ACCA Syllabus and Papers – Course Details Overview

ACCA Syllabus and Papers – Course Details Overview

ACCA Syllabus Overview

ACCA is the short form of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. It was established as an institute in 1904 that offers globally recognized certification in accounting.  Now, this international accounting organization has plenty of members and students in many countries all over the country. Hence, ACCA certification is a vital qualification for aspiring accountants, with which they can achieve advanced diplomas or degrees in professional accounting from various prestigious institutions in the world.

ACCA syllabus is made up of 14 examinations, among which 9 are of fundamental level and the rest 5 need to be completed for getting the certification. In this syllabus, 3 papers P1, P2, and P3 are compulsory for all students while they can choose any 2 among the optional papers P4, P5, P6, and P7. It trains students for a long and successful career, as they learn to take up jobs even as senior managers through these exams.  The communication skills of students are also honed through these 14 exams, to make them competent for all jobs.

ACCA Syllabus have three stages as mentioned below:

Applied Knowledge stage includes three exams as:

1) Accountant in Business AB(F1).
2) Management Accounting (ACCA MA)(F2).
3) Financial Accounting (ACCA FA)(F3).

Applied Skills stage includes six exams as:

1) Corporate and Business Law (ACCA LW)(F4)
2) Performance Management (ACCA PM)(F5)
3) Taxation (ACCA TX) (F6)
4) Financial Reporting (ACCA FR)(F7)
5) Audit and Assurance (ACCA AA)(F8)
6) Financial Management (ACCA FM)(F9)

Strategic Professional stage includes six exams as:

1) Strategic Business Leader (ACCA SBL)(P1+P3)
2) Strategic Business Reporting (ACCA SBR)(P2)

Strategic Professional (Options)

3) Advanced Financial Management (ACCA AFM)(P4)
4) Advanced Performance Management (ACCA APM)(P5)
5) Advanced Taxation (ACCA ATX)(P6)
6) Advanced Audit and Assurance (ACCA AAA)(P7)

Applied Knowledge Overview :

ACCA students need to take three compulsory exams on Applied Knowledge, namely Accountant in Business, Management Accounting, and Financial Accounting. These exams are meant to impart broader knowledge of finance and accounting to students aspiring for a bright career in this field. They learn advanced accounting techniques while preparing for these three exams.  Aspiring students need to qualify to the level of starting the university studies, to be eligible for appearing in these Applied Knowledge exams. Successful students are awarded the ACCA Diploma in Business and Accounting, after clearing these three exams. Also, they become eligible for appearing in the Applied Skills exams to the next level of ACCA. Students can clear these exams after preparing for 6 – 12 months, to achieve this ACCA diploma. They can apply for the jobs of trainee accountant, trainee bookkeeper, or administrator, after passing these 3 Applied Knowledge level exams.

1) AB (F1) Accountant in Business

Accountant in Business is the first paper of the ACCA Fundamental level, which was previously known as F1. It is meant to check the foundation of a student in accounting and management. So the topics included in this paper cover all the vital points of business and technology, including its impacts on the environment, economy, and legal status of the society. Hence, several important issues like employment, data security, health, personal safety, and management are covered in this paper. The prime topics to be studied for this paper are as follows –

  • Business administration and management of business structures
  • Impact and limitations imposed by the external environment on the business, like the influences of shareholders on accounting
  • Previous records of the functions of accounting in business growth
  • All the specific functions of accounting and internal financial matters
  • Team management and leadership qualities
  • Recruitment and training of eligible staff

2) Management Accounting (ACCA MA)(F2)

Management Accounting is the second paper of the ACCA exam, which was formerly called F2. Students learn different management accounting techniques, which will help them in planning and monitoring their businesses in the future. The syllabus for this exam covers all the ways of handling the finance of a commercial organization and how to improve the performance of a business. The following topics are included in the ACCA MA syllabus to develop the knowledge of aspiring students –

  • Different techniques used in cost accounting
  • Nature and the causes of management accounting
  • Purpose and techniques of making budgets
  • Standard costing practice of estimating production costs
  • Business calculations and computer-based spreadsheets
  • Skills in making vital strategies for short-terms
  • Accurate assessment of the business performance
  • Classification, nature, and motivation of cost accounting

3) Financial Accounting (ACCA FA)(F3)

Financial Accounting is the subject for the third compulsory paper of the ACCA exam, which was formerly named F3. This exam aims to check the knowledge of students in the double-entry accounting concept and the techniques needed to be applied for it. They also need to learn the techniques for preparation and interpretation of collective financial theories. Thus, the syllabus for this ACCA FA exam includes all the following basic principles and rules applied in financial accounting.

