AccountanSea ACCA June 2021 Exam Tips
- May 23, 2021
- Posted by: zeeshan hassan
- Category: Uncategorized
Performance Management PM
Any syllabus area can be tested in sections
A&B, so the best advice is to study all areas of
the syllabus. But you knew that already.
Areas expected to be tested in section C
include (but are not limited to): budgetary
systems, planning and operational variances,
mix and yield variances, and evaluation of the
company performance (either as a whole, or on
a divisional basis).
This is a performance management paper, so
you would be advised to be prepared to evaluate
General advice: You are strongly advised to plan
answers to section C questions before starting
to type. Ensure that you make reference to the
scenario in your answer.
Finally, the examining team have repeatedly
stated that they expect students to study broadly
for all of the syllabus areas, meaning that
question spotting is not a good idea, instead
students should expect the unexpected. Since
the introduction of MCQs this advice is even
more critical because more topics can be tested.
The exam will be approximately 40%
calculation and 60% discussion, meaning that
it is not sufficient to be able to perform all of the
calculations. Interpretation and application are
crucial, especially in section C.
Taxation TX (UK)
In section A there will be a wide range of topics
tested as there are 15 OTQs. Tutors expect at
least a couple of these to be devoted to the
administration of income tax and corporation
tax. So, candidates should ensure they are
comfortable with the following:
• Due dates for the payment of income tax
(including payments on account).
• Due dates for the payment of corporation tax
(including instalments for large companies).
• Filing dates for the income tax and
corporation tax returns.
• Penalties and interest for late payments and
Other topic areas also likely to be tested in
section A of the exam are:
• VAT rules on registration, impairment loss
(bad debt) relief, and the SME schemes
relating to cash accounting, annual
accounting and flatrate 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
corporation tax loss reliefs and gains.
• Trading loss reliefs for both companies and
It is important to remember that section A
offers the exam team an opportunity to test the
whole syllabus, so practising all kinds of TX
questions from the practice and revision kit will
help build on and complement your existing
In section B of the exam the questions will
be similar to those of section A, but there will
be a longer scenario to deal with. This means
a slightly different exam skill is necessary as
you have more information to work through and
each OTQ will require you to find the relevant
information or data in that scenario. It is not a
difficult skill, but we would hope you have had
time to practise an extensive range of section
B questions from the practice and revision kit
before attempting the real exam.
In section C you will face the longer,
constructive response questions with scenarios
and much more open requirements. Your
answers will need not just sound technical
knowledge, but also the application of that
knowledge to the question you have been asked.
Furthermore, your answer will have to be
presented logically so the marker can follow your
thought processes. At least 50% of your revision
time should be spent answering the section C
questions in the practice and revision kit to build
up confidence and speed in a way that will also
1. Remember to learn your income tax and
corporation tax pro formas.
2. Calculations which require no more than
two or three entries into your calculator can
be included on the face of your pro formas
(e.g. time apportioning a salary). Calculations
which are more complex (e.g. company car
benefits) need separate workings which are
properly referenced (W1, W2 etc) and have
3. Actually attempt the narrative parts of the
requirement – aim for as many sentences
as there are marks with each sentence
containing something technical. Keep your
paragraphs to no more than 3 sentences
4. In both numerical and narrative answers
leave plenty of space on the page. So, in
pro formas – leave a gap between each line
(you may need to add something in). Show
workings down the page, rather than across
the page as it makes them easier to mark. In
narrative answers leave a line or two between
each paragraph just in case you remember
something later. Wellspaced answers are also
easier to mark – and you always want to keep
the marker happy.
We know that the two longest questions 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
– in past sittings we have seen a number of
questions whereby you have to correct errors
in computations included in the scenario.
• Capital allowance computations.
So, remember to cover the whole syllabus
when using the practice and revision kit.
Finally, remember the pass mark is 50%
so you don’t need to be perfect. If you don’t
know something have a guess and move on.
Sometimes you have to do that in order to get
follow through marks in section C questions. If
you make a mistake, but then use that incorrect
figure later in a subsequent calculation, then
that’s fine – you can only lose the mark once.
