PQ magazine, December 2022

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Incorporating NQ magazine www.pqmagazine.com/www.pqjobs.co.uk December 2022 jobs.co.uk TIPSEXAMACCA INSIDE Accountants are the new innovators –don’t be left behind! Wednesday 7 December 2022 Free online event – see details inside LSBU Business School & PQ Magazine invite you to join our 6th annual conference... OUR SPONSORS PQ AWARDS NOW OPEN


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Stand out in the job market You will become a partqualified accountant with exemptions from the leading chartered accountancy membership bodies. We are ranked 1st among London moderns for Graduate Prospects (Complete University Guide 2021)

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Here at PQ Towers we never stand still. We are launching our 20th PQ magazine awards this month, and have added a new category to celebrate. Do you have a podcast you want to nominate? Check out how to enter on page 18 and we could all be partying together in April. Remember, if your nominee to any of our categories is shortlisted you get to come along to the coolest accountancy awards around.

If you want to keep up-to-date with all the latest trends you need to be at the AccountingWEB Live Expo, on 30 November–1 December. Sign up at https://www.accountingwebliveexpo.co.uk/. I am planning a trip myself to get along to this one.

Also, don’t forget to sign up to our free one-day online conference. It’s our 6th conference with LSBU and its going to be a great day. You can sign up to ‘Accountants are the new innovators – don’t be left behind’ at https://tinyurl.com/3d73wjjf.

We have lots of great stuff in this issue. There are six pages of exam tips for ACCA sitters, and we have the latest exam pass rates from AAT, CIMA and ICAEW.

You should check out why firms need a purpose on our careers page (page 43), and the wonderful anti-cheating hats on page 44.

Graham Hambly, Editor and Publisher, PQ magazine

04 AAT exams Overall CBA pass rates fall year-on-year 05 Sustainability Why a new carbon accounting standard is needed now

06 CIMA case study results Pass rates are good for one case, but down for the other two 08 Inclusivity Background and class still a barrier to career progression, says new survey 09 ICAEW exam results It’s good news for PwC students

10 ACCA exams Option paper pass rates low – despite new professional marks 12 Tech news Sage acquires carbon accounting platform Features, etc 14 Have your say Why does it take so many so long to qualify? Plus our social media round-up 17 AAT pass rates How does your exam performance fit in with the overall results picture? 18 PQ Awards 2023 It’s our 20th year – crikey! So get involved

by nominating someone early doors. It could even be yourself! 20 A day in the life… CIMA apprentice Sean Lucas is out to change perceptions 23 ACCA AFM/FM papers We explain the basic principles of financial futures 24 Accountancy Expo Why you should get yourself down to AccountingWeb Live Expo 25 ACCA initiative Association launches My Exam Performance 26 Online learning How to make the switch to digital training 27 ACCA AAA paper How to pick up those all-important professional marks 29 CIMA spotlight The institute’s Mark Foley has five top tips on mastering complex exam topics 31 Six pages of ACCA tips Our experts’ thoughts on what may come up in December’s exams 37 Law The final part of our series on what constitutes a Separate Legal Personality

38 Study tips Cath Littler has some top advice on how to make the most of your study time

40 A question for Tom/CIPFA spotlight When is a sale not a sale? Plus, CIPFA’s Sarah Shreeves on how education can help tackle corruption

41 The future of leaning So who needs a classroom?

43 Careers Why all organisations need a purpose; Hays’ Karen Young helps with your career problems; and our book review

44 Fun The lighter side of life, accountancy and the universe

The columnists

Lisa Nelson Exam assessments –and the alternatives 4

Robert Bruce Workplace inequality – mind the gap 6

Prem Sikka The good times roll for gas and oil giants 8

Anna Kate Phelan More needs to be done to improve digital skills 10

David Rothera Net Zero a focus for next PQ/LSBU conference 12

p22 News
3 PQ Magazine December 2022 IN THIS ISSUE To subscribe for FREE go to www.pqmagazine.com December 2022
p31 p44 A note from the Editor contents p18 Why study with e-Careers: ✓ We’re one of the UK’s largest AAT training providers. ✓ We’ve trained in the region of 10,000 AAT delegates. ✓ Our students receive higher than average pass rates. ✓ Selected AAT courses include eLearning, Study Books, Tutor Support & Live Online Classes. www.e-careers.com (accounting) +44 (0) 20 3198 7600 Mon - Fri | 9am - 6pm ADVANCE YOUR CAREER IN ACCOUNTING ✓ We won’t be beaten on price! ✓ Interest-free finance options. ✓ AAT membership available.


Methods of assessment: there are alternatives

Which one of the following do you most dislike – a quiz, a test or an exam? Chances are it’s the exam and yet they are all examples of assessments which have the objective of finding out what a learner knows. What sets exams apart is that they are mostly used to measure performance, rather than give valuable feedback, and are stressful!

However, there are alternatives: •Continuous assessment: Rather than having all the questions at the end of a course, they are embedded throughout the programme, taking away that end of course exam pressures.

•Observational assessments: These put candidates in more real-life settings where their performance can be observed and rated by an assessor Kaplan Assessments already uses this type of assessment.

•Situational judgement tests (SJT): These assess the ability to choose the most appropriate action in workplace situations. In many instances there is no right or wrong answer, just a preferred option under the given circumstances.

Professional examinations have certainly changed, they are now online, software is embedded in the exam (spearheaded by ICAEW’s use of data analytics software) and we have complex case studies, but like the real world we are trying to replicate change is continual and assessment needs to keep up.

AAT pass rates down

The latest AAT pass rates show that students have really been struggling to pass the Advanced Diploma Synoptic Assessment. The pass rate for July 2021 to June 2022 has slipped to just 51.5%, compared with a pass rate of 54.6% for the previous year.

The Professional Diploma Synoptic Assessment pass rate has also fallen – from 59.8% to 55.8%.

One professional assessment that continues to be a big challenge for sitters is Management Accounting: Decision and Control. The overall pass rate this time around was

60.8%. Perhaps even more worrying for tutors and students alike will be the sudden slide in the Personal Tax pass rates, from over 70% to just 62.3%.

Lots of other pass rates are also

down and it means all the overall CBA pass rates are down year-onyear.

When it comes to distinctions, these are still hard to obtain for those completing the Professional Diploma in Accounting. Just 3% of PQs received a distinction, with another 46% of students being awarded a merit, and 52% a pass.

By contrast some 21% of those completing the Advanced Diploma in Accounting achieve a distinction and 56% a merit.

Check out all the pass rates on page17

PQ of Year picks up another award

Former PQ magazine PQ of the Year, Bethany Duffy, just can’t stop winning awards! She started her apprenticeship at Grant Thornton over four years ago, and is now the Regional Winner Higher/ Degree Apprentice of the Year 2022. This means she is off to the Apprenticeship National Awards finals in December – we have our fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, our search is on to find new owners of the next batch of PQ magazine award trophies has begun. Yes, nominations are now open for the 2023 awards!

These are our 20th awards, and all those shortlisted will be

EY recruits record 1,473 students

invited to the coolest accountancy awards around – in late April next year. Deadline for entries is Friday 10 March 2023, but please don’t wait until the last minute to enter!

Download the nomination form at https://tinyurl. com/4amp9e54

regional presence.

Of the new student hires, 41% are women and 45% are from an ethnic minority background, of which 4% identify as black or mixed-black.

Pap Top with the tips

How is your revision going for the December ACCA sitting? Well, it may be a bit last-minute but we have six pages of exam tips and guidance from BPP to help you through it all. Those sitting PM, for example, should know that marks tend to be 40% calculations and 60% discussion, so you neglect the written elements of this paper at your peril.

ACCA exam sitters have to remember the pass mark is just 50%! Remember, your answers


Almost 40% will be based in EY’s regional offices, with Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and Reading all seeing large intakes as the firm continues to strengthen its

Hywel Ball, EY’s UK Chair, said: “These are record numbers for EY as we continue to invest in young talent to support our growth across the UK. We’re continuing to see strong levels of client demand and continued investment across the firm, which is why we’ve increased our student intake year on year, over the last three years, and hired more than 3,600 students.”

don’t have to be perfect and it often pays to move on if you don’t know something, and find a question you can get marks on. Check out the tips on page 31.

Pap Prepared for 2023?

What accounting tech is coming to shape your world in 2023? Maybe you need to get along to the AccountingWEB Live Expo on 30 November to 1 December, at the Coventry Building Society Area.

You can meet ground-breaking

suppliers (there are 120 exhibitors) and hear expert advice all under the one roof. Many of the professional bodies will also have a stand.

So, whether you are shopping for software, learning about MTD, meeting old friends or just topping up on your CPD, AccountingWEB Live Expo is your one-stop shop for all your needs. See: https://www. accountingwebliveexpo.co.uk/

Pap IASB amends IAS 1

The International Accounting

Standards Board (IASB) has issued amendments to IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements that aim to improve the information companies provide about long-term debt with covenants.

IAS 1 requires a company to classify debt as non-current only if the company can avoid settling the debt in the 12 months after the reporting date. However, a company’s ability to do so is often subject to complying with covenants.

PQ the PQ Magazine December 2022 4
has welcomed a record 1,473 students into its UK business this year – up 35% on 2021. This year’s student cohort included 1,269 graduates and 204 apprentices. Lisa Nelson is Director of Learnin g at Kaplan

‘We need a new carbon accounting standard now’

Specific accounting standards are urgently needed for new asset types such as certified carbon offset credits, says a new report from Imperial College Business School.

The report, Financial Accounting for Carbon Finance: A New Standard for a New Paradigm, shows how emerging global carbon markets and new investable assets make the need for new accounting regulations more pressing in the fight against climate change.

The new accounting standards will also be a major step towards achieving transparency, the researchers said. Despite the lack of clarity around accounting standards, in 2021 global

carbon markets grew to a record $851 billion.

Accounting standards –particularly around carbon credits – are now widely considered crucial to scaling up carbon markets and achieving net zero by 2050.

To achieve change report author Dr Raul Rosales said there needs to be a re-think on the definition of carbon offsets. Rather than being classed as intangible assets or inventories, carbon offsets should be considered as investable assets used as part of a bank’s offering to corporate clients for ‘offsetting’ and ‘hedging’ purposes.

The report can be accessed here.

Sign up for our free online conference

The world is changing fast and accountants need to change with it. LSBU Business School and PQ magazine are back with our 6th annual conference, and this year we are looking at how accountants can adapt and lead from the front.

Join us from the comfort of home or work for our free live online global conference on Wednesday 7 December. You can sign up to ‘Accountants are the new innovators – don’t be left behind’ at https://tinyurl.com/5yu59c7y

Our line-up is unique in that we have some of the most outspoken and provocative speakers in the profession on show, including Lord Sikka and Professor Richard Murphy. The afternoon session will be kicked off by Generation CFO’s Chris Argent, and we end the day with our now familiar roundtable debate – what’s not to like?

This year’s event is supported by AAT, ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAEW, ICB, Rogo, GAAPweb, amlcc and FASimms.

How to pass the CIMA case study

How long should your answers be in a CIMA case study exam? That is a question all students want to know, and now you have an answer.

VIVA’s Hugh Martin (left), a former CIMA prizewinner, says when it comes to the length of answers a good benchmark for the OCS and MCS exams is a minimum of two pages, but ideally three pages, in a typical 45-minute section. This, he believes, would be the perfect length if you want to score well.

In the case of the SCS exam you should be aiming for a minimum of 2.5 pages, but ideally 3.5 pages-plus in a typical 60-minute section.

VIVA’s Martin has helped more than 10,000 students from 94 countries prepare and pass their CIMA exams. And, with the help of fellow tutors he has compiled all the keys DOs and DON’Ts on how to pass the case study. It is a fantastic resource and you can check it out at https://tinyurl.com/4h62ydzw

PQ 5 PQ Magazine December 2022 PQ
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Whither workplace equality?

It’s a comparison that has become a cliché. The soaring gulf between what CEOs and ordinary staff in the same company get paid just keeps growing. Harvard Business School studies show that in 1950s America the average CEO made around 20 times the income of the average production worker By 2020 the average CEO made at least 350 times as much as an average worker.

Much of this gap has been created by the thinning out of the workforce, through everything from outsourcing to automation. But much of it has come from people, frankly, getting away with it, as any perusal of impenetrable remuneration reports will show It is the opposite of the old management saw – if you can’t measure it you have no clue what is there to be managed.

Meanwhile, CFOs are vanishing. In America the latest figures for the churn in CFO positions shows two trends. First they are moving, or being moved out, at a rate of knots. The coming recessionary storm needs many more people who are skilled at cutting costs or restructuring rather than the required pandemic skills of keeping the whole place afloat in terrifying times. And, second, CFOs are thinking that if life is going to get harder, after all that they have been through, then it might just be time to seek another role. This job isn’t fun anymore, they say to themselves, and they are off.

Robert Bruce is an award-winnin g writer on accountan cy for The Times

The CIMA pass rates are…

The August CIMA case study pass rates have been released, and while the Operational pass rate jumped to 66% both the Management and Strategic rates were down, to 69% and 58% respectively.

The SCS pass rate of 58% this time around is the lowest it has been since August 2020, when it was 56%. CIMA has been using the same case study over two sittings since then, and August is the second sitting. The MCS pass

rate is back to August 2021 levels, with the 82% pass rate achieved in May 2022 seeming a million miles away.

However, on the plus side, the OCS pass rate of 66% is very high, and not been bettered in over 10 sittings.

Stephen Flatman (pictured), Vice President, Examinations –Management Accounting, said: “Today’s business environment can be challenging, but equipped with the skills and knowledge they learned while studying for the

Reed Business School launches AAT provision

CGMA Professional Qualification, these candidates will be well placed to seize the great career opportunities that are out there. I am very excited to see the things this excellent cohort goes on to achieve in accounting, business and finance.” CIMA CASE STUDY PASS RATES

Pap ACCA mock exams available

ACCA released new mock exam and debrief videos for APM, AFM and AAA, prior to the September exams. These mock exam and debrief videos will help support your preparation for the December session.

There are two steps to take to get the most out of it:

Step 1. Complete the new pre-September mock exam in the practice platform. Do this as a full mock exam under timed conditions.