  • The motive and conditions needed for financial reporting
  • Fundamental qualitative features of financial accounting
  • All theories related to double-entry accounting system
  • Keeping records of all financial transactions and important events related to financial status
  • Preparation of trial balance or the list of all ledger accounts
  • Preparation of all prime financial statements, including balance sheets and cash flow statements
  • Drawing up the collective basic financial statements
  • Interpretation of all financial records regarding business activities

Applied Skills Overview:

Students aspiring to achieve ACCA certification need to appear for six Applied Skills papers, after clearing the three fundamental Applied Knowledge exams. These six papers of this level are based on Corporate and Business Law, Performance Management, Taxation, Financial Reporting, Audit and Assurance, and Financial Management. These exams are meant to check the understanding and extensive knowledge of students in all types of financial skills. Students need to pass all three exams of Applied Knowledge level and achieve the ACCA Diploma in Accounting and Business, to be eligible for appearing in these Applied Skills exams. People having a degree in finance or accounts may also apply for appearing in these exams. Generally, people need 12 – 18 months to pass all these six ACCA exams. Successful students can aspire for the jobs of trainee business analyst, internal auditor, and finance trainee.

1) Corporate and Business Law (ACCA LW)(F4)

Corporate and Business Law forms the first exam paper for Applied Skills level. Since it is the fourth ACCA paper, it was also known as F4. This exam aims in checking students’ knowledge in the general legal frameworks, laws linked with business affairs, and emergencies when business owners need the help of their lawyers. Therefore, the syllabus for the ACCA LW exam includes the following topics –

  • Fundamental matters of the legal system
  • Laws related to employment in all sectors
  • Legal clauses regarding the composition of a business organization
  • Law of obligations constituting mixed legal systems
  • Laws about funding a business or capital arrangement
  • Regulations regarding business administration and management
  • Legal association to solve insolvency or financial distress of a company
  • Handling corporate fraudulence and unethical issues in business

2) Performance Management (ACCA PM)(F5)

Performance Management exam is the fifth one in the series of exams conducted by ACCA. So it was earlier called F5. The goal of this exam is to check the practical knowledge and capability of students in management accounting. They learn useful techniques in this subject so that they can apply their skills in preserving vital qualitative and quantitative data needed for business planning. This exam also tests their expertise in making business strategies and assessment of business performance. The prime segments of the syllabus for the ACCA PM exam are as follows –

  • Application of the special techniques of cost accounting or management accounting
  • Effective methods of making important business decisions and best uses of business resources
  • Identification of the best ways for making budgets and prediction of suitable action plans for improving business performance
  • Uses of standard costing techniques for evaluating the profit achievements and analysis of variance in business statistics

3) Taxation (ACCA TX) (F6)

Taxation is the sixth paper of the ACCA exam, for which it was earlier called F6. This exam is meant to check the knowledge of students in tax-related laws that apply to individuals and commercial companies. They need to develop skills in handling all matters regarding taxation for both small companies and large groups of companies.  Thus, all the following topics are included in the syllabus for the ACCA TX exam, in which students are expected to have a thorough understanding –

  • The local tax system and all its applications
  • All the rules related to income tax and features like National Insurance Contributions liabilities
  • Chargeable gains that can be subject to capital gains tax for individuals
  • Inheritance tax laws on inherited assets of individuals that varies from state to state
  • Corporation tax imposed on company profits
  • Value-added tax or VAT imposed on each stage from production to the sale of products
  •  Capital allowances or tax relief for companies
  • Trading profits of investors

4) Financial Reporting (ACCA FR)(F7)

