowance computations.

Financial Reporting (FR) March 2019 Exam Tips

Section A will include several Qs on consolidation and interpretation of financial statements. Expect a few Qs on non-core areas like inflation and specialized entities. 
For section C one Q will cover interpretations and the other preparation of financial statements. One Q is likely to be in the context of a single company and one in the context of a group, so you could have a single company interpretation and a groups preparation or vice versa.
Accounts prep Qs may include extracts or stand-alone calculations or full statements of profit or loss and other comprehensive income and/or statement of financial position.
Both questions will cover the accounting for items from other areas of the syllabus.
There may be a short separate part with a statement of changes in equity, statement of cash flows extract, earnings per share calculation or linked written topic.
A consolidation Q would include one subsidiary and often an associate, with adjustments, eg fair values, deferred/contingent consideration, PUP on inventories/PPE, intragroup trading and balances, goods/cash in transit.
A single entity Q could be prep from a trial balance or restatement of given financial statements with the usual adjustments for depreciation, revaluation and current/deferred tax, plus a mix of adjustments on other syllabus areas (eg leases, substance over form issues, financial instruments, share issues, government grants, inventory valuation, revenue recognition or construction contracts).

Audit & Assurance (AA) March 2019 Exam Tips

In section A each mini-case will test single topic areas of the syllabus. That said expect section A to focus on syllabus areas A and E.
The majority of marks in the three questions in section B will test syllabus areas B, C and/or D.
Areas expected to be tested in questions 16 and 18 include:

  • Audit planning.
  • Audit risk (identification & explanation of audit risk from a scenario and explanation of the auditor’s response to each risk).
  • Internal Audit.
  • Internal controls (identification and explanation of deficiencies in internal control and the recommendation of suitable internal controls or description of tests of controls).
  • Audit procedures (both substantive procedures and tests of controls).
Pay attention to the verbs used in the question as these indicate the marks available. For example, the verb ‘explain’ requires a sentence and will score one mark if properly explained. Whereas the verb ‘list’ simply requires you to list out information with no further explanation and will score 0.5 marks per point.

Financial Management (FM) March 2019 Exam Tips

In section A a good number of Qs will test your understanding of financial management and objectives (ratio analysis, the concept of shareholder wealth) as well as the economic environment and financial institutions topics (financial intermediation, fiscal and monetary policies). The efficient market hypothesis is likely to be tested here too.
In section B areas expected to be commonly tested are working capital management (operating cycle, the impact of a change in credit period or accepting a factor’s offer), business or security valuations (methods of valuation), and financial risk management (currency risk, interest rate risk).
The two section C questions will focus mainly on syllabus sections C, D and E. Section C is working capital management, section D is investment appraisal and is likely to feature NPV with inflation and tax. section E is business finance – either an evaluation of financing options (think interest coverage & gearing ratios) or a cost of capital and analysis.

ACCA Essential Level March 2019 Exam Tips

Strategic Business Reporting (SBR) March 2019 Exam Tips

It’s vital you read the examiner’s approach article on the ACCA website.
The first Q will be based on group accounting and may include complications such as a foreign subsidiary, discounted activities, disposals and/or acquisitions. Beware that this Q may test consolidated statements of cash flows as was the case in December 2018.
The second Q will cover the reporting and ethical implications in a given scenario. Make sure you consider any threats to the fundamental principles of ACCA’s Code of Ethics and Conduct in your answer.
Section B will always include a Q or part-question involving the analysis or appraisal of information from the perspective of a stakeholder. In December 2018 exam this involved explaining the nature of tax accounting in the financial statements to an investor. Even if this sounds daunting, make sure you have a go at answering the question.

Current issues could be examined in either section A or B. The Conceptual Framework and associated exposure draft have featured significantly in both the September and December 2018 exams – be prepared for this to be the case in March 2019 too.

Strategic Business Leader (SBL) March 2019 Exam Tips

The SBL exam will focus on one main organization and all the question requirements will relate to this organization. You may have to take a variety of roles, which can be internal or external. You will also be required to respond to a variety of people within the organization.
All the questions are compulsory and there will be 80 technical and 20 professional skills mark up for grabs.
ACCA recommends spending around 40 minutes reading, planning and interpreting the requirements and the information/exhibits provided. That then leaves you 2.5 minutes per mark on offer, based on the fact that you pick up the professional marks while attempting the 80 technical marks on offer.
The SBL syllabus consists of the following areas:
  1. Leadership.
  2. Governance.
  3. Strategy.
  4. Risk.
  5. Technology & data analytics.
  6. Organizational control & audit.
  7. Finance in planning & decision making.
  8. Innovation, performance excellence & change management.
  9. Professional skills.