A new AAT programme has been launched by Reed Business School. Top AAT tutor Collette Steadman will be managing the course, and she promised AAT students can now get ‘the best of both worlds’, as the Business School is offering a hybrid of online and on-campus provision.

The next AAT AQ2022 courses start in January 2023. Online video lectures are available on-demand and can be viewed from a phone, tablet or computer. Lessons last for around 45 minutes and are accompanied by animations and motion graphics to help bring concepts to life. Alongside, on-campus regular classes will take place with an RBS tutor. Time out of the workplace is reduced thanks to the online learning materials, and students can attend classroom workshops at the school or access the classroom live online.

If you are interested in taking a tour of the facilities, then the manor has an open day on 6 December, from 4pm to 6pm.

For more information contact Collette.Steadman@ reedbusinessschool.co.uk

Step 2. Watch the expert tutors debrief questions from the preSeptember mock exam.

Access them now to take your exam preparation to the next level!

AAA https://bit.ly/3pN8JIp

APM https://bit.ly/3wfGTYD

AFM https://bit.ly/3QC8HyB

Pap Having a quarterlife crisis?

The number of people experiencing a ‘quarterlife’ crisis (QLC) is becoming a global epidemic, according to psychotherapist Satya Doyle

Graduation time is here again

Thomai Longaki recently attended the ICAEW graduation ceremony. She didn’t let the couple of years’ delay because of the pandemic spoil her day!

On qualification she joined Coca Cola as an FP&A analyst. #charteredaccountant

Byock. She said she has been inundated with requests for her services from young adults struggling with a QLC.

Byock said that many of these people are at a stage of life in which they are trying to accomplish massive things all at once. She said: “Very little attention has been paid to this part of human development. There is a global epidemic of people in this stage of life wondering why they are not understood more.”

Pap ICAEW CPD changes

From November next year, ICAEW is shifting away from its current output-based CPD model for members to a hybrid model. This is a year later than promised. Members currently only have to complete an ‘appropriate amount of CPD’. From November 2023 they will have to carry out a minimum number of CPD hours per year, including a minimum of verifiable hours, with the number of hours varying depending on the role.

6 PQ the PQ Magazine December 2022
August 2022 May 2022 Feb
Operational66%62%62%52% Management69%82%73%73% Strategic58%62%72%67%

•High quality event brought to you by AccountingWEB

• Independent advice from the top experts in accountancy

• The tech you need to thrive, in the sessions and on the show floor

•Inclusive networking events to keep the conversation going

Oil and gas giants revelling in the good times

High energy prices are a major cause of higher inflation. But it is boom time for oil and gas companies. BP has doubled its third-quarter profit to $8.15bn. The company increased its dividend by 10% and will hand another $2.5bn to shareholders through share buybacks, in addition to $7.6bn undertaken earlier this year. Shell’s third-quarter profits have more than doubled to $9.5bn. It is returning $4bn to shareholders through a share buyback, making a total of $18.5bn for the year so far. It also increased its dividend by 15%.

Most of the additional profit is not made by extra investment or effort. Indeed, the cost of producing oil and gas has not changed much, but the selling price has due to market uncertainties. There was expectation that some of the profits will flow to public coffers and enable the government to fund public services and the £60bn cost of its Energy Price Guarantee programme under which average household energy bills will be around £2,500, instead of £3,549. That has not happened.

Shell and BP have not paid any UK corporation tax for the last three years on profits from the North Sea oil and gas extraction. In May 2022, the government introduced a temporary 25% levy on excess profits to raise £5bn in its first year. But Shell does not expect to pay any in 2022. BP may pay £700m.

Inevitably, there is public anger and a more effective windfall tax is on the cards.

Pap Banking on tax receipts!

The UK banking sector generated £38.8 billion in taxes in the financial year to the end of March 2022, a report from PwC shows. This means that the sector accounted for 4.7% of the government’s total tax receipts during that period.

The total contribution is comprised of £18.8 billion in taxes borne – those that are a direct cost –and a further £20 billion in taxes collected, such as income tax and employee national insurance.

Class still a barrier

Many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds still believe that a culture of ‘not what you know, but who you know’ is a barrier to progression and social mobility, according to new research from BDO.

A third of young people from a lower social-economic backgrounds (SEB) say a lack of connections or ‘professional network’ could have a negative impact when applying for jobs.

Almost a third (31%) also believe

that you may be less successful in a job application or interview if the employer or hiring manager has a different background to you.

Differences between the employer and employee’s background are also considered to be a barrier when it comes to career progression and reaching more senior positions.

Almost a third (30%) of those from a lower SEB believe job progression and promotions could be negatively impacted if the person you work for has a different background to you, for example went to a different type of school or were raised in a different area. This compares with less than a quarter (23%) of those from other backgrounds who believe the same.

New Rogo website launched

EdTech consultancy firm Eintech has unveiled a new website dedicated to its flagship product, Rogo.

Rogo was launched in 2011, offering an online testing platform for awarding organisations and training providers. Since then it has amassed users in more than 180 countries, facilitating over 2.2 million assessments so far in 2022 alone.

Specialising in a fully customisable, end-to-end assessment experience, Rogo works with its clients to offer branded, intuitive testing solutions, and the website is designed to take this one step further.

James Carter, CEO of Eintech,

said: “We’re incredibly proud of the growth Rogo has achieved over the past few years, and we’re excited to launch a new website that mirrors this trajectory. Rogo is more than a software platform – it helps

our clients to navigate the new online assessment environment, something that has never been more important.”

To find out more about Rogo visit www.getrogo.com

EY Liverpool welcome new recruits

EY’s Liverpool team has doubled in size over the past five years, with new recruits from local colleges and universities growing the firm’s office in the city.

This month the Liverpool firm welcomes 10 new recruits onto its graduate and apprenticeship

programmes. There are now more than 80 professionals working out of the new offices at Edward Pavilion on the Albert Dock.

Jenn Hazlehurst, Office Managing Partner at EY in Liverpool, said: “I am very proud of the practice we continue to build in Liverpool,

Total employment taxes accounted for £21.9 billion of the total taxes contributed by the sector, equivalent to 6.3% of all UK employment tax receipts. This reflects the large number of highly skilled workers employed in the banking industry.

Pap MPs want a crackdown

A group of cross-party MPs have called on the UK government to start cracking down on accountants and other advisors who help to facilitate tax

avoidance schemes.

Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake revealed that once his business started to make money it was his accountants who suggested he should consider a tax avoidance scheme.

Pap Polluting elite need to pay carbon tax

The time is right for a new tax on the extreme carbon emitters, according to a new report from Autonomy, an independent research organisation.

providing local talent with access to the profession and opportunities to work with exciting businesses across all sectors. I hope next year we take on even more students to boost our presence even further, which is equally great for the local economy.”

The top 1% on its own (around 670,000 people) consume more carbon than 6.7 million people.

The report says there has been a huge missed opportunity to use tax to ensure those who pollute the earth pay some of the cost of cleaning it up! It explains that if a carbon tax had been set at the price proposed by the Swedish Ministry of Finance (£115 per ton of carbon), the revenue raised from the top 1% would have amounted to £126 billion over the last 20-year period.

8 PQ the PQ Magazine December 2022 news

ICAEW September results

PwC students dominated the prizes at the September ICAEW Professional exams, with students picking up order of merit prizes in four of the papers. National Audit Office PQs also picked up two awards.

As always, some ICAEW students think that taking four exams may help their chances of passing. Unfortunately, the two students who tried this approach this time around failed all the papers. And although only nine students attempted the Financial Accounting and Reporting (UK GAAP) exam

just three passed this paper in September – a pass rate of 33.3%!

Business Strategy and Technology had the highest pass rate at 87.3%. Students seems to struggle with Tax Compliance this time around (70.1%). That is down from the 79.2% rate in March.

Some 2,226 students sat just one paper in September and the pass rate here was 71%, leaving 644 sitters with no pass this time around. In all, some 866 or 19.3% of September sitters failed all the papers they sat.

Climate reporting getting better

UK companies are global leaders in ESG reporting, scoring in the top quartile of the 58 countries measured across the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting criteria assessed, according to the findings of KPMG’s Survey of Sustainability Reporting.

First published in 1993, the KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting is produced every two years and this year’s edition provides analysis of the ESG reports from 5,800 companies

PwC back on campus

PwC has returned to in-person university visits for the first-time in two years, following the Covid-19 enforced hiatus.

The Big 4 firm also promised to visit more universities than ever before, including a broader range beyond the Russell Group. More

across 58 countries and jurisdictions.

The latest findings show that there is still a disconnect between the urgency of addressing climate change and social equity, and the ‘hard results’ provided by businesses. That said, KPMG found sustainability reporting has grown steadily. The world’s top 250 companies – known as the G250 –are almost all providing some form of sustainability reporting, with 96% of this group reporting on sustainability or ESG matters.

than 100 UK universities are now on the list.

There will still be a virtual reality option with a new version of its ‘Virtual Park’, to ensure it remains as accessible and inclusive as possible.

•PwC recently announced it was removing the 2:1 degree classification requirement for all its undergraduate and graduate roles, internships and placements. See page 6 of our October issue – go to https://tinyurl.com/y43m86j4

PQ 9 PQ Magazine December 2022 PQ
ICAEW PROFESSIONAL LEVEL 2022 RESULTS SEPTJUNEMARCH Audit & Assurance 75.9%77.6%76.4% FAR (IFRS) 82.1%73.9%69.5% FAR (UK GAAP) 33.3%81.8%33.3% Tax Compliance 70.1%77.6%79.2% Business Planning: Tax 79.1%81.8%75.1% Business Planning: banking 80.0%77.5%Business Planning: Insurance 72.2%82.9%Business Strategy &Technology 87.3%90.2%91.0% Financial Management 74.9%79.3%81.4%


Option pass rates remain low despite new professional marks

Gen Z is generally acknowledged as the most tech savvy generation in history. So it is surprising to learn that Zoomers may not have the technology skills to prepare them for the modern workplace.

A report from the tech multinational Intel has concluded that many young people have a “lack of understanding” in regard to the type of digital skills they will need for the world of work. The corporation had carried out a survey of 1,000 adults aged 18 to 21 about what skills they felt they will need to have in future.

The report states that ‘Zoomers’ may make up as much as a quarter of the UK workforce by the end of this decade and that nine out of 10 of those jobs will require digital skills. However, it concludes: “Gen Z hasn’t been educated about emerging technologies. The acceleration of emerging technologies is outpacing the education system. As a result, Gen Z are not going to leave formal education equipped with an understanding of the emerging technologies that will shape the future workforce.”

The survey found that 55% didn’t understand or had no idea about AI; 70% didn’t understand or had no idea about quantum technologies (like data science); and 50% either didn’t understand or had no idea what cybersecurity was. It looks as though further investment is needed in technology education, so we can assure the continued success of our tech industry.

A total of 86,630 students entered the September ACCA 2022 sitting, and some 99,192 exams were completed. Remote invigilated exams continue to be popular, with 13,321 students choosing this option.

These were the first set of exam results with professional marks given for optional exams (ATX will change from June next year). It was hoped that this would mean a jump in the pass rates. There were very slight increases across these papers compared with the June sitting, but two-thirds of sitters are still failing AAA and APM.

There is a hope that eventually the optional pass rates will look more like those achieved at SBL and SBR.

Talking about the Professional Skills changes, Alan Hatfield (above), executive director –content, quality and innovation, said: “This is an important change in ensuring that our students are work ready and have the strong skills, abilities and competencies required for the future accountant. It’s also pleasing to see some students demonstrate their technical mastery of their chosen specialisms,

Audit reform still needed

Proposals to reform the UK’s audit and corporate governance regime should proceed as planned despite the current political turmoil, representatives of the accountancy profession, business and regulators told an event jointly hosted by ICAEW Manchester and Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS).

However, delegates also emphasised that the government should listen to business over the detail of implementation, and beware of unintended consequences.

Addressing the event in Manchester, Lord Callanan

alongside the professional skills they need to be a successful finance professional in the workplace. We continue to encourage students to make full use of our learning resources to support their studies towards these examinations.”

He reminded students that pass rates remain up to 20% better for those students who use the ACCA Exam Practice Platform.

At the Applied level the pass rate for AA stood out – at 44% it hasn’t been higher since June 2016.


LW 86%; TX 52%; FR 50%; PM 40%; FM 51%; AA 44%; SBL 49%; SBR 51%; AAA 34%; AFM 42%; APM 34%; ATX 43%.

(pictured), the then under-secretary of state for business, energy and corporate responsibility, told an audience of business leaders, accountants, academics and students: “We are definitely proceeding with drawing up the legislation, and I am hoping to get a parliamentary slot to introduce it.” That job now falls to Grant Shapps, the new minister.

Name change for IAB

have changed their name to the Institute of

was made because the new name better

accompanied by a new logo.

New head of early career recruitment Deloitte UK has appointed Lauren McCafferty as its new head of early career recruitment. She joins the firm from PwC where she was UK head of student recruitment. In her new role she will lead the team responsible for the recruitment of graduates and apprentices into the firm.

McCafferty’s appointment follows the recent announcement that Deloitte is taking on almost 2,500 graduates and apprentices across all regions and nations of the UK. The Big 4 firm recently announced that it has recruited 885 audit & assurance graduates and BrightStart

Apprentices in 2022 – more than a 30% increase on the previous year.

EY reports record UK revenues EY’s UK revenues grew by a record 17.2% for FY22, with fee income increasing to £3.23 billion from £2.75 billion over the financial year.

As partners prepare to vote on whether to separate into two businesses EY revealed that consultancy grew 33%, with tax, assurance, and strategy and transactions generating growth of 15%, 11% and 10% respectively.

During the year EY hired a record intake of 1,269 graduates and 204 apprentices - that is a 35% increase year-on-year. EY also increased starting salaries for these graduates by 13%.

The average distributable profit per partner increased by 7% from £749,000 in FY21 to £803,000. As of July 2022, 27% of UK partners were women and 15% were from ethnic minorities, of which 18 partners identified as black or mixed-black.

Taboo surrounding menopause remains As many as two-thirds (66%) of perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal working adults believe there is still a taboo surrounding the menopause, with over two-fifths (43%) saying that it has or could present a barrier in the workplace, according to new research carried out by KPMG UK.