Financial Reporting is the seventh optional paper of Applied Skills level of ACCA exams, for which it was earlier called F7. This exam is conducted to check the knowledge of students in standard accounting. They should be aware of all the theories and principles needed for creating financial statements. They also need to know the techniques of analyzing and interpreting vital financial statements. Hence, the following topics are included in the syllabus of the ACCA FR exam paper –

  • The conceptual structure needed for financial reporting
  • The regulatory framework followed in financial reporting
  • Recording all financial transactions for entering in financial statements
  • Analysis and interpretation of financial statements of single organizations or group of companies
  • Creation of perfect financial statements for companies

5) Audit and Assurance (ACCA AA)(F8)

Audit and Assurance is the eighth exam conducted for the ACCA diploma, which was earlier known as F8. This paper aims in providing a thorough understanding of the procedure that should be followed for assurance engagement. It also teaches the applications of assurance in the background of the professional regulatory framework. Thus, the syllabus of the ACCA AA exam includes the following topics to boost the knowledge of aspiring students in this subject –

  • Regulations and the framework entitled for professional audit
  • Assessment of the risk and related planning to avoid it
  • Internal control in auditing and accounting
  • Audit evidence to be recorded in audit working papers
  • Review and reporting of financial statements
  • Business funding and employed credit

6) Financial Management (ACCA FM)(F9)

Financial Management is the 9th paper of the ACCA exam, for which it was previously called F9. This exam aims at honing the skills of students in financial management so that they take up jobs as financial managers. They also learn all the details of investments, finance, and how to make decisions regarding dividend policies, while preparing for this exam. Hence, the syllabus of the ACCA FM exam contains the following topics –

  • Functions of the financial management
  • Proper environment for financial management
  • Management of the net working capital
  • Techniques of investment appraisal to count the profits of investments
  • Financing of business or capital arrangement for commercial organizations
  • Determining the business valuation for a company
  • Process of risk management including the assessment and controlling all threats to the company’s profits

Strategic Professional (Essentials) Overview:

Strategic Professional is the final level of the ACCA exam, which should be completed to be a qualified ACCA member. This is a professional level that hones the dynamic skills and strategies of students so that they can start rewarding careers. They need to pass 4 exams at this level, among which 2 are compulsory and 2 are optional. Strategic Business Leader and Strategic Business Reporting are the 2 compulsory papers that students have to pass for achieving this certification. Successful students can expect employments in senior positions, like a chief financial officer, financial manager, and even partner in a business firm. Normally, students need to pass Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills levels, to appear for the exams of Strategic Professional level. However, they may be exempted from studying these levels if they have relevant qualifications in finance and business management.

1) Strategic Business Leader (ACCA SBL)(P1+P3)

Strategic Business Leader is the first exam of Strategic Professional level, formed by combining the previous papers P1 and P3. The goal of this exam is to make students prepared for the job roles of Board Directors of any commercial organization. Hence, they need to learn vital job functions, like internal control, risk management, audit, compliance, and other operations of corporate governance. The syllabus for the ACCA SBL exam is designed accordingly to hone the leadership qualities and other relevant skills of aspiring students, along with the set of codes for all these corporate functions.

  • Definition of corporate governance and the explanation of its functions regarding corporate management.
  • Details of the job role of an accountant in terms of identifying risks and consequent steps for risk management
  • Responsibilities of a leader in a commercial organization regarding the company governance and strategy making
  •  Process of internal control and review of all related regulations and policies in a company
  •  Uses of the latest technology in company management and techniques of data analytics
  • Application of professional ethics through the codes set to be followed in the corporate world
  • Good planning of company finance and accounting
  • Skills for improving the performance of the company by bringing positive changes in the management

2) Strategic Business Reporting (ACCA SBR)(P2)

Strategic Business Reporting is another compulsory ACCA exam of Strategic Professional Essentials level, which was earlier known as P2. Students need to prove their capability of making strategic business reporting decisions in this exam. They should use their knowledge in financial concepts and skills of practically applying those principles of financial reporting for different businesses. Thus, the syllabus of the ACCA SBR exam consists of the following topics so that students can acquire a thorough knowledge of the technical facts related to finance. However, students also need to hone their analytical, critical, and judgmental skills to clear this exam successfully.

