Exam Digest for the P Papers – Issue 2

eemeiyi —  November 11, 2016 — Leave a comment


P4 Advanced Financial Managementp4

This exam paper is in two sections. Section A consisted of a compulsory question for 50 marks. Section B consisted of three questions of 25 marks each, from which candidates had to answer two questions. All three questions in Section B for this examination consisted of a mixture of computational and discursive elements.

This is an advanced level option paper which builds upon the knowledge and skills examined in F9, Financial Management. At this advanced stage, candidates will be required to demonstrate their ability to read and digest quickly, comprehensive and detailed questions, apply relevant knowledge and skills and exercise the professional judgement expected of a senior financial person, in recommending or making financial management decisions that are likely to affect the entire business organisation.

In this exam, too many written answers were poorly structured and therefore markers found it difficult to determine what is being discussed or argued. Additionally, many candidates tend to generalise and write all that they know about a particular topic area, rather than focus their answer to the question posed. Answers that score high marks are characterised by a reasoned structure, narrative discussions that are sufficiently detailed, clear and relevant to the question asked and easy to follow numerical workings supported where appropriate by brief notes. Achieving this in a P4 exam will ensure a candidate is on track to passing it.

This examination also includes a significant amount of technical content dispersed across the questions, to test a candidate’s ability to perform them. Invariably, a candidate will be expected to assess the findings of the technical computations within the context of the question’s scenario. The comments below will reflect the above points.

Read the full Examiner’s report here.

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P5 Advanced Performance Managementp5

The examination paper comprised two sections, A and B. Section A consisted of one compulsory question for 50 marks in total. Section B consisted of three optional questions for 25 marks each from which candidates were required to answer two questions.

The paper is one that has analysis, evaluation and above all application at its core and it is a good mantra with which to approach every question in a P5 examination: am I relating the technique to the scenario? Am I evaluating its usefulness in this specific situation? Rote learning is not at the core of a paper of this nature and the essence of application is best experienced by undertaking a past paper in examination conditions. To be specific about this point reanalysis /assess/ evaluation/ application, candidates who come to this examination expecting to repeat memorised material will probably score only between 20% and 30%. The other 70-80% of the marks are awarded through successful, relevant and justified application which is at the very core of what advanced performance management should be about.

Particularly disappointing was the poor performance of many candidates in the Professional marks section of question 1. It is very easy to score full marks on this part of the question by ensuring that the Report addresses its reader with a concise indication of the subject matter and the date of the Report, an introductory paragraph which highlights the material that the Report will address, sub- Examiner’s report – P5 September 2016 2 headings for each section and a discussion in professional, clear language. Of these aspects, the lack of professionalism in highlighting where one section of the Report ends and the other begins is something candidates should make sure they always address as this can make the practicality of marking the paper very challenging.

Read the full Examiner’s report here.

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P6 Advanced Taxationp6

This examination requires candidates to attempt two compulsory questions in Section A where Question 1 was for 35 marks and Question 2 for 25 marks, totalling 60 marks. In addition they had to attempt two questions in Section B. Three questions were provided in Section B, each for 20 marks.

Although the majority of candidates attempted the required four questions, there were a few scripts which attempted only three or even two questions. These scripts reflect poor preparation of the candidates rather than due to time pressure.

Overall candidates performed well in Question 1(i), Question 2 and Question 3. Conversely, candidates had difficulty with Question 1(ii), 1(iii), Question 4(a) and Question 5.

Read the full Examiner’s report here.

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P7 Advanced Audit and Assurancep7

The examination consisted of two sections. Section A contained one question for 35 marks and one question for 25 marks. Section B contained three questions of 20 marks each, from which candidates had to answer two questions.

In order to pass this exam, candidates are required to apply the principles and rules from their earlier studies to more complex scenarios and demonstrate their ability to handle different situations which may arise in audit and related services. In addition, candidates are expected to develop a broader knowledge of audit services and practice management. Candidates should also keep abreast of current developments and challenges in the field of both auditing and financial reporting to allow them to demonstrate the ability to handle these challenges in the context of auditing financial statements and as areas they may need to brief clients on.

This combination of learned knowledge and its application to complex situations requires candidates to be able to go beyond the topics as covered in text books and be able to react to the scenarios described in the requirement. Study through question practice and following developments in the field through the media, and through IFAC and IAASB will be crucial in taking the learned knowledge from earlier parts of the qualification and converting it into a demonstrable ability to provide audit and advisory services to clients. P7 also tests candidates’ ability to tailor their answer to the context in which the requirement is written. Often the audience of the requirement will dictate the pitch and depth of the answer along with its focus.

It would be useful for candidates to visualise delivering the requirement verbally to the report recipient and therefore imagining how a partner in a firm, already qualified and experienced, would react to listening to the answer.

Read the full Examiner’s report here.

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We have come to the end of the Exam Digest for P Papers. Being successful in the ACCA exams is a simple two step process – believe in yourself and back it up with plain old hard work. Good luck for the December exams!

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