10 PQ the PQ Magazine December 2022 news
The International Association of Bookkeepers Accountants and Bookkeepers. IAB CEO Janet Jack said the change reflects the actual work its members are now doing. The change is
More needs to be done to improve digital skills
Ann a Kat e Phelan is Senior Product Manager at Eintech

Accountants are the new innovators

– don’t be left behind!

Wednesday 7 December 2022, 9.15am–4.15pm

Free online event

The world is changing fast and accountants need to change with it. This event is a great opportunity to look at how accountants can adapt and lead from the front. A shift is happening, so make sure you are on the right side of the curve. We are here to help that happen.

LSBU Business School & PQ Magazine are back with our 6th Annual Conference organised to discuss the important issues, share best practice, address your learning needs and more! We have some fantastic guest experts lined up for you, including:

• Lord Sikka

• Professor Richard Murphy, Tax Justice Network

• Nilushika Alwis, CIMA

• Claire Gravil, NHS England and NHS Improvement

• Sotiris Kyriacou, London Skills Development Network

• Professor Ian Thomson, Lloyds Banking Group for Responsible Business and University of Birmingham

• Dr Ross Thompson, Arden University

• David Rothera, Net Zero Now

• Chris Argent, Generation CFO ...with many more to be confirmed!

During the conference, we’ll explore...

• What innovation looks like for accountants

• Blockchain and how it can change your life forever

• How all firms can become net zero

• What the job market looks like right now

• Integrating carbon accounting into the curriculum

• How the NHS survived the pandemic

This global conference will be delivered virtually and we hope you can join us from wherever you are in the world as we continue to shine a spotlight on the profession & the impact we have on it.

Register here

Net Zero offers accountants a golden opportunity

On Wednesday 7 December, PQ

Magazine and London South Bank University will be hosting their 6th Annual Conference. The big theme this year is innovation and the central role accountants play.

Running an organisation isn’t easy, and accountants are entrusted with their financial security as well as encouraging growth and innovation. There are many ways in which accountants currently encourage their clients to innovate: whether it’s becoming an expert in a specific field or industry; promoting knowledge sharing between clients; keeping up-to-date on the latest technologies; helping clients take advantage of tax relief wherever possible; and more.

It is amazing to be invited to speak at this year’s event, so we can start to add sustainability innovators to the list of ways in which accountants can help their clients.

In one of my previous columns I talked about the work Net Zero Now have done to create the Net Zero Accountancy Protocol, which was developed alongside the UK’s leading accountancy bodies, including ICAEW, ACCA and AAT.

I’m looking forward to sharing more information on the Protocol and its background, as well as why going Net Zero is such a huge opportunity for accountants right now.

If you want to find out more about the conference or to sign up, please go to https://tinyurl.com/3d73wjjf. See you all on the 7 December!

To find out more look at www.netzeronow.org

Sage buys carbon accounting platform

Sage has completed the acquisition of Spherics, a carbon accounting solution that helps businesses understand and reduce their environmental impact.

The acquisition reinforces Sage’s commitment to sustainability. Spherics automates the process of calculating emissions by ingesting data from a customer’s accounting software and matching transactions to emission factors to create an initial estimate of their carbon footprint. The software then guides the customer to refine this estimate by submitting further data for a more accurate calculation –

supporting SMBs on their journey to net zero.

Spherics also helps SMBs apply carbon emission factors to procurement categories (such as delivery, accommodation, electricity and travel) to estimate the associated carbon footprint of a transaction. This approach

Supply chain under attack

Cyber security experts have issued a fresh warning over the threat of supply chain attacks following a number of key incidents, such as the SolarWinds attack.

The National Cyber Security Centre has now published new guidance to help organisations effectively assess and gain confidence in the cyber security

of their supply chains. See https://tinyurl.com/3x53d4td

The new guidance is designed to help medium and larger organisations effectively assess the cyber risks of working with suppliers and gain assurance that mitigations are in place. It describes typical supplier relationships and potential weaknesses that might expose

New advertising protections

The UK’s Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has published new guidance for social media companies, brands and influencers to follow so that people can easily spot a paid-for online endorsement.

The ‘Compliance Principles’ set out how social media platforms should prevent and tackle hidden advertising appearing on their sites. These principles apply to all social media platforms and the CMA expects them to be followed. It said that platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat,

Pap A rival for Telsa?

Saudi Arabia is to launch an electric car company to challenge Tesla. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced a joint venture with Taiwan’s Fixconn to make the country’s first-ever electric car. The new company, Ceer, will use BMW licensed technology.

The money comes from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, but the belief is the joint venture will generate some $150m in foreign direct investment and help support

30,000 jobs. You can expect to see the first finished cars by 2025.

The move is all part of the kingdom’s move away from its reliance on oil.

Pap Late payments rise

Payments to small businesses were made on average 8.2 days late in September, according to the latest data from Xero. This was the highest late payment time since August 2020.

Xero’s Alex von Schirmeister

Pinterest and Twitch have all been engaging constructively to help drawing up the guidelines.

supports customers with spendbased analysis and aligns with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the globally agreed standard for measuring carbon emissions.

Amaya Souarez, EVP Cloud Operations, Sage said: “The acquisition of Spherics represents an important milestone in our sustainability strategy. By combining Spherics’ innovative software with Sage's digital network, we are connecting businesses with their customer and supplier emissions data, enabling easy and collaborative climate action across value chains which helps to reduce carbon.”

their supply chain to attacks, defines the expected outcomes and sets out key steps that can help organisations assess their supply chain’s security.

Supply chain attacks can cause far-reaching and costly disruption, yet the latest government data shows just over one in 10 businesses review the risks posed by their immediate suppliers (13%), and the proportion for the wider supply chain is just 7%.

The principles require platforms to be proactive in tackling hidden advertising, including by:

• Providing their users with tools to label commercial content and to report suspected hidden advertising.

• Improving information to content creators and influencers about what to label as a paid-for endorsement.

• Improving policies and taking action where hidden advertising is found.

• Using technology to identify suspected hidden advertising for action.

said: “The reversal of the tax measures announced in the last Government’s mini-budget has left small businesses in limbo at a time when they need stability. It’s critical that they are paid on time so they can manage their cash flow and handle rising costs.

“We need to see tougher penalties for those big businesses flouting agreed payment terms, and policies implemented that require more transparency in regulation and reporting around late payments.”

Pap More acquisitions for Deloitte

Deloitte has announced its intention to purchase the business and assets of Reformis, a specialist investment management technology and data firm.

Headquartered in the UK and with offices in Australia and the United States, Reformis is a specialist in providing and implementing data and technology solutions to the investment and wealth management market.

12 PQ the PQ Magazine December 2022
tech news
Tech briefs
David Rothera is Climate Project Manager at Net Zero Now
Get your head around the new question types from AAT. Get Rogo. Easily create accurate practice exams with Rogo’s question types, matching the new formats from AAT assessments. Visit getrogo.com to learn more

How long?

I was shocked when I read the FRC’s stats on how many students are still struggling to become qualified after five years of study. The figure of 167,000 seems amazingly high. And, as you point out, it’s more than a quarter of all students. I was also surprised that it was CIPFA who has the most students ‘stuck’ as PQs.

One of my colleagues at work suggested that in the ‘old days’ you could be time-barred if you took too long to qualify. They also constantly tell me how much easier it is to pass now! Apparently, many had to pass all their exams in one sitting or they would have to sit them all again, including the ones they passed

Not easy to say no

I read with interest your story about the tribunal ruling on KPMG staff misleading the FRC Audit Quality Review of its Carillon work (PQ, November ’22). The tribunal said that PQs must always question managers and be more sceptical, but this is just not always possible.

All too often as a PQ you are asked to do something when you are balancing a huge workload, and any new work is just added to that ever-growing pile. When you get to something a manager has specifically asked you to do you quickly get into ‘must-get-this-done’ mode and plough on. Is it really your place to ask whether it is right or wrong every time? Not everyone wants to jeopardise their career progress by appearing to be too bolshy. Managers just aren’t going to like any PQ that questions there every command.

It is interesting to note after saying it was going to heavily sanction the PQ in this case the FRC tribunal actually fined the student nothing!

Name and email address supplied

Well played, ACCA

What has happened at the ACCA?

First, we have new tailored-

first time around. That does seem a little harsh, so some things have changed for the better.

I have opted for a one exam

per sitting approach, and if I fail I then sit two the following sitting (it’s only happened once so far). That seems to have allowed me to progress at a good pace and I am on schedule to pass in around three years. The idea that I would be studying for another two years just seems so depressing.

My question is, what are the professional bodies doing about this specific problem? Are they just happy to take the money and run? I suppose they get the yearly subs and any exam fees. How up-to-date the study texts these students are using is another problem (and cost). The FRC should be asking for their plans to get the percentages down. Name and address supplied

The Accounting Society in Manchester, winner of the PQ magazine Student Body of the Year award in 2022, recent got some of its alumni to give its current members some CV advice. So, how to write a good CV?

Andrea L (below) is now working as an Investment Research Analyst at Aksia and she said you must:

• Always keep your CV to one

made feedback service My Exam Performance, and then it announces a pre-seen for SBL for next year! Both are fantastic news for us students. Then there are the professional marks in the option papers – another great move.

ACCA seems to have a good idea and act on it straight away, something that would have taken several years in the past is to push through. ACCA really is becoming a customer-led organisation at last.

Name and email address supplied

page and one page only, that is truly all you need.

• Make sure you tailor your CV to the role you are applying for, don’t just send out generic CVs.

• Make sure you are using all the key terms used in the description box to maximise your chances of getting an interview.

• Don’t disregard the importance of the interests and hobbies section, it helps to show the sort of personality you have beyond being a student.

Tim Mickleburgh (above), who recently completed a summer internship at Co-op in the audit and risk department, also supplied some great advice. His three tips were:

• Include a link to your LinkedIn profile, in the contact details at the top of your CV, to direct the employer to more detailed content which you don’t have room for on your CV.

• Write about the skills you developed at work, don’t just list your duties.

• Include a range of responsibilities including volunteering roles, and involvement in societies and teams, as these show your willingness to get involved and take on responsibilities.

Our star letter writer wins a fantastic ‘I love PQ’ mug! PQ Magazine PO Box 75983, London E11 9GS | Phone: 07765 386489 | Email: graham@pqmagazine.com Website: www.pqmagazine.com | Editor/publisher: Graham Hambly graham@pqmagazine.com | Associate editor: Adam Riches | Art editor: Tim Parker Contributors: Robert Bruce, Prem Sikka, Lisa Nelson, Anna Kate Phelan, Tony Kelly, Phil Gammon, Edward Netherton | Subscriptions: subscriptions@pqmagazine.com | Origination services by Classified Central Media If you have any problems with delivery, or if you want to change your delivery address, please email admin@pqmagazine.com Published by PQ Publishing Ltd © PQ Publishing 2022
email graham@pqmagazine.com
www.e-careers.com Mon - Fri | 9am - 6pm (accounting) +44 (0) 20 3198 7600 Mon Fri 9am 6pm Excellent Quote ‘ PQBN ’ to get these exclusive prices WAS £695 NOW £495 PASS RATE 82.2% NATIONAL AVERAGE 68% LEVEL 2 WAS £1,095 NOW £945 LEVEL 2 & 3 WAS £695 NOW £495 PASS RATE 87.6% NATIONAL AVERAGE 75% LEVEL 3 WAS £1,295 NOW £1,075 LEVEL 3 & 4 WAS £795 NOW £595 PASS RATE 91.2% NATIONAL AVERAGE 85% LEVEL 4 WAS £1,795 NOW £1,525 LEVEL 2, 3 & 4 ACCOUNTING AMBITIONS WITH US Fulfil your NOVEMBER ASUS LAPTOP INCLUDED WITH OUR AAT PACKAGE COURSES

Study with HTFT Partnership: why would you go anywhere else?

Pick HTFT for AAT

Starting January2023, we have live courses for AAT Level 4 under Q2022, to complement our on-demand options at L3 and L4.

HTFT live: pre-recorded syllabus videos that lead into scheduled live online interactive Masterclasses (with expert tutors), all designed to support your mastering ofknowledge accompanied with computer based tests and mock exams

For more information visit www.htftpartnership.co.uk/courses/aat/

Think ACCA, think HTFT

We have a full suite of ACCA Applied Skills and Strategic Professional coursesfor March2023 examsstarting early December startplanningfor that pass now!

▪ Membership of our vibrant Online Learning Community and access to a dedicated tutor

HTFT Partnership studentnotesand ACCA authorised study text, exam kit and pocket notes

Full syllabus, Topic by Topic recordingssupported by timetabled ‘live online’ Tuition Masterclass sessions recorded, downloadable and playable on all devices

Scheduled ‘live online’ Revision Masterclass sessions recorded, downloadable and playable on all devices

HTFT computer based tests and mock exams, marked,with answers and video debriefs

For more information visit www.htftpartnership.co.uk/courses/acca/

Study CIMA, choose HTFT

Studying CIMA?Our HTFT live, HTFT on-demand and HTFT play resources are all here to help you prepare for, and pass, your exam.

HTFT live: join our expert tutors live online for interactive Masterclasses, designed to support your application of syllabus knowledge.

HTFT on-demand: drive your learning, with full flexible resourcesthat you control

HTFT play: Boxsets of topic recording and Proficiency exam-style practice assessments

For more information visit: www.htftpartnership.co.uk/courses/cima

We have a full setof E pillar and P pillar courses starting in the new year, along with OCS, MCS and SCS for February2023exams

Online College of the Year 2017

Personality of the Year2018

Private Sector College of the Year 2020

Why would you go anywhere else?

For more information email info@htftpartnership co uk www htftpartnership


The CBA pass rates are…

The new assessment pass rates are now in. How does your exam performance fit in with the overall picture?

The computer-based assessment pass rates for the year ending 30 June 2022 are now out. Remember that pass rates are only published for assessments that have been available for at least 12 months or where there has been a minimum of 500 sittings.

The pass rates shown are the rates for all assessments sat between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022.

Please note the information in the tables refers to the pass rates based on the CBAs only and not achievements rates for the qualifications. It is not currently possible for AAT to calculate and provide qualification achievement rates.