  • Wide knowledge about basic professional and ethical concepts related to accounting
  • Accurate assessment of financial reporting framework or the set of criteria in financial statements
  • Preparing reports on the financial achievements of a group of organizations
  • Writing financial statements for groups of organizations as per the standard accounting rules
  • Interpretation of financial statements of various stakeholders, exploring different issues of these statements
  • Assessments of recent financial developments and potential changes in current accounting rules

Strategic Professional (Options) Overview:

Students can choose 2 more optional papers from 4 modules to complete the ACCA certification. They can choose from Advanced Financial Management, Advanced Performance Management, Advanced Taxation, and Advanced Audit and Assurance. They become qualified ACCA members after completing these exams successfully. Strategic Professional level opens up a wide range of career options for ACCA members and they can get many employment opportunities in various sectors. Since ACCA certification is acknowledged worldwide, they are offered jobs in numerous prestigious organizations. Students develop ethical and professional skills while preparing for exams of Strategic Professional (optional) level. They become ready to face all types of professional challenges in the corporate world while getting ready for these ACCA exams.

3) Advanced Financial Management (ACCA AFM)(P4)

Advanced Financial Management is one of the 4 optional exam papers of ACCA, which was earlier known as P4. This exam is to introduce students to the job role of a senior financial advisor. They learn to advise clients on various complicated financial management issues that can trouble an organization. They gain extensive knowledge of the financial world, including all the necessary concepts that financial advisors need to know. Thus, the syllabus of the ACCA AFM exam consists of the following topics –

  • Duties of a senior advisor for stakeholders
  • Advanced evaluation of investments
  • Acquisition and mergers of stakes
  • Reconstruction and changing the system of organization in the corporate world
  • Advanced risk management procedures regarding revenue generation
  • Issues that often surface in financial management and how to tackle them
  • Ideal economic condition for multinational companies

4) Advanced Performance Management (ACCA APM)(P5)

Advanced Performance Management exam is another one of the 4 optional papers of ACCA Strategic Professional level. It was earlier known as P5 and students need to learn how to apply the knowledge and expertise related to strategic management in accounting. They also learn the techniques of evaluating strategic development and performance of global companies, considering all the economic and other essential business aspects. Thus, the ACCA APM syllabus contains the following topics so that students learn to assess and manage all risk factors of strategic management.

  • Strategic planning and management
  • Evaluation of external risk factors on the performance of a company
  • Assessment system and planning for measuring the performance of an organization
  • Measurement of the strategic performance
  • Assessment of the reasons for failure in the corporate world
  • Latest developments and problems spotted in performance management

5) Advanced Taxation (ACCA ATX)(P6)

Advanced Taxation is one of the 4 optional papers of the Strategic Professional level of ACCA certification exam, earlier known as P6. Students need to acquire advanced knowledge and skills to provide the best professional advice to their individual or corporate clients, regarding the effects of paying taxes on their financial conditions. Hence, the syllabus for the ACCA ATX exam includes the following topics –

  • The local tax system that businesses need to follow according to the government rules
  • Studies of tax-related matters, like tax interactions and stamp taxes
  • The effects of all commercial taxes on the finance of the company and actions to be taken to meet the situations
  • Tax planning to reduce the necessity of tax payments
  • Communications with clients and revenue officials to resolve tax issues

6) Advanced Audit and Assurance (ACCA AAA)(P7)

Advanced Audit and Assurance exam was earlier known as P7 and it is one of the 4 optional papers of Strategic Professional, which is the last level of ACCA certification. This exam tests the ability of students in analyzing, assessing, and making reports of the assurance engagements and other matters related to audit and assurance. So they need to clear or attempt Audit and Assurance F8 and Strategic Business Reporting P2 papers of the ACCA exam. The syllabus of the ACCA AAA exam includes the following topics –

  • Regulatory framework for preparing financial statements
  • Conceptual framework for further study
  • Professional and ethical values for financial accounting
  • Preparing for the audit of historical financial information
  • Review and reporting of financial assignments
  • Knowledge of current financial matters and development

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