PQ magazine, February 2023

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Right now accountancy and the way it is taught, and the way it is ‘undertaken’, is inadvertently fuelling the climate crisis, says Professor Ian Thomson.

In fact, he would go one step further – the way in which most people do their accounting actual incentivises climate change.

A keynote speaker at the recent PQ magazine/LSBU 6th annual conference, Birmingham University’s Thomson said there is an urgent need to decarbonise the hidden carbon curriculum in university accounting degrees, and that doing nothing is no longer an option.

The problem is that the environment was seen as a marginalised issue by many accountants until recently, yet all transactions past, present and future have a direct effect on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). They aren’t a subsection, and can no longer be seem that way, he claimed.

Thomson said: “All the

decisions and actions taken by institutions, governments, business, communities and individuals impact on greenhouse gas that enters our atmosphere – it is ubiquitous.”

He wants everyone to envisage a world where everything came with a GHG price tag as well as a financial price tag. Imagine a world where every decision maker is carbon sensitive and climate literate, with every decision taken accounts for the GHG consequences, he said, and every accountant is able to calculate the impact of every decision.

Thomson believes this is where we need to be right now, and accountants are in breach of their ethical duties if they aren’t doing it, he said.

Yet right now, nothing has a definitive GHG tag and very few accountants are able to

calculate the climate impact of any decision.

Thomson stressed: “When


What pay rise did you get last year? Millions of people in the UK are currently on strike to fight for the salary they think they were worth. New research from Hays shows over the past year (2022) accountancy and finance employees received an average

pay increase of 6.5%. PQs did a bit better than that (6.8%), and you will also be pleased to hear that 86% of employers say they plan to raise salaries further in the year ahead.

So, what does that mean on the ground? A PQ in London is earning

anything between £33,000 to £38,000 depending on which qualification they are studying. Top earners were studying ACCA or CIMA. In Wales the takehome pay for a PQ ranges from £27,000 to £30,000. The lowest area for PQ pay in the UK is

accountancy students graduate they should be asking themselves what carbon accounting competencies or capacity they have on graduation.” He felt we are not preparing our students for the actual types of decisions they are going to be required to undertake.

He is worried about the lack of lecturers who can teach the impacts of climate change and how to deal with notions like stranded assets and stranded liabilities, which are challenging businesses’ ability to carry on as going concerns.

Things have changed where he works. Birmingham Business School was the first university in the world to integrate climate change throughout its accounting and finance degree programme, so it’s in every core module.

To find out more go to https:// tinyurl.com/ycyxw7u6 (go to 4.37).

Northern Ireland, where an ACA PQ can expect a salary of around £24,000.

Qualified accountants received one of the highest pay increases, at 8.1%, which is good to know for professionals working towards qualification!

See page 30 for the full salary guide per region.

Incorporating NQ magazine
February 2023

What are you doing on Wednesday 8 March? If you are free then come along and see us at The Octagon, Queen Mary University of London, for our second free evening seminar. This time we are looking at the future of audit, and plan to have some top speakers on the night. It’s not a late one either and I would love to see you there. You can sign up at https://tinyurl.com/3hk645n3

As always, we have lots of great stuff for you in this month’s edition. All the CEOs of the major accountancy bodies have looked into their crystal balls to take a look at how 2023 may pan out. Being able to see all these leaders’ thoughts in one place is what makes us unique.

Hays has a salary survey out (page 30), and we discover the CIMA qualification is becoming the CGMA qualification (page 4).

I am also looking for ‘accountants with talent’ to perform at the PQ magazine awards! Do you know someone who could be a star on the evening? If you do then email me at graham@pqmagazine.com.

And we need your entries for the awards themselves. We have all the categories and details on how to enter on page 17. As we always say, you can’t win it if you’re not in it.