  • ACCA Optional Level March 2019 Exam Tips

    Advanced Financial Management (AFM) March 2019 Exam Tips

    From September 2018 every exam will have questions which have a focus on section B of the syllabus (advanced investment appraisal) and section E (treasury and advanced risk management techniques). These syllabus areas are therefore high priority areas for your revision.
  • For Q1, section A questions are often based on core syllabus areas such as project appraisal (domestic & overseas), business valuations and business/financial reorganizations. These areas often include the cost of capital calculations. Risk management may also feature in a number of different ways – value at risk, real options, hedging, risk mapping.
    Q2-3, section B think risk management (currency or interest rate, dividend policy and general financing issues, and real options.

    Advanced Performance Management (APM) March 2019 Exam Tips

    From September 2018 Q1 focused on a range of issues from syllabus areas A (strategic planning & control), section C (performance measurement systems & design), and section D (strategic performance measurement).
    In recent exams, Q1 has often required linking a business’s mission to its performance objectives using the concept of CSFs and KPIs. You may well have to critique and recommend improvements to performance reports and the balanced scorecard could well be tested in this concept.
    The assessment of performance is also likely to to be tested and this could easily include benchmarking as a theme.
    Financial performance measures (ROCE/RI/EVA) are also likely to be commonly examined in Q1 but don’t neglect non-financial issues from syllabus section D, such as quality management and reward systems.

    From September 2018 one of the section B questions will come from syllabus section E.
    In section B commonly tested areas include:
    • Quality management.
    • Information reporting (eg big data, lean information).
    • The application of strategic models (such as PEST, Porter’s 5 Forces, the value chain).
    • HR framework (eg reward & appraisal systems).
    • Risk management.
    • Environmental management accounting.
    • Advanced Taxation UK (ATX) March 2019 Exam Tips

      The exam will comprise of 2 compulsory questions in section A. One of these Qs will focus on personal tax issues and the other will focus on corporate tax issues. In Q1 there will be 4 professional skills marks and in section A there will be 5 marks on ethics.
      Topics expected to see are:
      • Groups of companies involving overseas aspects and losses.
      • Unincorporated business particularly loss relief or involving a partnership or basis period rules.
      • CGT v IHT, including the availability of reliefs.
      • Overseas aspects of income tax, G=CGT, IHT or corporation tax.
      • Personal service company.
      • Share schemes.
      • Company purchase of own shares or liquidations.
      • Enterprise investment schemes/Seed EIS/venture capital trusts.
      • Takeovers.
      • VAT – partial exemption or land and buildings or transfer of a going concern or overseas transactions.
      • Transfer of trade v sale of a subsidiary.
      • Disincorporation relief.
      • Pension contributions.
      • Patent box, research, and development expenditure.

      Advanced Audit & Assurance (AAA) March 2019 Exam Tips

      By now you should have a better idea of what is expected – the most recent AAA exams have contained no real surprises, although you should take a look at the presentation of the embedded email and the supporting exhibits in the case study (look at the specimen exam and past papers).
      Section A will comprise of a case study set at the planning stage of the audit. Candidates will be required to address a range of requirements from syllabus sections A, B, C, and D. You will be tackling a real-world situation where you may have to address a range of issues simultaneously in relation to planning, risk assessment, evidence gathering, and ethical and professional considerations.
      Four professional marks are available in section A – think structure, layout, and clarity.
      In section B one question will always predominantly come from syllabus section E, so be prepared to answer a question on completion, review, and reporting. There are a number of formats this question can adopt, including the assessment of a going concern, the impact of subsequent events, evaluation identified misstatements and any corresponding effect on the auditor’s report. Candidates may also be asked to critique an auditor’s report or a report which is provided to management or those charged with governance.
      The other section B question can be drawn from any other syllabus area. Just so you know syllabus section G on current issues is unlikely to form the basis of any question on its own.
      Make sure you read the 5 technical articles on exam technique, which cover ethics, risk and accounting issues.
      Information Source: PQMag

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