In sections A and B never leave an OTQ
unanswered – have a guess if you don’t know
Financial Reporting FR
• Fifteen 2-mark OTQs on a wide range of
topics including several on consolidation and
interpretation of financial statements.
• Expect a few questions on non-core areas
(e.g. inflation, specialised entities).
Section B (Case questions):
• Three separate scenarios with five OTQs
on each scenario; each question is worth 2
• Each scenario could be a mix of topic areas
or focused on one topic and will usually
consist of two/three calculations and two/
• Questions are not dependant on each other
and can be answered in any order.
Section C (Constructed response questions):
• Two 20-mark questions, one covering
interpretations and the other preparation of
• One question 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
• Accounts preparation questions may
include extracts or standalone calculations
or full statements of profit or loss and other
comprehensive income and/or statement of
• Both questions will cover the accounting for
items from other areas of the syllabus.
• May include a short separate part, e.g. with
a statement of changes in equity, statement
of cash flows extract, earnings per share
calculation or linked written topic.
• A consolidation question would include
one subsidiary and often an associate, with
adjustments, e.g. fair values, deferred/
contingent consideration, PUP on inventories/
PPE, intragroup trading and balances, goods/
cash in transit.
• A single entity question could be preparation
from a trial balance or restatement of
given financial statements with the usual
adjustments for depreciation, revaluation
and current/deferred tax (including deferred
tax on revaluations) plus a mixture of
adjustments on other syllabus areas,
e.g. leases, substance over form issues,
financial instruments (change in fair value or
amortised cost), share issues, government
grants, inventory valuation, revenue
recognition or construction contracts.
Audit & Assurance AA
All three questions in section B will be broken
down into sub requirements and be scenario
based. The majority of marks in each question
will test syllabus areas B, C and/or D.
Areas expected to be tested in questions 16 to
• Audit planning.
• Audit risk (identification and explanation of
audit risks 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).
General advice: Where questions are based
on a scenario it is essential that you use the
information in the scenario to make your
answers relevant. You should also think about
how you will present your answer – try to
use a tabular format in your solutions where
relevant as the examining team have stated that
candidates who do this score better.
Pay attention to the verbs used in question
requirements as these indicate the number of
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 this will score 0.5 mark
Finally, please read the examining team’s
comments relating to past exams which are
on the ACCA website: http://www.accaglobal.
Financial Management FM
Questions in section A will often be knowledge
based (testing your knowledge of key technical
terms), and will balance out the questions in
section B and C of the exam to make sure that
all aspects of the syllabus are examined.
It is therefore likely that a good number of
these questions 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.
Each section B case-study will be broken
down into five separate 2-mark MCQs (so
15 questions in total). Areas expected to be
commonly tested in this section are working
capital management (e.g. the operating
cycle, the impact of a change in credit period or
accepting a factor’s offer), business or security
valuations (e.g. methods of valuation), and
financial risk management (most likely mainly in
the form of currency risk, but it is possible that
interest rate risk is examined here).
Section C’s two 20-mark questions will be
broken down into sub requirements and be
scenario based. These two 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
(interest coverage and gearing ratios are likely
to be important here) or a cost of capital and
analysis are most likely. Whichever of these three
topics does not feature in section C is likely to
appear in section B of the exam.
Keep checking the ACCA website for articles
in the lead up to the exam, any articles written
by the examining team are often tested and are
important to read.
Strategic Business Reporting SBR
It is vital that you read the examiner’s approach
article available on the ACCA website. ACCA
has also published several exam technique and
technical articles that you should read as part
of your exam preparation – read the two articles
called ‘Revising for the September 2020 exam
session’ (parts 1 and 2). These are available in
the exam technique section of the SBR exam
support resources section of the ACCA website
The exam section A will be 2 questions, worth
50 marks in total.
Question 1 – 30 marks:
• Q1 will be based on group accounting. Be
aware that this question may test any aspect
of group accounting, including consolidated
statements of cash flows, overseas
subsidiaries and associates and JVs.