Level Assessment name

AccessAccess to Accounting Software

Short codeWorldwide

AASW 82.5%

AccessAccess to Business Skills ABSK 94.1%

AccessAccess to Bookkeeping ATBK 94.6%

FoundationBookkeeping Controls BKCL 67.1%

FoundationBusiness Communications, Personal and Learning Skills BPLS 92.7%

FoundationBookkeeping Transactions BTRN 87.5%

FoundationElements of Costing ELCO 86.1%

FoundationFoundation Synoptic Assessment FSYA 86.7%

FoundationIntroduction to Business and Company Law IBLW 62.1%

FoundationIntroduction to Payroll INPY 90.1%

FoundationUsing Accounting Software UACS 86.2%

AdvancedAdvanced Bookkeeping AVBK 69.0%

AdvancedAdvanced Diploma Synoptic Assessment ADSY 51.5%

AdvancedFinal Accounts Preparation FAPR 80.4%

AdvancedIndirect Tax IDRX 82.2%

AdvancedManagement Accounting: Costing MMAC 86.6%

AdvancedSpreadsheets for Accounting SPSH 78.5%

ProfessionalBusiness Tax BSTX 72.7%

ProfessionalCredit Management CDMT 70.0%

ProfessionalCash and Treasury Management CTRM 71.3%

ProfessionalExternal Auditing ETAU 70.7%

ProfessionalFinancial Statements of Limited Companies FSLC 67.1%

ProfessionalManagement Accounting: Budgeting MABU 71.5%

ProfessionalManagement Accounting: Decision and Control MDCL 60.8%

PQ 17 PQ Magazine December 2022 AAT pass rates
ProfessionalProfessional Diploma Synoptic Assessment PDSY 55.8% ProfessionalPersonal Tax PLTX 62.3% AccessFoundationAdvancedProfessional CBA pass rate* 91.5%81.3%73.8%65.2% End Point Assessments The following table shows the pass rates for the End Point Assessments for year-ending 30 June 2022. End Point Assessments Short codePercentage
Accounts/Finance Assistant End Point Assessment
In-tray test
Assistant Accountant End Point Assessment
Synoptic assessment
Accountant Portfolio and Reflective
Professional Accounting Technician End Point Assessment
Accounting Technician Portfolio and ReflectivePPRF93.9% Graded Qualifications Qualifications awarded by AAT include four graded qualifications. The table below shows a summary of the grades awarded for each qualification between 1 September 2021 and 31 August 2022. Qualifications and grades awarded PassMeritDistinction Foundation Certificate in Accounting 7%47%46% Foundation Diploma in Accounting and Business20%67%13% Advanced Diploma in Accounting 23%56%21% Professional Diploma in Accounting 52%46%3% The provisional date for the publication of the next set of CBA pass rates is the end of March 2023.
ITAF62.8% Structured
Advance Diploma
ADSY59.3% Assistant
PDSY68.5% Professional


It’s time to get nominating for the PQ magazine awards 2023 – this will be our 20th awards night!


PQ of the Year NQ of the Year

Distance Learning Student of the Year

Accountancy Graduate of the Year Apprentice of the Year Student Body of the Year

Accountancy College of the Year –Public Sector

Accountancy College of the YearPrivate Sector

Wow, how did we get here – the PQ magazine 20th award night will soon be upon us!

It has been a fantastic journey and along the way, and we have laughed, cried and danced the nights away! Who could forget Shaun Williamson (Barry from EastEnders) singing Mustang Sally, or Vikki Taylor’s dance to the stage?

PQ magazine held its first-ever awards ceremony at The Cross in London’s King’s Cross on a cold winter’s day in January 2004. Winners on that night were Emma James, our first-ever PQ of the Year, while College of the Year went to Reed Business School, and Lecturer of the Year was Paul Moore.

We then moved to PQ’s most historic venue –the Crypt in Ely Place (it is where Henry VIII got married to Anne Boleyn and then held a banquet that lasted for three days!). Our entertainment that night was Ewan Macintosh, aka Keith from The Office (the UK one). And our personality of the year award went to a whole department – Emap’s business planning unit (Deborah Shroot, Jogs Pankhania, Paul Murdoch and Chris Power).

We then moved to Sirocco, where Skinny Marie and friends entertained the crowd! Who does not love a bit of lip syncing to Abba’s Money, Money, Money?

Fast forward and the fifth annual awards night was held at top London night spot Floridita, where Steven K Amos and Cuban dancers helped the night go with a swing. Among the winners on the night were Kaplan’s Stuart Pedley-Smith (Tutor of the Year) and ICAS (Accountancy Body of the Year).

Quaglino’s then became the home of the awards for quite a few years. Among the entertainers on show were Richard Blackwood and Chris Martin. It is where in 2009 Lord Sikka, then Professor Sikka, picked up the Lifetime Achievement award. Tom Clendon also became our Tutor of the Year, with Personality of the Year going to Lucy Cohen.

In 2015 we moved to the Café de Paris. Paul Sinha, Abandoman (the only act to play two PQ magazine awards nights) and Tom Ward were among the stars who entertained the throng. The final Café de Paris show was in 2020 with top comedian Konstatin Kisin live on

Online College of the Year

Lecturer of the Year – Public Sector

Lecturer of the Year – Private Sector

Study Resource of the Year Podcast of the Year*

Innovation in Accountancy Award Best Use of Social Media Award Training Manager/Mentor of the Year

Graduate/Apprentice Training Programme of the Year

Accountancy Team of the Year Accountancy Personality of the Year

*(a new category for 2023)


18 PQ PQ Magazine December 2022 PQ awards 2023


2020 – Bethany Duffy

Katie works for Essex County Council and is on the CIPFA Level 7 accountancy professional apprenticeship –no small undertaking. Motivated by her own experience of the apprenticeship, she soon got involved in finance graduate recruitment for ECC, making a significant contribution to a number of initiatives designed to attract the best talent into the organisation. In addition, Katie co-ordinated the initial review of applications for the 2022 cohort.

stage wowing a captivated audience. That was late February 2020, and in March everything changed as Covid-19 took hold of the world. A big winners that year was ACCA’s student Wellbeing Hub, along with LSBF TV.

With the pandemic still raging we staged the 2021 awards live online at Rogo’s HQ in trendy Shoreditch. The ‘entertainment’ that night was a game of ‘Bruce Forsyth’s Play Your Cards Right’ between ICB’s Polly Thrasivoulou and ICAEW’s Shaun Robertson!

In 2022, it was back to ‘normal’ and we moved to a new venue at Proud Embankment. Comedian Graeme Mathews and the only female Mariachi band in Europe entertained the packed venue. Our PQ of the Year was Katie Harwood and the Accountancy of the Body PQ trophy went to ICAEW.

Well, that’s all in the past now. We have 20 new shiny PQ awards up for grabs, plus a couple from the editor, giving you lots of chances to pick up a coveted trophy. We also have a new PQ up for grabs – Podcast of the Year!

The plan is to hold our 20th ceremony in April next year, and we would love you to join us to celebrate. What we need now is your nominations! Just go to www.pqmagazine.com and download the nomination form by clicking on the ‘PQ awards’ bar at the top of the home page. Alternatively, you can just send us your entry direct to us, making it clear which category you are entering. Remember to add your details – if your nominee gets shortlisted you are coming to the coolest awards, too!

So, how can you win one of our awards? Our advice is to keep to the word count. We have

After leaving school at 15 and gaining straight into the military, Simon’s life has certainly been a colourful one. The pandemic caused him to re-evaluate his career goals, after being deployed back to the UK in March 20202. He decided to give AAT a go and has not look back. He completed his Level 2 exams in just six months, and moving onto Level 3 he completed the indirect tax unit with a score of 96%. Simon has certainly come a long way in a very short time.

Grant Thornton’s Bethany Duffy has a boundless infectious enthusiasm and does everything to an amazing high standard and always with a smile.

She completed all her AAT Level 3 and 4 exams through distance learning, including five Level 4 exams between August 2019 and January 2020, achieving marks of 96%, 95%, 92% and 91%. A valuable member of the Carlisle Public Sector Audit (PSA) team, she became the software champion for Inflo.

increased it this year to 500 words – but try not to go over that as the judges don’t like it when you do. If you want to provide supporting material then just attach it to the nomination form/email. The judges do see everything relevant.

This is not the time to be shy, we are happy if you nominate yourself. We understand not everyone is appreciated for the work they do!

Once you have everything together send it

to awards@pqmagazine.com or post it to: The Editor, PQ magazine. PO Box 75983, London E11 9GS.

As we said earlier, all entries will be looked at by our independent judges, who then create the shortlist and decide on the winners for every category.

Deadline for nominations is Friday 10 March 2023 – but don’t leave it to the last-minute please!

PQ 19 PQ Magazine December 2022 PQ awards 2023
2022 Katie Harwood 2021 – Simon Cordell

A day in the Life…

Nationwide CIMA apprentice Sean Lucas wants to change perceptions and explains why it’s important not to take no for an answer

Sean Lucas is an accounting technician and Level 7 CIMA Apprentice at Nationwide Building Society. So why did he choose an apprenticeship over university? So why did management accounting appeal to him as a career? And how successful are his aspirations to change how disabilities are perceived in the business world? Here’s what he said:

“I’m 21 and left sixth form with A Levels in Law, Psychology and Core Maths. I joined Nationwide as a Level 4 CIMA Apprentice straight from school. So far, I’ve worked in two different roles here. My first was consolidating society-wide reports then analysing the numbers to produce commentary for the senior management and directors. I’m in my second role now, looking at product costs and regulatory returns.”

The best of all worlds

“Although I had an opportunity to go to university, I wanted to gain experience in a working environment and study for a qualification at the same time. With apprenticeships, you get the best of both worlds: gaining experience, earning a wage, getting a qualification and applying your knowledge without getting into financial debt. It’s a great career opportunity and apprenticeships deserve more publicity.”

Why management accounting?

“I’ve always liked working with numbers and problem solving. CIMA has a good reputation and management accounting appealed to me because it is a highly reputable profession with good career prospects. Also, the skills you acquire can be transferred to other sectors, not just finance. I’m now an Accounting Technician and working towards Level 7 of the CIMA Apprenticeship and my CIMA Professional Qualification.”

All-round support

“I have cerebral palsy, which affects my speech and movement in all four limbs. I use an electric wheelchair and communicate via an alphabet board. CIMA has been very supportive in all aspects of my apprenticeship, especially to accommodate my specific needs. Nationwide has been supportive throughout, too. Me and my manager have regular one to one meetings to see how my studies are going and I get advice and support for study leave, courses and exams.”

The power of opportunity

“I’ve found that my CIMA studies are really relevant to my role. It’s helped me enhance my knowledge and understanding of the wider finance world. When I get my CGMA status, I’d love to build a career as a Finance Business Partner or Manager. I’m hoping to focus on a career in finance at Nationwide, but I am keen to try new roles to continue to develop and

learn throughout my career.”

Championing inclusion and diversity

“I’ve run presentations and Q&A sessions for my colleagues to raise awareness of severe physical disabilities and how they affect people in the workplace. I’ve done a lot of work to ensure my current office is now fully accessible both, including getting a tracking hoist added to a bathroom, making all fire exits accessible, and adding ramps to the exterior of the building. A proud moment was winning an internal award at Nationwide for my work in inclusion and diversity.”

Apprentice of the Year

“CIMA nominated me for the PQ Magazine Apprentice of the Year award. It came as a complete surprise when I won! One reason I won was my determination to succeed, particularly during the Covid-19 lockdowns. My additional needs mean I can’t sit exams virtually, so I did all the learning and then sat three exams in two and a half months. I get extra time for my exams, so I spent seven-and-a-half hours on my CIMA Level 4 case study! It’s not something I’d recommend anyone to try, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.”

Don’t take no for an answer

“I’m a big advocate for other young people with physical disabilities who want to build a career in accounting and finance. My advice? Fight for it and don’t take no for an answer. Be clear about how a potential employer can help you – but also be realistic and ask for what’s reasonable. Ultimately, if you want something, you’ve got to give it a go. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. And if it does work, you’ll never look back.”

•This article was first published on cimaglobal.com in August 2022

20 PQ PQ Magazine December 2022 changing perceptions – PQ award winner
For more information and to receive 15% off your ICB Exemption application, call ICB HQ on 0203 405 4000 and quote ICBPQ Email us at exemptions@bookkeepers.org.uk www.bookkeepers.org.uk/PQ PQ with AAT, ACCA, ICAEW or CIMA? Why wait? Join ICB today! Fast track your career by using your existing qualifications to join the world’s largest bookkeeping organisation. As a Certified ICB Bookkeeper you’ll benefit from: Professional status and recognition Free legal and technical advice-line Local and national events Resources, webinars, templates and help sheets Accounting news, emails and updates Discounts with 100s of retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, ASOS, and Curry’s And being part of a community that really cares The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

Futures made simple

Financial futures are part of both ACCA FM and AFM, but tested at different levels of depth. Here Sunil Bhandari explains the basic principles behind futures

Futures as a hedge

So now I am a business that purchases oil to use as part of the production process. The next purchase date is in a month’s time.

The price on the primary market is currently $100 per barrel. But we are concerned this price may well rise before the purchase date. So, the concern is that the oil price could rise on the primary market. This is what we call the downside risk. The change in the price that could hurt the business.

But if the price rises on the primary market, it will rise on the futures market. Hence, the hedge is to ‘buy’ on the futures market at $100.

A month later, the primary price has gone to $120. So the purchase has cost the business $20 more than expected. But the futures price has risen to $120. The profit on the derivative will cover the extra purchase cost.

What if the oil price falls rather than rises? Let’s say it goes to £75. The business will only pay that on the primary market, and it saves £25.

However, the futures price will also fall and as the hedge was ‘buy’ at £100, there will be a loss on the derivative of £25.

But, in both cases, the effective overall cost to the business is $100. That was the objective, and it has been achieved.

The terminology

Futures has its own language, and you just need to know enough of this to get the marks. It’s like going abroad on holiday, you just know enough of the local lingo to have a good time.

So here is a summary of the key terms:

•Buy – Bet on a rise.

•Sell – Bet on a fall.

Futures are a derivative product. They trade on futures and options markets in the major financial centres –London, New York, etc..

Futures are linked to a primary product (e.g. oil) or index/value (e.g. Forex rate). The futures value moves in the same direction of the primary. This is a key point.

Futures for speculation

This maybe a surprise for some students, but futures are used for speculation. Let’s take a simple example.