Graham Hambly, Editor and Publisher, PQ magazine

at accountancy’s coolest awards

18 What does 2023 hold? The accountancy body chiefs share their vision for the year ahead

20 Wellbeing Maintaining your financial – and mental – health in the cost-of-living crisis

21 AAT bursaries First Intuition and @accountant_she launch new inclusivity initiative

22 ACCA exam APM and the new critical success factor

30 Salary checker Are you getting paid what you should be?

32 ACCA spotlight How you can grasp the nettle and drive organisational change

34 A question for Tom Accounting for options explained – with a worked example

35 Why I love the classroon Cath Littler explains why she was instantly hooked on the teaching profession


36 ACCA exam feedback The lowdown on December’s sitting

38 ACCA Strategic level How to bounce back from exam failure

39 Online learning Remote study can help you get that pass

40 Your career Why becoming a charity trustee is an interesting and rewarding experience

41 Careers Growing demand for ‘green’ professional roles; Karen Young helps with your career issues; and our book review


04 Exam cheats Trainees using WhatsApp to share exam answers, FRC has found

05 Accountants got talent! Share your special talent with us and you could be performing at the PQ Awards!

06 Tech tie-up Eintech joins forces with Reed in Partnership to create testing powerhouse

08 CIMA awards Aston University lands top accountancy prize

09 ACCA tutors Jo Tuffill and Sunil Bhandari are the dream

ticket for FM/AFM studiers

10 HMRC delay Taxman delays implementation of Making Tax Digital for the self-employed

12 Tech news Whopping fine for TSB for resilience failures Features, etc

14 Have your say Can I have faith in the accounting profession?; finally the accountancy bodies are going green; and why it pays to have a plan. Plus our social media round-up

17 PQ Awards 2023 It’s time to get nominating if you want to be

25 AAT exams Karen Groves explains the difference between management and financial accounting

26 Big fine for KPMG Firm hit with $7.7m fine for multiple transgressions

27 Profitability ratios Teresa Clarke explains a subject that will be tested in the AAT exams

28 Audit Why it’s vital to create a good environment for sceptical, challenging audits

29 ACCA FM exam Learning the lessons of ‘Trussonomics’

42 Fun The lighter side of life –and accountancy

The columnists

Lisa Nelson Simple reflection can help you achieve your goals 4

Robert Bruce Auditors need to use their common sense 6

Prem Sikka Class divide and inequality continues to deepen 8

Anna Kate Phelan Will chatbots encourage students to cheat? 10

David Rothera Accountants set to embrace sustainability in 2023 12

3 PQ Magazine February 2023 IN THIS ISSUE To subscribe for FREE go to www.pqmagazine.com February 2023
p20 A note from the Editor contents p26 www.e-careers.com (accounting) +44 (0) 20 3198 7600 Mon - Fri | 9am - 6pm Why study with us? ✓ Selected courses include Online Training, Books, Live Online Classes and Tutor Support ✓ We have trained over 10,000 AAT students ✓ 0% finance payment plans available ADVANCE YOUR CAREER IN ACCOUNTING PRICE MATCH GUARANTEE We will match like-for-like price.


Why it's important to reflect on the past

This is my first chance to wish you all a Happy New Year –but before we start focusing exclusively on the year ahead maybe we should take a moment to reflect on 2022 – after all it was an eventful year!

There was the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Covid restrictions ended in the UK, we have had three Prime Ministers, a Platinum Jubilee, the death of a Queen and a new King. To top it all we ended up in recession.

Reflection is not simply recall, it requires thought and curiosity, asking questions about the meaning and implications of what you are reflecting on in order to deepen your understanding and form opinion. For example, how was it possible that Harry Kane missed that penalty? Have your views changed, what do you think was going through his mind when he struck the ball, could others have done more and what lessons can be learned?

Although some of these questions may flash through your mind at the time, having space between the event and the reflection helps put things into perspective whilst also improving future performance.

Reflective practice is an important part of learning and both professional and personal development, so in 2023 put time aside to reflect on what you have learned; thinking about the past improves your future.

Trainees found swapping exam answers via Whatsapp and email

The UK’s accountancy watchdog has said it has received clear evidence of trainee accountants at the biggest auditing firms were swapping internal exam answers. Lots of qualified accountants were also found to have cheated on these internal exams, too.

However, in a letter to the top firms and professional bodies, the FRC said it has found no systemic issues relating to the cheating, but it reserves the right to take further action if needed.