• Make sure you attempt all parts of the
requirement in Q1. The most recent
examiner’s report stated that some
candidates are not attempting the required
calculations and therefore struggling to gain a
pass mark on this question.
• To score well, you need to do the calculations
and explain the principles underlying the
calculations you have performed.
Question 2 – 20 marks, including two
• Q2 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.
• Two professional marks are available in
this question for application of relevant
ethical principles to the scenario. In order
to gain the marks, your answer must be
realistic and sensible. Stating that all issues
should immediately be reported to the
legal authorities without further discussion
is unlikely to be awarded the professional
marks as this advice is not realistic.
• Make sure that you only spend the allocated
amount of time on the second question (e.g.
20-mark question = 20 x 1.95 minutes per
mark = 39 minutes maximum). The examiner
has recently commented that students seem
to be spending too long on this question and
not leaving enough time for the rest of the
Section B will be two questions, worth 25
• Section B can deal with any area of the
syllabus and may be based on a short
scenario, a case study with several parts, or
• Section B will always include a question
or part-question involving the analysis or
appraisal of information from the perspective
of a stakeholder. Make sure you have a go at
answering this question. There is no ‘right’
answer at this level – marks will be awarded
for sensible points that have been applied to
• There are two professional marks available
for the question that covers the stakeholder’s
perspective. To gain these marks, you must
discuss the issue from the perspective of the
stakeholder – e.g. if asked for the investor’s
perspective, you must answer from the
• Current issues are usually examined
in section B as a part of a question (not
a full question). However, current issues
could be examined in either section A
or section B of the exam. A question on
current issues may require the application
of existing accounting standards to a current
accounting issue – for example, accounting
• The Conceptual Framework has featured
significantly in SBR exams to date – be
prepared for this.
General advice: Make sure you plan your time
at the beginning of the exam (and stick to it) to
ensure you don’t over-run on particular question
– it is 1.95 minutes per mark (or 1.8 minutes
per mark if you allocate 15 minutes to reading
Strategic Business Leader SBL
As with all other ACCA exams SBL is examined
as a closed book examination. Unlike the other
Strategic Professional level exams which are
3 hours and 15 minutes in duration, the SBL
exam has a duration of 4 hours. The exam
builds upon the knowledge that you gained at
the ‘Applied Knowledge’ and ‘Applied Skills’
levels. However, it does also have its own distinct
As with all other ACCA examinations the pass
mark for SBL is 50%.
You will not be issued with any pre-seen
information in advance of sitting your exam as
everything you will require will be made available
to you within the examination itself. The SBL
exam will focus on one main organisation, and
all of the question requirements will relate to this
organisation. You may have to take on a variety
of roles which may require you to adopt an
internal or external perspective when answering
questions. You will also be required to respond
to a variety of people within the organisation. All
of the questions in the exam are compulsory.
Every SBL exam will consist of 80 technical
marks and 20 Professional Skills marks.
Question requirements in the exam will assess
and link several subject areas from across
the syllabus, and these will test your ability to
construct appropriate responses and to carry out
General advice: While 4 hours (240 minutes)
may initially sound like a lot of time in which to
attempt the exam, it is crucial not to become
complacent in how you use this time.
The Strategic Business Leader exam is
demanding, and as such you need to give
careful consideration to how you will manage
your time to make the most effective use of it.
ACCA recommend spending approximately
40 minutes reading, planning and interpreting
the requirements and the information/exhibits
provided. Based on this estimation when
planning the amount of time you will spend
on each requirement you should look to
allocate 2.5 minutes per mark on offer. This
time allocation is based on the fact that the
exam is 240 minutes in duration, once the 40
minutes reading time is deducted this gives 200
minutes to write up your answer in order to earn
the 100 marks on offer. You can earn the 20
Professional Skills marks by virtue of attempting
the 80 technical marks on offer, so we can
divide the 200 minutes remaining over the 80
technical marks to give 2.5 minutes per mark.