I believe the price of oil will rise. So I could go on the primary market and

purchase a barrel of oil for, say, $100. I store it in my garage (and check my house insurance policy!).

I wait a month, and the oil price has gone up to $120 and I dispose of the barrel. I make a profit of $20. More importantly, my wife feels the house is now safe.

However, rather than do the above, I could use the futures market – I want to speculate/ bet on a price rise. As I want to bet on a rise, I would ‘buy’ at today’s futures price, let’s say $100. Then a month later I would ‘sell’ at $120 and make a profit of $20.

I have put buy and sell in quotation marks as I will talk more about these terms later.

•Basis – Difference between primary and futures values (unlike in my example, they are not quite the same value on all occasions).

•Basis risk – Due to imperfections in the markets, the hedge may not be perfect. Take my business example above; the primary my rise by $20 but the futures by only $18.

•Margin – Traders on this market need to deposit funds to cover any potential losses.

Futures and Islamic Finance

Futures are a form of speculation and hence not allowed under the Sharia law. The nearest Islamic Finance product are Salam Contracts.

•Sunil Bhandari is an ACCA AFM and FM tutor with FME Learn Online – see www.SunilBhandari.com

PQ 23 PQ Magazine December 2022 ACCA FM/AFM

AccountingWEB Live Expo

There’s still time to sign up for the UK’s largest accounting community in-person event – Accounting WEB Live Expo 22 on 30 November and 1 December

Whether you are looking to discover the latest tech stacks, meet new and innovative suppliers or just network with other accountants and hear the latest advice direct from leading industry experts, then AccountingWEB Expo Live is for you.

There is a jam-packed programme of informative and engaging keynotes and panel session over the two-day event. Among the industry experts on show are Rebecca Benneyworth (pictured), Carl Reader, Lucy Cohen, Alistair Barlow and Nick Levine.

So, if you are struggling to get on track with MTD ITSA or just don’t want to be left behind with the fast-moving world of accounting technology then this event has been created just for you.

There are more than 55 sessions up for grabs at the Coventry Building Society Arena. See https://www.accountingwebliveexpo.co.uk/

There are five content streams: tax and

compliance; innovate and inspire; tech and fintech; people and culture; and strategy and growth.

That means attendees looking to brush up on their tax knowledge can expect to see informative and engaging panels on MTD ITSA, property tax (including the 60-day reporting), the VAT penalty reform, IR35 and payroll issues. They’ll also get the chance to take part in a Q&A session with HMRC.

The Expo also takes place seven days after the Chancellor’s recently-announced Fiscal Event on 23 November. Sessions across both

Forest project

days will look at the economic impact of the announcements on the day, review the tax implications plus look forward to the March 2023 Budget.

There’s also an opportunity for attendees to navigate new ways to grow their practice and focus on their own personal development.

Small business expert Carl Reader has put together a number of keynotes and panels that will empower attendees to discover what clients want in 2023, how to reach new clients in an uncertain climate and the unique opportunity to put your questions directly to three practice owners with award-winning experience.

For those at the leading-edge of accounting tech, the exhibition will also host a panel weighing up the pros and cons of cryptoassets. Is the popularity of crypto a flash in the pan or do accountants need to arm themselves with the latest information related to their tax and accounting treatments?

There’s lots more on offer too, and it’s all free! To sign up go to https://tinyurl.com/2pkjn9m7

24 PQ PQ Magazine December 2022 events
AccountingWEB has partnered with First Nation as part of its commitment to sustainable business practices and reducing its carbon footprint. It says it wants to be taking proactive measures to make a positive difference. Forest Nation is a UN accredited tree planting organisation, and has now created an AccountingWEB forest with 5,000 trees already planted in Tanzania, with a bio-diverse range of fruit and local trees, aiding with carbon capture, creating jobs locally and improving the habitat for local wildlife.
ACCA Careers is dedicated to helping ACCA students develop their careers. With hundreds of entry level global job opportunities and over 400 career advice articles, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Visit jobs.accaglobal.com today
Check out its progress at https://tinyurl.com/56xtvnjx

Introducing My Exam Performance

ACCA’s Jacky

and James Patrick unveil the association’s latest innovation for students

My Exam Performance will take you through your exam performance, highlighting strengths and weaknesses as well as providing guidance on how to improve and key areas to focus on. And the insight provided will be essential when preparing for a re-sit.

For students who pass their exam, My Exam Performance will be a great support tool. Helping you to understand your strengths and where improvements can be made, leading to improved performance in future exams.

Time management is another critical factor in how successfully an exam is completed – it’s easy to spend too much time on a topic you feel confident about but run out of time for other questions. My Exam Performance includes a section on time management across the exam, syllabus area feedback and performance on the different question types. It will compare students’ performance against our recommendations, as well as providing guidance on how to improve and include links to relevant resources that will support each area of feedback.

But don’t take our word for it. We ran a successful pilot following the June exam session with 1,000 students from around the world and here’s what they had to say:

“I just wanted to let you know that My Exam Performance was really helpful. I was able to analyze the areas I need to focus and also how to manage time. Really appreciate the way you have presented it. I am sure this will really help all the students.”

“It’s a great initiative. I found it to be beneficial for all, to understand the short comings and to improve ourselves for the next try. Or much better to understand which areas we lack in.”

“It was quite a great summary of how I performed in each section of the exam. I wasn’t able to complete the exam on time so this helped me understand where I could have changed my approach.”

Have you ever wanted to know how you performed in all areas of an exam?

You’re not alone, and that’s why ACCA has launched a new tool for students to review their exam performance, My Exam Performance, which highlights strengths and weaknesses.

To help students better progress to their goal of ACCA membership, we’ve developed a tool

to give tailored feedback on exam performance for all students taking Applied Skills exams –and we plan to include Strategic Professional students in the future.

Whether you pass or fail an exam, My Exam Performance will help you. If you fail, it will be your first step to get back on track. For most of us, some exam topics are stronger than others.

If you want to find out how to get the best from My Exam Performance, take a look at our user guide and tutorial videos and get ready to understand your exam performance on a whole new level.

•Jacky Bateman is head of ACCA qualifications. James Patrick is head of education solutions and students support

PQ 25 PQ Magazine December 2022 ACCA spotlight

How to make the switch to digital training

James Carter explains why making the switch to eLearning is easier than ever

Since the start of the pandemic, the switch to online learning has shown no signs of grinding to a halt, especially for those studying for qualifications in the accountancy sector. Training organisations that initially only delivered their courses in-person are now looking to make greater use of eLearning, but what will make the switch to digital easier than ever?

Seamless integration

It’s understandable that training providers may be reluctant to step away from their existing CMS, CRM or LMS platforms, especially if student engagement rates are already high. Plus, making the switch can often come with concerns about losing crucial data.

However, platform integration doesn’t have to be difficult – in fact, it could be the most

seamless part of the entire switching process.

Rogo has a simple set of Application Programming Interface (API) instructions that makes integration with other platforms easy. Here at Rogo, we understand that not all LMS platforms work the same, so if data needs to be transferred in bulk, our software is compatible with SCORM test importing, flat text importing, and CSV importing.

Streamlined automation

For students who are less familiar with studying online, the range of options available can become overwhelming. However, automating the online learning process can help keep students engaged and motivated with their studies, especially at times when additional support may

be required, like during the onboarding process. Automation can help to streamline the eLearning process through scheduled feedback and reminders, ensuring that students receive the information they need, when they need it.

Progressive optimisation

It’s important that as your organisation grows, your eLearning platform can grow with you. The ability to scale your online assessment platform is essential in ensuring you don’t limit your student’s capabilities. Comprehensive online accountancy training should no longer be seen as a temporary fix, but rather a long-term innovative solution that continues to be improved to best suit the needs of those working towards professional qualifications.

Are you ready to make the switch?

More than two years on from the start of the pandemic, eLearning platforms continue to develop and meet the demand for remote learning, especially as it shows no signs of slowing down. Here at Rogo, our platform is designed with accessibility in mind. As your partner in online course delivery, we understand that streamlining and automating your eLearning software is the key to making the switch to digital training as seamless as possible for both students and teachers alike.

To find out how Rogo can help make the switch easier for you, visit www.getrogo.com •James Carter, CEO, Rogo

26 PQ PQ Magazine December 2022 online learning
YOUR WELLBEING HUB Maintaining a positive mindset while studying can be challenging. Our wellbeing hub provides a range of resources and podcasts from our wellbeing ambassador to help support you throughout your ACCA journey. Explore ACCA wellbeing hub bit.ly/3ULGPdY

Time to get professional

The new Strategic Level professional marks should be easy to pick up. Paul Merison explains how to earn them on the AAA paper

are the 2 or 3 priority risks and have a short conclusion justifying why. ISAs say biggest risks depend on SUCCM, so use those words in your justification (as well as materiality of the risk):

a.Subjective item.

b.Uncertain item.

c.Change – new issue this year.


e.Management likely to use item to manipulate FS.

3. The questions are likely to tell you how to calculate materiality (e.g., on profits). Do what it says, calculate a range (e.g., 5-10% of PBT), then select a number from that range and say why (the lower figure in the range will usually be easiest to justify, because of all the risks you are about to put in your answer).

4. If the requirement makes any other specific requests, do them… and make CLEAR you have done them (e.g., as requested, I have not covered the risks relating to accounting for the new pension scheme).

5. Criticise ALL assumptions management have made, highlighting that they are potentially too optimistic, and suggesting why management seem so keen to massage the figures.

6. For all ethics, quality management and other scenarios where you are “evaluating” the situation, have a short conclusion.

Given there are likely to be several evaluation requirements needing a conclusion, several management assumptions to criticise and several reasons management are biased, the above points are likely to get you half the professional marks easily.

What’s that? You want more than six ideas? Half the professional marks are not enough for you?

Any change to an exam paper can seem scary – to us tutors, as well as students!

All that uncertainty. No past papers for guidance. And “professional marks” sound so vague and woolly.

From the September 2022 sitting, Advanced Audit & Assurance (AAA) has 20 professional marks available. Stripping those out of each question means Questions 1-3 are now worth 40, 20 and 20 technical content marks, meaning in effect the professional marks represent another question in terms of marks available.

These 20 marks cannot be ignored. So, the killer question:

What can you do to help ensure enough of these professional marks are being earned? What this article is NOT going to do: The professional marks come in four categories, but I fail to see how knowing those categories helps you earn the marks. So, I am going to ignore that aspect. ACCA’s website has videos explaining them, so I suggest you invest 15 minutes watching them.

What this article IS going to do: Simple. I am going to tell you the easy wins. Just do as I say,

and you can hoover up the easier professional marks without any stress.

Three quick points

This article is aimed purely at AAA. Some of it might help on other Options papers, but since I do not teach those, I would not want to comment!

Secondly, when ACCA change things they tend to evolve over time, so as sittings pass and we get more information, keep your eyes open for updates in these tips.

Finally, ACCA has helped us all by rewriting three recent past exam papers from 2020 and 2021 and adding a new mock with 20 professional marks included. USE THEM!

Simple to-do list for AAA professional marks

1. In Q1:

a. ensure you use the To/From, Subject, Date set-up at the start of your Briefing Notes. b. have an Introduction listing your content (i.e., the requirements).

c. use headings throughout your answer.

2. At the end of your audit risk (or risk of material misstatement) answer, decide which

Good job! Nice to see some motivation. Here are some less simple ways to get professional marks:

7. Write clearly (easier said than done!).

8. Wherever possible, use the scenario information to illustrate points you make.

9. If you do calculations, present them neatly (in a table, perhaps).

10. Consider the long-term implications of the scenario for your audit firm, and the audit client.


Do not let the 20 professional marks worry you. There is nothing complicated or scary here – just make sure you know what earns those marks, and practise writing answers and earning them as often as you can.

At the very least, go onto the ACCA Practice Platform and ensure you have attempted and reviewed the practice exams, specimen and mock with the 20 professional marks included.

And if you are at a tuition provider, do the mock exam!

•Paul Merison, Director of Professional School, LSBF

PQ 27 PQ Magazine December 2022 ACCA professional marks

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Mind matters

Mark Foley has five top tips for mastering complex exam topics

worth taking the time to truly understand each major topic in CIMA’s CGMA syllabus.

One way to test whether you have a solid grasp of a concept is to try explaining it in a variety of ways, such as:

• Thinking of an analogy using a subject of particular interest to you, such as football or cricket.

• Drawing a simple illustration or diagram of the concept.

• Listing real-life examples that illustrate the scenario.

You could also try using the Feynman technique, which involves explaining a concept in the simplest terms possible, without jargon, to someone else. As the other person asks questions, they may reveal gaps in your knowledge. You can then focus your studies on filling those gaps before explaining the concept again.

Switch study techniques

Complex exam topics can be anxietyprovoking. But nothing beats the ‘eureka’ moment when concepts finally click.

Challenges in CIMA’s CGMA professional qualification journey will differ for everyone, but the ‘P’ papers, meaning the objective exams under the performance pillar, are likely to top the list for many.

Whichever exams or concepts you find most challenging, the good news is your brain can form and strengthen connections with the right study techniques.

If you get confused during revision, try these tips for making sense of complex topics.

Look at the big picture

Before diving head-first into complex material, take a macro view of the study text for the topic you’re reviewing.

If you’re working with a textbook, review the table of contents first and chapter introductions to understand the objectives of the material better. Or, if there is a particular topic you’re struggling with, try reading the headings, subheads and bullet points throughout that

chapter or reference material to get an overall grasp of the concepts before homing in on the details.

Study in short, consistent bursts

Research shows that pacing yourself rather than cramming can strengthen your brain’s retrieval and storage capabilities. Aim to structure your study time to include breaks, leaving time for your brain to absorb concepts.

Our brains thrive on a balance of focused and diffuse thinking, so try reading over a complex topic and then letting it simmer for a day or two before returning to the material.

In addition to spreading out your study time, it can help to break complex topics into smaller pieces. For example, if you’re struggling to understand financial instruments, try focusing on one type at a time, such as futures or options.

Try explaining concepts in different ways

If you’re struggling with a concept, it might be tempting to memorise the definition and move on. However, concepts often build on one another throughout the CIMA journey, so it’s

Try switching to writing or question practice if you’ve been pouring over a textbook for hours. Other potential learning modes include:

• Watching videos on the topic.

• Writing an explanation of a concept.

• Listening to podcasts on the subject.

• Creating a mind map connecting the concept to related topics.

• Making flashcards of key points.

The point is to try several techniques until your brain latches on to the material.

Find a tuition provider

If you’re not already working with a CIMA Registered Tuition Provider, consider finding a course provider to help guide you through the material.

Tuition providers know the exams inside and out and receive regular updates about any exam changes. You can choose between in-person, online and hybrid study options.

When you’re struggling with a complex topic, nothing beats expert guidance.

•Mark Foley, Director of Relationship Programmes – Management Accounting at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing AICPA & CIMA

PQ 29 PQ Magazine December 2022 CIMA spotlight
Get Started Today Start your studies the same day - 24 hour online access with instant access to tutor support. Learning Resources Award winning learning resources including printed books, eBooks & e-learning, videos and quizzes.

During your studies for AAT Level 2, you may be asked to calculate the overtime premium amount as part of a labour costs question. This can sometimes cause some confusion as students do not know how to approach this task, and incorrectly split the basic and overtime amounts.

Hourly rate employees

The hourly rate is a set amount an employee is paid for each hour worked, however what happens if they work more hours than the standard number of hours expected for the week?

Overtime refers to the hours an employee has worked above their standard week.

Overtime premium is the amount paid above the employee’s standard hourly rate. If an employee is paid £10 per hour and received ‘time-and-ahalf’ for overtime, the amount would be calculated as £10 x 1.5 = £15 per hour. The overtime premium amount will be the £5 extra paid, in addition to the standard hourly rate of £10 classed as the ‘basic’ rate. There needs to be an incentive for an employee to work outside their usual working hours, especially if late at night or over the weekend, hence being paid a higher rate.

It is important to read the question carefully, as you may be asked for the ‘overtime’ or ‘total overtime’ amount, which in the above example would be the £15 per hour. However, if you are asked for the overtime premium amount, then this is the extra bit only, so the £5 in this example.

Let’s look at an example

Callie Ltd pays £12 per hour for direct labour, for a standard 40-hour week. If the employees work more than 40 hours each week, the overtime is paid at time and a quarter.

Calculate the gross pay for the week for the following three workers:


The overtime premium is based on £12 x 1.25 = £15 £15 - £12 basic pay = £3 overtime premium

H.Jobbins 40 hours x £12 = £480 K.Kumar 42 hours x £12 = £504 plus 2 hours @ £3 = £6. Gross wage £504 + £6 = £510

T.Fletcher 48 hours x £12 = £576 plus 8 hours @ £3 = £24. Gross wage £576 + £24 = £600

Note: The gross pay will be the same regardless of which method you are calculating.

Now have a go!

In the above example, you can see the overtime is based on the hours above the standard 40 hours for the week, so for K. Kumar, two hours x £12 x 1.25 = £30 overtime.

This example is asking for the overtime amount only. We will now look at the same question, however, calculate the overtime premium instead:

30 PQ PQ Magazine December 2022 AAT exams
Karen Groves explains how to approach a typical AAT Level 2 question on the overtime premium amount and how to calculate it
Employee Hours worked Basic pay £ Overtime £ Gross pay £
40 480 0 480
42 480 30 510
48 480 120
H. Jobbins
K. Kumar
T. Fletcher
Employee Hours worked Basic pay £ Overtime premium £ Gross pay £ H. Jobbins40480 0 480 K. Kumar42504 6 510 T. Fletcher48576 24 600
Employee Hours worked Basic pay £Overtime premium £ Gross pay £ B. Cooper38 S. Martinez40 F. Szur 44 Answers: Employee Hours worked Basic pay £Overtime premium £ Gross pay £ B. Cooper38 570 0 570 S. Martinez40 600 15 615 F. Szur44 660 45 705
per hour
hours @
an AAT tutor and AAT Course Director at e-Careers
Lottie Ltd pays £15 per hour for direct labour, for a standard 38-hour week. If the employees work more than 38 hours each week, the overtime is paid at time and a half. Calculate the gross pay for the week for the following three workers, and show the overtime premium amount (the hours worked are paid at the basic rate with the overtime premium being the increased pay only):
Overtime premium = £15 x 0.5 = £7.50
B.Cooper 38 hours x £15 = £570 S.Martinez 40 hours x £15 = £600 plus 2
£7.50 = £15. Gross wage £600 + £15 = £615 F.Szur 44 hours x £15 = £660 plus 6 hours @ £7.50 = £45. Gross wage £660 + £45 = £705
Groves is


The December sitting will be here before you know it. What you need is some exam tips and guidance! So, with the help of BPP here they are

Performance Management PM

Section A will have 15 two-mark OTQs on a wide range of topics. Expect a mix of calculation and discussion-based questions, note that there are no marks for workings in this section. Good time management is key as it is easy to get caught up in a tough calculation which ultimately will only be worth 2 marks. Never be tempted to spend more than 5 minutes on any question in this section.

For section B there are three separate scenarios with five objective test questions on each scenario; each question is worth 2 marks. Questions are not dependant on each other and can be answered in any order. Each scenario could be a mix of topic areas or focused on one topic and will usually consist of two/three calculations and two/three narratives.

In section C there are two 20-mark questions, which could be from, but 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). Familiarity with the CBE software is vital as you may be expected to use both a word processing and spreadsheet format for your answer. Learn standardised layouts for calculations such as variances, learning curves and limiting factors. This will save you time in the exam and also mean that you are less likely to make mistakes. The split of marks tends to be approximately 40% calculations and 60% discussion, so don’t neglect the written elements of this paper. Make sure that you always fully explain your ideas. Interpretation and application are important skills that are tested in this paper so make sure you make full use of the scenarios that you are given in the exam.

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 returns.

Other topic areas 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 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

corporation tax loss reliefs and gains.

• Trading loss reliefs for both companies and sole traders.

In section B 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 you have 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 to show not just sound technical knowledge, but also the application of that knowledge to the question you have been asked.

At least 50% of your revision time should be spent answering the section C questions in the practice and revision kit to build confidence and speed in a way that will also maximise marks.

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 a heading. Use the cell formulae to link the workings answer into your pro forma – then if you change the working the main body will be automatically update.

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 long.

4. Your exam will be in the CBE software and the spreadsheets have some differences to the software you may be accustomed to, so it is crucial you practice using the CBE software, especially for section C type questions.

5. Remember you cannot insert rows into the CBE spreadsheets. So, leave plenty of space on the page (especially when setting up proformas). You may need to add something in and you can always go back and move workings up the page. Show workings down the page, rather than across the page as it makes them easier to mark. Well‐spaced 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.

ACCA December exam tips PQ 31 PQ Magazine December 2022
Continued on page 32

• 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. 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 the answer. It might be right!

Financial Reporting FR

Section A:

• 15 two-mark OTQs on a wide range of topics including several on consolidation and interpretation of financial statements that will be covered in detail in section C.

• Expect a few questions on non-core areas (e.g. inflation, specialised entities).

• Read the scenario, requirement and answer options carefully and ensure you capture the correct information from the scenario to answer the requirement.

• Don’t leave any questions unanswered – there is no harm in guessing if you are unsure of the correct answer (the same is true in section B).

Section B (case questions):

• Three separate scenarios with five OTQs on each scenario; each question is worth 2 marks.

• Each scenario could be a mix of topic areas (for example revenue and receivables are often related, as are PPE and leases) or focused on one topic and will usually consist of two/three calculations and two/three narratives.

• 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 of financial statements and the other preparation of financial statements.

• One question is likely to be in the context of a single company and one in the context of a group, so you could be faced with a single company interpretation and a groups preparation or vice versa.

• Accounts preparation questions may include extracts or standalone calculations or full statements. Students expect statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income and statement of financial position to be asked, but don't forget about the statement

of changes in equity and the statement of cash flows too.

• Both questions will require knowledge from other areas of the syllabus, particularly the accounts preparation question which will have a range of adjustments covering various areas.

• A single entity accounts preparation question from a trail balance or restatement of given financial statements with common adjustments being 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, and revenue recognition.

• Group accounts preparation questions will provide the separate financial statements (or extracts thereof) of the parent and relevant subsidiary(ies) and associate. Candidates should be prepared to set out the standard workings for goodwill, non-controlling interests, movements in net assets, retained earnings as those are commonly examined. Other common adjustments are intragroup sales of goods, intragroup sales of assets, dividends and fair value adjustments.

• ACCA has clarified in the 2022-23 syllabus that a consolidation accounts preparation question could include up to two subsidiaries and one associate (previously it was one subsidiary and one associate) which allows

PQ ACCA December exam tips 32 PQ Magazine December 2022
Continued from page 31

additional scope for examining the disposal of a subsidiary (including as a discontinued operation). Candidates should be prepared for such a question from September 2022 onwards.

• Candidates continue to find the interpretations question challenging. In both single entity and group interpretation questions, candidates must avoid making generic statements about the movement in ratios and instead focus on using the information in the question to, for example: identify key changes in the period (e.g. change in sales mix, closed down an operation, purchased a new subsidiary); identify transactions that would cause inconsistencies between periods or between balances (e.g. revaluation of assets for the first time, particularly if the revaluation was at the end of the period); identify any changes in accounting policies or estimates, or classification (e.g. one company presents expenses as part of cost of sales whereas another presents as part of administrative expenses).

• ACCA has clarified wording in the 2022-23 syllabus to emphasise the importance of the statement of cash flows in interpreting financial statements. Candidates should be prepared for such a question from September 2022 onwards.

Audit & Assurance AA

In section A there will be three mini-case style scenarios, each with five 2-mark questions based on the scenario (30 in total). Each minicase question will test single topic areas of the syllabus and so will test syllabus areas A, B, C, D or E. Expect questions in section A to focus on areas A and E.

All three questions (one 30-mark and two 20-mark 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 18 include:

• 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 (Substantive procedures & tests of controls.

General advice: Where questions are based on a scenario it is essential that you use the information in the scenario to score the identification marks and then develop this to score the explanation marks.

The exam provides a table for you to complete your answer. For example, audit risk questions will have a table with two columns, one for ‘audit risk’ and one for ‘auditor’s response’ with each properly explained point being worth one mark. Using this tabular approach encourages you to answer both parts of the question, therefore maximising your marks.

Pay attention to the verbs used in question


Each section B case-study will be broken down into three 10-mark mini case studies. The case study will then be broken down into 5 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 (currency risk and interest rate risk).

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 section E is business finance. Whichever of these three topics does not feature in section C is likely to appear in section B of the exam.

These tips should only be used in conjunction with proper study. We cannot guarantee that these topics will appear in the actual exam as we have not seen the exam papers.

Examiners are not predictable so it is vital that all core syllabus areas are revised fully.

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 per point.

Finally, it is essential you read the Examiner’s Reports which are issued twice a year after the June and December exam sittings. These are an invaluable source of advice and provide a sample section A OTQ case style question as well as three constructed response questions from the March/June and September/December sittings. Not only do they provide the example questions but these are accompanied by a commentary from the examining team which gives guidance on interpreting the question requirements and common mistakes/areas of weakness noted during the marking process. These reports can be found on the ACCA website: https://www. accaglobal.com/uk/en/student/exam-supportresources/fundamentals-exams-study-resources/ f8/examiners-reports1.htm

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 also 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).

Questions from syllabus section C (working capital management) are likely to be broad ranging so a good broad knowledge of this syllabus section is important. Candidates are sometimes exposed by a weak understanding of working capital finance.

Questions from section D (investment appraisal) are likely to feature NPV with inflation and tax, however it is important to also be able to answer questions that include risk, leasing, asset replacement and capital rationing. Section E (business finance) questions often either feature an evaluation of financing options (interest coverage and gearing ratios are likely to be important here) or calculation and analysis of a company's cost of capital.

Strategic Business Reporting SBR

It is important that you read the examiner's approach article on the ACCA website. ACCA has also published several exam technique and technical articles that you should read as part of your exam preparation. These are available in the exam technique section of the SBR exam support resources section of the ACCA website www.accaglobal.com

The exam section A will be 2 questions, worth 50 marks in total – both are compulsory.

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 provide calculations if these are asked for. A 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, where asked explain the principles underlying the calculations you have performed. If a question simply asks for a calculation, you do not need to provide an explanation, unless this is specifically indicated in the requirement.

• Time-keeping is key to passing this question. A recent examiner report identified that students were spending too long writing

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detailed answers to the first parts of question 1 and then not attempting the later parts. The marker cannot award more than the allocated number of marks for each part of the question, so to maximise your marks, you must make sure you attempt each part of the question. Make sure you work out the time you have available for each question, and for each part of the question and then stick to it.

Question 2 - 20 marks, including two professional marks:

• 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 and going forward the examiner has stated that the question will make it clear what these marks will be awarded for.

Section B will be two questions, worth 25 marks each:

• 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 an essay.

• 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 the scenario.

• 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 investor's perspective.

• 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 for cryptocurrency, accounting for the effects of a natural disaster.

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 a particular question – it is 1.95 minutes per mark (or 1.8 minutes per mark if you allocate 15 minutes to reading the paper).

Generally, you will be awarded 1 mark for each relevant well-explained point in the SBR exam. Make sure you make enough points for the marks available - for example, if the requirement is worth 8 marks, you should aim to make 8 relevant, well-explained points.

It will be easier for the marker to award you marks if you lay out your answers clearly, leaving space between your points. You can use the spreadsheet (and spreadsheet functionality) to do calculations. If you do use the spreadsheet, make sure you cross reference to any narrative discussion, if appropriate.

Some requirements state that you do not need to refer to an exhibit to answer that particular requirement. Where this is the case, then it is recommended that you follow that advice and stick to general discussion, rather than referring to the scenario.

Use the 'cut' and 'paste' tools wisely – e.g. do not cut and paste into your answer large sections of the exhibits as the examiner has stated in a recent examiner's report that this will be obvious to the marker, and will gain no marks. If you wish to use cut and paste, the examiner recommends just copying and pasting relevant parts of sentences and then adding your own comments.

Strategic Business Leader SBL

As with all other ACCA current 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 ‘lasts’ 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 syllabus content.

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. The 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 numerical analysis.

General advice: While 4 hours (240 minutes) can 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.

ACCA recommend spending around 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 type up your answer. There are 80 technical marks on offer so by dividing the 200 minutes by the 80 technical marks we derive 2.5 minutes per mark. You can earn the 20 Professional Skills marks by virtue of attempting the 80 technical marks on offer.