It is important to note that you can spend
longer than the recommended 40 minutes
reading and planning your answer. If you do
choose to spend longer on this task then you
will need to bear this in mind when you come
to writing your answers. Alternatively, you
may prefer to work on the basis of 2 minutes
per mark (being 200 minutes divided by 100
Regardless of the method you use when
allocating your time it is crucial that you stick
closely to your timings as this should help to
ensure that you do not spend too long on one
question requirement to the detriment of those
you are yet to attempt.
Reading question requirements: The SBL exam
will contain all of the information that you will
require to answer the question requirements
set. This information will be presented in a
series of exhibits. To help you locate the exhibits
most relevant to answering a specific question
it is therefore important that you take the time
to read the question requirements set carefully
as this should help to direct you. Furthermore,
reading the question requirements carefully is
important as this will indicate the role and the
perspective from which you are expected to
answer the question. Identifying this early on is
important as it will drive how you construct your
Planning your answer: Clearly, if you have gone
to the trouble of preparing an answer plan it is
important that you use it when writing up your
answer. To get the most from your answer plan
it is therefore important that you include as
much detail as you think will be helpful when
the time comes to write up your answer. When
planning your work it is important to bear in
mind the ACCA’s guide of using 40 minutes
for reading and planning. As mentioned earlier
you need to remember that some question
requirements may require you to conduct
some numerical analysis. For example, you
may be asked to analyse the performance of
the organisation featured in the exam. It is
important that you plan the numerical analysis
that you intend to perform to ensure that you
only focus on performing those calculations that
are going to support your answer and provide
you with something to talk about.
Producing lots and lots of unnecessary
calculations for the sake of it will only serve to
waste your time in the exam.
Understanding the syllabus and the
appropriate use of theoretical models in the
exam: To stand the best chance of passing
the SBL exam, you will need to have a good
understanding of the entire syllabus. However,
it is important to remember that unlike other
exams that you may have sat in the past,
questions in the SBL exam will not ask you to
simply regurgitate your knowledge of a particular
topic or theoretical model. Requirements will
test your ability to apply your understanding of
the subjects covered in the SBL syllabus in the
context of the question scenario. Furthermore,
requirements will not specifically ask you to use
a particular model in answering the question.
Whether to use a theoretical model when
constructing your answer will be a matter of
judgement that you will need to weigh up in
light of the information presented to you in the
exam. Attempting plenty of questions in the lead
up to your exam is the most effective way of
developing your judgement in this area.
Understanding the difference between
technical marks and Professional Skill marks:
Technical marks relate to the knowledge (which
we discussed in the previous section), there are
80 technical marks on offer in the exam. By
contrast the 20 Professional Skills marks are
awarded for displaying the following skills and
• Commercial acumen.
Every Professional Skill will be tested in every
SBL exam sitting. The Professional Skill being
tested will be specified under each question
requirement. As you prepare to attempt the
exam it is crucial that you take the time to
attempt as many practice questions as you can.
To increase your chances of exam success you
need to ensure that you take sufficient time to
develop your understanding of the Professional
Visit the technical articles page of ACCA’s
website: There are often very useful articles on
ACCA’s website which cover key exam topics
and subjects which may help with your exam
preparation. There are also a number of articles
about how to approach the exam and how to
exhibit the professional skills in your answers.
All technical articles can be found here: https://
Advanced Performance Management APM
Q1 section A:
Q1 of the APM exam will focus on a range
of issues from syllabus section A (strategic
planning and control), section C (performance
measurement systems and design) and section
D (strategic performance measurement).
Section A (50 marks) contains one
compulsory question. 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 also have
to critique and recommend improvements
to performance reports and the balanced
scorecard and/or information systems could well
be tested in this context. The assessment of
performance is also likely to be tested and this
could easily include benchmarking as a theme.
Financial performance measures (ROCE/
RI/EVA etc) are also likely to be commonly
• A business transformation scenario question
such as selling a sole trade business,
incorporation, or, in a corporate context, the
sale of shares versus the sale of trade and
• Other common types of question/calculation
to expect are:
• Reviewing a pre-prepared computation
to spot, explain and correct errors.