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 marks). 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 answer. 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

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calculations for the sake of it will only serve to waste your time in the exam.

Using computer software: Ensure you practise timed exam questions using the ACCA CBE software. You need to be comfortable reading and highlighting the exhibits on the screen as well as taking notes in the scratch pad. It will be easier if you plan your ideas and set up your answer structure in the software, in the form of headings. The exam software comprises a word processor, a spreadsheet and some presentation software. The word processor will be used for answering the majority of the tasks. Any calculations you perform should be in an appendix in the spreadsheet software. Tasks requesting slides should be completed in the presentation software.

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 behaviours:

• Communication.

• Commercial acumen.

• Analysis.

• Scepticism.

• Evaluation.

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 Skills.

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 B (performance measurement systems and design) and section C (strategic performance measurement).

Section A (50 marks) contains one compulsory question broken down into sub requirements. You will often be required to link 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 examined in this context but don't neglect non-financial issues from syllabus section C such as quality management, value for management and reward systems.

Q2-3 section B:

ACCA have said that one of the section B questions will come from syllabus section D (performance evaluation). This means you have to have sound knowledge of the balance scorecard, building block and performance pyramid models. In addition you will also need to have a good working knowledge of activity based management (ABM) and value based management (VBM).

The other question can be sourced from a variety of syllabus areas including quality management, information reporting (e.g. big data, lean information), HR frameworks (e.g. reward & appraisal systems), transfer pricing and environmental management accounting.

General advice: APM is primarily a skills-based exam which tests the ability to apply knowledge to practical problems. This is now even more important as 20% of the marks are awarded for professional skills. Make sure you aware what these skills are and that you are confident in your ability to integrate these into your answer to the technical requirements of a question.

However, application of knowledge is only possible if you have a good range of technical skills in place. So, even though APM is not about reciting technical knowledge, it is absolutely vital that candidates ensure that they have a good broad knowledge of core technical areas (e.g. characteristics of Big Data, lean information, six sigma).

Advanced Taxation ATX (UK)

The exam will comprise of two compulsory questions within section A which will both be of a case study style. The first question will be 35-marks in length and the second will be for 25-marks. One of these questions will focus on personal tax issues and the other will focus on corporate tax issues. In Q1 there will be four professional skills marks, and in section A there will be five marks on ethics.

Section B will comprise of two compulsory 20-mark questions. These will be in a more succinct, note form style.

The exam will test candidates’ ability to analyse and evaluate the tax implications of various situations, numerical calculations will only be required to assist in producing an answer and no purely numerical questions will be set. Topics/scenarios we would expect to see are:

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• Personal income tax scenarios which could involve: investing in a pension; investing in EIS, SEIS or VCTs, share schemes; employment income possibly with termination payments; a personal service company; property income or a takeover.

• Unincorporated business – particularly including loss reliefs, partnerships or basis period rules.

• A question focussing on overseas issuesthis could be income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax or a corporate scenario.

• Capital gains tax versus inheritance tax including availability of reliefs.

• Corporate scenarios – likely to focus in more depth on intangibles; research and development; losses; corporate groups or consortia.

• Special corporate scenarios such as liquidation; purchase of own shares; close or investment companies.

• 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 assets.

• 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 you can 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 frequently examined.

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

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 and the split of both technical and professional skills marks.

Section A will comprise a case study, worth 50 marks, split into 40 technical marks and ten professional skills marks, and will be 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.

Ten professional marks will be available in section A and will be awarded based on the demonstration of professional skill within a candidate’s answer, including communication, analysis and evaluation, professional scepticism and judgement and commercial acumen.

Section B will contain two compulsory 25-mark questions, with each being predominately based around a short scenario. The marks will be split into 20 technical marks and five professional skills marks. 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 articles below).

Five professional marks will be available in each Section B question for demonstrating professional skill in analysis and evaluation plus at least one of professional scepticism and judgement and commercial acumen.

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.

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 at least two different syllabus areas. This emphasises the importance of having a good broad knowledge of the syllabus and not targeting your final exam revision on a small number of syllabus areas.

Section A 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, interest rate or current hedging, and risk management (e.g. mapping).

Q2-3 section B:

• Risk management (currency or interest rate) including the functions and structure of a treasury department.

• Dividend policy and general financing issues.

• Real options including limitations of approach.

• Business reorganisation.

General advice: The examining team have stressed 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 final 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. This is now even more important as 20% of the marks are awarded for professional skills. Make sure you aware what these skills are and that you are confident in your ability to integrate these into your answer to the technical requirements of a question.

PQ ACCA December exam tips 36 PQ Magazine December 2022
Continued from page 35 Award-winning AAT courses and apprenticeships mindful-education.co.uk/students Flexible learning to suit your lifestyle

Separate Legal Personality – part 2

In the final part of her series, Marina Matyukhina looks at three relevant cases and explains the outcomes

The article follows on from ‘Separate Legal Personality – part 1’, and aims to help LW (ENG) and LW (GLO) students understand when the veil of incorporation can be lifted if the ‘actor’ behind the veil is another company. So far, most of the situations with lifting the veil in a group of companies have been unique. Rather than a set of principles what we have is a series of cases.

Behind the veil: another company Compensation for disturbance under compulsory purchase orders

Let’s look at three cases, two where the veil was lifted, and one where it was not.

In all three, land was compulsorily purchased by city authorities from one company, but there was another related company that had an interest in that land.

In Smith, Stone and Knight Limited v Birmingham 1939, the parent owned land occupied by its wholly owned subsidiary. When the land was compulsorily purchased, the parent claimed compensation for disturbance to the business and won. The veil was lifted on the grounds that the subsidiary was acting as the parent company’s agent.

In DHN Food Distributors Ltd v Tower Hamlets LBC 1976, the situation was the opposite: the subsidiary owned the land and was paid under compulsory land purchase. Yet the purchase also disturbed the whole business. DHN was a group of three companies importing and distributing groceries. The subsidiary in question owned the group’s only warehouse to which no alternative could be found. Also, all three

companies had common directors. Lord Denning MR held that the subsidiaries were ‘bound hand and foot to the parent company’ and the veil was lifted. The companies were treated as a single economic entity, similar to their accounting treatment.

However, not all claims for compensation for disturbance have been so successful, particularly, when the ultimate goal was to compensate the shareholders’ loss.

In Woolfson v Strathclyde Regional Council 1978, the city compulsorily purchased properties occupied by Campbell Ltd operating a bridal clothing shop. The shop units were rented part from Mr Woolfson directly and part from Solfred Ltd. Solfred, as well as Campbell, were owned by Woolfson and his wife. Woolfson and Solfred claimed compensation for the disturbance of business.

The House of Lords found the structure and control over business distinguishable from DHN. Although the Lords acknowledged the loss suffered by Woolfson, they stated that the ‘special value’ element had already been included in the compulsory purchase price and that compensating any other shareholders’ interest would be ‘too remote’ to justify lifting the veil.


Another group of cases where the corporate veil is regularly attacked concerns the employer’s negligence. Several prominent cases involve a well-known energy company, Cape plc (part of Altrad group since 2017) that used to mine asbestos in South Africa.

The first legal action was initiated in 1974 in a Texas court. Over 400 US employees of Cape’s marketing subsidiary sued both the subsidiary and its UK-based parent. Their claims succeeded against the American company, and against Cape.

However, since Cape was a British company, for the judgement to be enforced either Cape had to consent to be subject to Texas jurisdiction (which they clearly would not) or the claimants had to prove that Cape was present in the US.

In 1990, the employees reached the UK courts (Adams v Cape Industries plc 1990), and their attempt to enforce the decision failed as Cape’s presence was not established: it had no ‘fixed place of business’ in the US.

In the late 1990s, over 3,000 employees of Cape’s South African subsidiary applied to the UK courts claiming damages for personal injuries from asbestosis. Cape plc successfully argued the case should be heard in South Africa, but the claimants reversed this judgement on appeal (Lubbe v Cape Plc 2000). In 2003, Cape and its successor settled out of court with the plaintiffs. The parent company paid out over £7.5 million and subsequently established a fund of £40 million for claimants based in the UK.

In Chandler v Cape plc 2012, Cape was successfully sued by a former employee of its South African subsidiary. The judge applied dicta made in Lubbe v Cape Plc 2000 and imposed liability upon Cape for the subsidiary’s negligence. However, he paradoxically dismissed any suggestions about lifting the veil of incorporation referring to the very specific circumstances of the case.


In compulsory purchase cases, courts often ignore separate legal personality, but are very hesitant about doing so in subsidiary negligence cases.

•Marina Matyukhina FCCA is a law tutor with FME Learn Online. For part one of her feature see page 32 in the October issue (https://tinyurl.com/y43m86j4)

PQ 37 PQ Magazine December 2022 law

When the going gets tough…

Deciding to study, finding a course, enrolling on that course, and then starting to study is an achievement. When interviewing potential students as the Head of AAT at an FE College with the largest national AAT provision, I have had students literally jump up and down with joy when they have been accepted on the course.

Once that initial hurdle is overcome, and you start to study in earnest, you are fully aware that your studies will be hard work but keeping your long-term goal in mind helps keep you motivated.

However, whatever your academic background and motivation levels, there is always a time when it becomes harder and harder to settle down to study. For everyone there is a different reason for finding it difficult to study, whether it is resentment that your social life is being curtailed, the demands of a young family, or even a partner who was initially encouraging but has become less supportive. Perhaps you are just tired and/ or simply feel that it is all too much and that you cannot possibly succeed?

Well, you are not alone, it happens to everyone at some point. However, the difference between success and failure is how you approach the situation.

Firstly, recognise how you are feeling and give yourself a little time to acclimatise. For some people that is only an hour or two, others need a few days, but don’t let the time slip away. Agree with yourself how long you are going to take and stick to it.

While you are taking your mini break, your brain will be working in the background and when you are ready to start again, it will already have solutions for any issues to start working on.

Next formulate a plan, if you are behind in your studies then set out a new timetable rather than try to catch up in your normal study time. Ask your training provider for help. Good students have set times in the week that they allocate to studying, so if you haven’t done that then make sure to write out a weekly plan. You will probably have to tweak it as you go until you have a plan that works.

If your studies are impacting on those around you, then chat to your family and work out a solution with them which allows them to support you. Promise of dedicated family time can be used as a reward for both children and partners. Whatever you agree with them, you need their support.

Personally, when I don’t want to work and just can’t get going, I break tasks down to smaller and smaller chunks. Perhaps simply switching my computer on. Then I get drawn in, I open emails and chat software. Within a short period of time, I am tapping away at a task that only 15 minutes earlier seemed far too daunting. I recognise that I can only do what I feel able to do at any given time. And so can you.

Finally, give yourself little rewards each time you study, you deserve them!

•Cath Littler, Head of Learning (Accounting) at Mindful Education

Cath Littler brings a wealth of experience having coordinated the AAT’s largest FE training provider and as a published author. A former member of the AAT’s Learning and Development Board she has a track record of improving exam pass rates by 50% – by reviewing teaching methods and delivery order.

In her current role as a Trainer and Consultant for the AAT, Cath is involved in a wide range of AAT projects including External Quality Assurance and End Point Assessing.

Cath also leads Mindful Education’s accounting team, and ensures the highest standards across their accounting offering.

Mindful Education creates award-winning online courses and apprenticeships which set a new standard in the digital delivery of education. If you are interested in studying an AAT qualification using the Mindful Education Online and On Campus blended learning approach then visit the Mindful Education website to find your nearest provider.

38 PQ PQ Magazine December 2022 keeping motivated
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A question for Tom

Top tutor Tom Clendon answers another of your questions, this time on an issue that frequently causes confusion for students


How is it possible to enter into a sales contract but the business not to recognise any revenue?


It is indeed possible to sell something but not to record the transaction as a sale. This is because it is necessary to faithfully represent the economic reality of transactions and to report substance over form. In short, we should be reporting the truth.

Let me take you through an example with a sales contract but where it would be wrong to report any revenue.


A timber merchant has inventory that takes one year to mature before it can be used. The inventory cost $100,000 and is sold for $150,000. The buyer is a bank. As part of the sale agreement the timber merchant has agreed to repurchase the inventory in 12 months’ time for $165,000. In the meantime, the timber merchant continues to be responsible for the timber’s storage.

The wrong answer

Dr Cash $150,000

Cr Revenue $150,000

If the timber merchant records the receipt of $150,000 as revenue (and therefore reports a profit of $50,000 on the transaction) then that is just plain wrong.

Whilst legally there has been a passage of title, in reality, the timber merchant has not sold the inventory – after all the bank never takes delivery of the timber and the timber merchant has an obligation to pay the money back (with interest!).

To record the transaction this way would be unethical and it would


CIPFA spotlight

overstate profit and understate liabilities.

The correct answer

Dr Cash $150,000

Cr Loan (liability) $150,000

Where there are two linked transactions, it raises suspicions that there might be a conflict between the legal contract and the economic reality. It is necessary to consider the two transactions in the round to arrive at the truth.

The timber merchant should reflect that the receipt of $150,000 from a bank is really a loan secured on the asset: as under the arrangement $150,000 cash comes in and then 12 months’ later goes out again with an extra 10%.

The timber merchant is under no performance obligation to deliver any timber to the bank. The bank does not want the timber as such and does not carry any risk or reward associated with owning the timber. The bank merely has legal title as a form of security in the event the timber merchant defaults on the loan.

This type of transaction is known as a sale and repurchase arrangement.

•Tom Clendon is an online ACCA SBR lecturer and former PQ Lecturer of the Year. See www.tomclendon.co.uk

How accountancy can beat crime

Education can shine a light into the shadows where corruption thrives, says Sarah Shreeves

Corruption exists in all global economies and impacts across all sectors. No citizen is immune from corruption, and it is something that finance professionals should know about and be able to recognise. It can be tempting to ignore difficult and uncomfortable issues like corruption and indeed it can be challenging to spot. It hides in the shadows of local, national and international economies. It is motivated by need and greed and can become a vicious circle that’s difficult to break. If we are to beat corruption, we must take this vicious circle and turn it into a virtuous circle of integrity instead.

The first and most important step towards getting rid of corruption and corrupt behaviour is to be aware of it. If finance professionals remain aware of corruption and the many forms it can take, they can recognise when it is happening and raise the alarm. It’s no good to simply punish illegal behaviour after it has happened. Rather, it is crucial to arm individuals with the knowledge to stop corruption before it even has a chance to take hold.

While awareness is vital, it is also important to

understand that there is no quick fix. Corruption takes many shapes and happens across so many parts of the world. So, what works for one organisation may not work for another.

A many-pronged attack against corruption is needed. Things like education and training are vital, enabling people to spot corruption when it happens. Culture changes from top to bottom are sometimes needed, as is strong leadership that sets a good example for others to follow. In addition, whistle blowing, and prevention

strategies also play a part and should be encouraged.

Key pillars of good financial management are accountability and transparency. If processes are recorded properly and robust governance and assurance is in place, corruption is made more difficult. A central part of stamping out corruption is shining a light into the shadows where it thrives.

CIPFA is a trusted partner to the public sector, and we want to empower finance professionals to deal with corruption through education. CIPFA provides world-leading public sector-specific qualifications, including a new international anticorruption risk assessment qualification. This qualification will be launching as a pilot next year in selected countries as part of CIPFA’s ongoing campaign to ensure that public finance is a place where corruption cannot flourish.

By educating ourselves and working together we can deal with corruption properly if it does happen and work towards eradicating it altogether. Good public financial management is crucial to achieving that goal.

Shreeves is Head of Training at CIPFA

40 PQ
PQ Magazine December 2022 reporting sales

Who needs a classroom?

Idon’t think I am alone as a tutor in preferring face-to-face teaching over online courses. But the question is whether we will ever return to the classroom in the same numbers as in the past.

Recent events acted as a trigger to elevate online from an option to a necessity for most students. If nothing else, this has revealed alternatives to classroom study to those who had never considered it as an option. It also promoted the many platforms available to allow this to happen.

To me this this has been a vindication of the potential for online training. I have spent 15 years developing and facilitating online training for everyone from individual ‘user choosers’ to Big 4 accounting firms. I have been accused of being evangelical in relation to the potential that online training had to change the training landscape. All too often it has been regarded as a poor relation to classroom training, regarded as a low-cost alternative or to be used only when classroom was not available.

I have never understood the willingness to downplay online provision, as it gives the training provider and the students and/or clients some fundamental advantages:

•Recording: The nature of the medium means that it is easy to record a session, meaning that it is available to anyone missing it or for recap and review. I am aware that something in the order of 40% of my students were making use of the recorded content.

•LMS: The tuition sessions can be linked more effectively to testing, additional reading or recorded lectures, mock exams and more. Simply a more coherent and comprehensive study package is possible.

•Location: Students may be anywhere in the world. I have taught a session where someone from Korea was attending alongside someone from the Caribbean, quite some geographical spread. More pertinently, we had a training solution for a client in CIS linking all regional offices across multiple countries.

•Access: The medium makes assisting students so much easier; using the same contact details as the tuition session you can jump on a meeting and resolve matters quickly and easily.

•Course design 1: Traditional course structures based around a half- or full-day

session necessitated by a physical meeting can be discarded. Instead, the session can be designed around academic best practice –for example, lunchtime one-hour sessions are very popular with students.

•Course design 2: It makes it possible to add additional sessions and feedback loops as a bridge between teaching and revision.

•Time: You save all that time and cost travelling to and from a classroom.

•Cost: No need to support expensive infrastructure and the need to pass that cost onto the student.

Sometime around the beginning of 2020 (go figure!), online became a thing and online became the only alternative. I have been very interested to hear from students as to their teaching preference and have polled frequently as well as more informal questioning.

Almost without exception students told me that they want classroom teaching but the funny things is that this has not translated into significant numbers coming back on classroom courses. The reality is that the desire to come to college and benefit from face-to-face tuition hits a number of obstacles for many. Many are still working from home for a significant proportion of the time, and why would anyone make a specific trip into town for an evening session if this is the case?

The familiarity of online interaction has made online tuition seem more normal.

Fundamentally, many have changed the way that they live, be it in terms of willingness to travel or valuing their time previously spent commuting.

So, is classroom teaching dead? The answer is no, there will always be a place for classroom teaching. The difference is that online training is now a more important medium in many circumstances. It threatens to become the norm across the board as the majority of students either choose or are effectively forced to choose online over classroom.

It is certainly a different experience to classroom training but in my view the positives outweigh the negatives from an academic perspective, simply the overall learning experience can be considerably improved by online provision.

Do we really need the classroom any more? Some may want it but the need has gone. Online is now the dominant medium – something likely to have profound consequences on tuition providers.

•Rob Sowerby is a tutor and former director of a major tuition provider. He is the founder of KeepStudySimple.com, a consultancy that provides training solutions across academic and professional training

PQ 41 PQ Magazine December 2022 the future of learning
ONE WEBSITE TO RULE THEM ALL! Check out the funky website Go to pqmagazine.com – where nothing is fake, and all the news is real!

Ask PQ’s very own agony aunt Karen Young when you need advice from a real expert.

Email your dilemma to graham@pqmagazine.com, and he will pass on the best ones to Karen


I’m struggling with my relationship with my manager. He has very high expectations and I’ve come to realise he is a perfectionist – do you have any advice with dealing with this?

Firms need a purpose

A new survey shows most employees consider an organistion’s purpose before joining

Over half of employees (62%) consider an organisation’s purpose before deciding to join, with over a third (36%) saying that their purpose was just as important as their salary and benefits package.

New research from Deloitte discovered over a fifth (21%) of respondents stated that purpose had helped them to decide between job offers. The survey found that 84% of respondents valued working somewhere that

In brief

Pap Huge fine for Glencore


It’s a positive you have spotted the warning signs early on so you can work out how best to deal with them. Leaving a role because the relationship with your manager didn’t work out is common, so addressing any issues early on will help you feel more settled.

If your boss is a perfectionist, they will tend to not see the bigger picture and instead get caught up on the details on what is urgent and pressing, rather than what’s important longer term.

Set some boundaries, such as by saying: “As I know my current workload well plus my home commitments, I realistically believe that by setting a new date of X we will achieve a more thorough and well considered outcome for this.”

You might feel anxious when your manager spots a mistake; however, try to keep a positive mindset. Also, when mistakes are made, be the one to voice what you or the team has learned from it. Come up with a strategy for it not happening again. This will give your manager reassurance and a new way of viewing mistakes as a learning experience, with positive outcomes, rather than a disaster.

• Karen Young is a director at Hays. She is passionate about helping people to find the right job and companies the right person

Glencore Energy Ltd will pay £281 million after a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation revealed it paid £26 million in bribes to gain preferential access to oil in Africa. At Southwark Crown Court, Justice Fraser said that “the facts demonstrate not only significant criminality but sophisticated devices to disguise it”, before sentencing the commodities trading giant to pay a fine in response to the seven charges of bribery. The confiscation order is not only the largest ever for an SFO case, the total amount Glencore will pay is the highest ever ordered in a corporate criminal conviction.

organisation (83%) also scored highly. Respondents also thought it was important that organisations actively play a role in securing a better future for the next generation (80%).

Over a quarter (29%) of 16–24 year olds also said they left their organisation as they felt it was ‘not true’ to its purpose, and 17% of

Pap Insolvencies on the rise

UK businesses are weathering increasingly challenging economic conditions and the number of insolvencies in Q3 2022 increased by 40% year-on-year, said PwC Toby Banfield. He explained that there were 5,595 company insolvencies, and small businesses account for the overwhelming majority of these. The three industries seeing the highest number of insolvencies in the 12 months ending Q3 2022 were construction with 3,949 insolvencies, followed by wholesale and retail trade & repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (2,910), and

this group left their organisation as they didn’t feel aligned to its purpose. In comparison, only 8% of 55-64 year olds and 11% of 65-75 year olds cited not being true to its purpose as the reason they had left their organisation. Only 4% of those aged 55-75 say they had left an organisation because they did not feel aligned to its purpose.

Deloitte’s Payal Vasudeva said: “Employees are more attracted to organisations where they can find purpose in the work they do. Organisations need to show genuine commitment to purpose if they want to retain and attract employees.”

accommodation and food service activities (2,478).

Pap Deloitte

rejigs top team

Deloitte has announced a rash of new appointments to its UK executive team. In a major overhaul, it is being reported that the Big 4 firm has axed half of its 16-person executive team and replaced them with younger partners. Among the leavers is managing partner Stephen Griggs, who is being replaced by Philip Mills. Three women are also leaving the top team, with just one replacing them. That means female representation in senior posts falls from 37.5% to 28.6%.

The PQ Book Club: books you should read

Stop Talking, Start Doing by Shaa Wasmund and Richard Newton (Capstone £11.99)

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of starting, explain the authors of this engaging tome. It is, as they say, the be-all and end-all of this book, after all.

Most people don’t start until they realise they have ‘got an itch’. The good news is the mere act of starting is what makes things change. So starting is itself a guarantee of success because you are already saying farewell to the status quo.

Wasmund and Newton stress that time is your spur to get up and act and that is exactly why

you have to start now…

I like these people because they like a list, just like me!

Lists help you prioritise and beat procrastination. If you have a huge list of ‘things to do’ they suggest you choose three that can make your day a successful one.

They also tell the story of legendary hotelier Conrad Hilton, who kept a photo of the Waldorf Hotel on his desk to help him maintain his focus and avoid distraction and procrastination. That photograph was there for 18 years until he bought the hotel! What do you have on your desk?

I really liked what they said about failure and fantasy goals,

too. The mere act of pursuing your dream means wherever you end up it will be somewhere different.

Falling short of your target or changing direction can still be a success.

Equally, they say keep a wary eye out for inappropriate goals – don’t set yourself something that guarantees failure. Why would you do that?

PQ rating: 5/5 This book can really give you the kick up the pants you need. Now start whatever you were going to start!

PQ 43 PQ Magazine December 2022 careers
Dear Karen

Anti-cheating hats here…

A photo of students sitting college exams wearing anti-cheating hats in the Philippines recently went viral. Students were asked to wear headgear that would stop them looking at other student’s papers.

Mary Joy Mandane-Ortiz, a professor of mechanical engineering at Bicol University

College of Engineering, was the tutor behind the ‘experiment’. She told the BBC that she had been looking for a fun way to ensure integrity and honesty in her class, and had been inspired by an idea from Thailand.

The trend has now been set and other schools and universities in other parts of the country are

planning for their students to create anti-cheating headwear.

Interestingly, Professor Madane-Ortiz said her students performed better this year, having been motivated by the strict examination conditions to study extra hard.

Many of them also finished their tests early, she said – and nobody was caught cheating this year.

Both ACCA and the ICAEW are known to be looking at this new initiative for 2023.

The marshmallow dilemma

Can you toast sweets?

According to HMRC, a sweet is a sweet, even if they can be cooked on a campfire! We are talking marshmallows here, and the revenue presented

Got an old phone?

A collective value of £1.02 billion worth of unused smartphones has accumulated in consumer households in the past three years, according to new research from Deloitte, with consumers upgrading their handsets while leaving older devices in cupboards or drawers.

Deloitte’s Digital Consumer Trends survey revealed that of those consumers who bought or received a new phone in the past year, about seven million (38%) held on to their old device.

This year, Deloitte predicts that around seven million smartphones, with an average trade-in value of about £75, will be retained as consumers upgrade to newer models. These older devices will have a cumulative value of over £500 million across the UK in 2022 alone.

Consumers are generally uncertain of the value of their devices, with just a third (34%) claiming to know what their smartphone is worth today.

Among those that upgraded their phone in the year to 2022, around one in five (21%) exchanged their old device for money, either by selling, trading-in or recycling. One in four (24%) exchanged it for free (given away or recycled), and 7% of phones were lost, thrown away or stolen.

Of the consumers who kept their unused smartphone as a spare, 31% did so in case their new device was lost, stolen or broken. Some 14% of consumers claim they could not be bothered to get rid of their old phone, while 5% were unsure who or where to sell their device to.

Innovative Bites mega marshmallows with a bill for nearly £500,000 in VAT for its confectionery treats. The problem is a product that is used for cooking can be zero-rated!

The court noted that the marshmallows were often placed in the ‘world foods’ shopping aisles rather than with the other confectionery.

The wholesaler has now been given the go ahead to appeal the VAT charge and the judge, Jonathan Cannan, ruled that on balance he felt the product could not be described as confectionery so should be zero-rated. HMRC is looking at the judgement.

A taxing message

A mural in Somerset of the late Queen was vandalised just hours after it was finished. Graffiti artist Sam Gaden said he will repair the damaged picture, and a new Perspex cover is now planned to protect the mural.

The words “pay inheritance tax” were painted over the picture, and one of the Queen’s teeth was also coloured black.

King Charles is exempt inheritance tax under a 1993 agreement, although he has volunteered to pay income tax (as the Queen did). PM at the time John Major’s agreement means the King avoids the 40% levy, which applies to assets valued at more than £325,000.

Some 25% of the profits from the crown estates (worth £15.2 billion) are given to the royal family as a grant. The estate includes royal paintings and archives. These assets cannot be sold by the monarch and have been surrendered to the government. That means the government would in effect simply be taxing itself in respect of these assets.

Is the SEO a CEO?

It appears many people in the UK do not understand basic tech terms. When asked what an SEO was (search engine optimisation), some 24% of respondents said it was the highestranking person in the company (that’s the CEO). Some one in 10 thought a firewall was a flame-retardant barrier, instead of a network security device.

The Panda Security poll also asked what a VPN was. Again, many did not know it was a virtual private network and got it confused with a VPL – a visible panty line!

Web of Make Believe

PQ magazine has a new must-watch recommendation – Nexflix’s Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet. Check out the Stingray episodes which start with counterfeit Beanie Babies and quickly moved to massive tax frauds. The ending isn’t something you would expect, either.

Over the two programmes we follow Daniel Rigmaiden who ‘does the things people just think about doing’ – which is just as well! He schemed to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by filing income tax returns for dead people, pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars. When he was arrested the authorities found 230 ounces of gold and 588 ounces of silver in his possession, which eventually covered the cost of the case when sold!

44 PQ the PQ Magazine December 2022 got a story, funny or serious, you want to share? Email graham@pqmagazine.com
Photographs ©Mary Joy Mandane-Ortiz

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