• Calculations such as “tax saved through
an action”, “after-tax proceeds”, “the
value of a post-tax inheritance”, “net
spendable income” or the “net of tax
cost of something”.
Don’t forget that across the scenarios we will
typically expect to see VAT marks available.
Partial exemption, land & buildings, transfer of
going concern, capital goods scheme, overseas
VAT and registration/group registration tend to be
There will also likely be a couple of marks
for stamp duty points if you remember to think
about it in your planning! Finally, don’t forget
your basic administration points are also likely
to be examined – when do we need to pay tax,
when do we file a return and what if either of
those are late?
Advanced Audit & Assurance AAA
You should by now have a good idea of what
to expect – the most recent AAA exams have
contained no real surprises, although you
should be prepared for the look and feel of the
embedded email and supporting exhibits.
If you are sitting the CBE there are resources
you should access.
Section A will comprise a Case Study, worth
50 marks, set at the planning stage of the audit,
for a single company, a group of companies or
potentially several audit clients.
Candidates will be provided with detailed
information, which will vary between
examinations, but is likely to include extracts of
financial information, strategic, operational and
other relevant information for a client, as well as
extracts from audit working papers, which could
include the results of analytical procedures. The
date will be set as 1 July 20X5.
Candidates will be required to address a range
of requirements, from syllabus sections A, B,
C and D thereby tackling a real-world situation
where candidates 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 will be available in
section A and will be awarded based on the
level of professionalism with which a candidate’s
answer is presented, including the structure,
layout and clarity of the answer provided.
Section B will contain two compulsory 25
mark questions, with each being predominately
based around a short scenario. There are no
optional questions in AAA.
One question will always test syllabus section
E, and candidates should therefore always
be prepared to answer a question relating to
completion, review and reporting. There are a
number of formats this question could adopt,
including, but not limited to, matters to be
considered and evidence expected to be on
file, a going concern assessment, the impact
of subsequent events, evaluating identified
misstatements and any corresponding effects
on the auditor’s report. Candidates may also be
asked to critique an auditor’s report or a report
which is to be provided to management or those
charged with governance.
The second section B question can be
drawn from any other part of the syllabus,
including sections A, B, C, D and F. Syllabus
section G on current issues is unlikely to form
the basis of a question on its own, but instead
will be incorporated into the Case Study or
either of the section B questions depending
on question content and the topical issues
affecting the profession at the time of sitting
the exam (for topical issues, see technical
General advice: This subject often tests
topical issues which have been covered by
the examining team’s technical articles (for
example, the impact of data analytics in
September/December 2020). There are also
five exam technique articles that you must
read covering ethics, risk, accounting issues,
audit procedures and reporting. All of the
examining team’s articles can be found here.
You are strongly advised to keep referring to
these articles in advance of the exam.
Advanced Financial Management AFM
All AFM exams 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.
Q1 section A:
You can expect section A questions to cover a
number of different syllabus areas, emphasising
the need to have a good broad knowledge
of the syllabus (so you are strongly advised
NOT to target your revision on a small number
of syllabus areas). However, questions are
often based on core syllabus areas such as:
project appraisal (domestic or overseas),
business valuations and business/financial
reorganisations; these areas often include cost of
capital calculations. Risk management may also
feature in a number of different ways e.g. value
at risk, real options, hedging, risk mapping.
Q2-3 section B:
• Risk management (currency or interest rate).
• Dividend policy and general financing issues.
• Real options.
General advice: The examining team have
emphasised that exams are designed to
make question spotting extremely difficult for
this paper, so it is important to have a broad
understanding of the key aspects of each
syllabus area. Don’t over-emphasise numerical
analysis in your revision – remember that this
paper is not a maths exam and in all exam
questions the examiner is interested in your
ability to communicate well and to give good
management advice that relates to the scenario
in the question.
Keep checking the ACCA website for articles
written by the examining team in the lead up
to the exam, these are often tested and are
important to review.