It has also told the firms and professional bodies they need to

improve their controls, some of which might have ‘dipped’ as the firms rushed to move to home working during the pandemic.

This is not a uniquely UK problem; accountants in the US, Canada and Australia have all been

10 things every ACCA student needs to know

If you want to advance through your ACCA qualification more quickly then there is a webinar just for you! Join top tutor Rachel Harris on Wednesday 18 January at 7pm (GMT), who will share her 10 key things that every students need to know! Join up at https:// tinyurl.com/44c7mb3h

Harris (pictured) is the

co-founder and director of @ striveX. She is an author, a speaker, a business owner and, most importantly, an accountant. She has vast experience collaborating with and guiding ACCA students. She is the director of striveX, which she runs with her husband James. StriveX is a broad, paperless

caught cheating, too.

Sarah Rapson, the FRC’s executive director of supervision, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that while the cheating was not systemic the FRC found two or three instances of cheating involving groups of between 10 and 20 people.

She told the Telegraph: “Cheating is cheating and people expect auditors to be a profession of trust. It is just as important to not cheat in an internal exam as an external exam. Auditors should act with integrity.”

accountancy and tax advisory firm that uses cloud software to provide a digital solution for everyday accounting.


The CIMA professional qualification is changing to the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) professional qualification.

CIMA will remain the awarding body, but it said it feels the change is needed to reflect the scope of its globally recognised qualification and to unify all educational pathways. It will also ‘better align exam and designation terminology’.

Pre-formatted spreadsheet for ACCA's SBR

From the September 2023 sitting the format of Question 1 in the SBR exam will be changing. Candidates will be presented with a ‘prepopulated spreadsheet response option’ (spreadsheet) containing a draft consolidated financial statement. One of the requirements will ask candidates to correct this spreadsheet for a range of issues. Candidates are required to use the pre-formatted spreadsheet to answer the

relevant requirement and the question will explicitly state this.

CIPFA’s wellbeing hub

CIPFA’s new wellbeing hub can now be accessed by PQs and NQs alike at https://www. wellbeing.cipfa.org/

Among the talking heads are Frog Systems’ Jane Robertson, discussing the cost-of-living crisis and how it might impact members with CIPFA boss Rob Whiteman. The support directory includes contact details of The Fuel Bank

CIMA explained that it ‘absolutely’ still exists and once the CGMA designation is achieved you will become CIMA members. It said: “This name change reflects the combined power and resources of the AICPA and CIMA. Both organisations will continue to serve their members and offer new opportunities through the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.”

Foundation, the LGBT Foundation, the Institute of Mental Health and Mind, and many more.

New AAT bursary scheme

First Intuition and @ accountant_she have announced a new partnership to enable an individual who is unable to fund their AAT studies with the opportunity to change their lives, with all of their costs covered and more.

The innovative

bursary scheme opened to applications on 9 January 2023, with applications set to close on 9 February 2023. A suitable applicant will be chosen at the beginning of March 2023. The bursary is open to individuals who would love to start an AAT qualification but are unable to fund their studies themselves.

Apply here: https://forms.gle/ AKbLVHL5vMsoXE2q7


PQ the PQ Magazine February 2023 4
more see page 21 In brief
Lisa Nelson is Director of Learnin g at Kaplan

Accountants Got Talent!

Have you got a special talent or hidden skill that you would like to show off at the PQ 2023 awards in late April?

To celebrate our 20th annual award ceremony, we want to showcase the talents of the accountancy profession, meaning that you could be a special part of our night!

To apply, send your contact details along with a short clip showcasing your skill to graham@ pqmagazine.com by 1 March 2023.

Like father, like son

PwC’s Hugh McQueen recently posted a great picture on his LinkedIn page. He was very proud to have become an exam qualified ICAEW chartered accountant, after achieving first-time passes in all three of the ACA advanced level exams. The other photo (far right) is of his dad, Angus McQueen roughly 30 years ago, passing the same milestone.

He got lots of congratulations, and everyone loved the photo. But no one commented that dad Angus seemed to have a lot more to learn if the pile of books is anything to go by!

there is.

If you are chosen to perform, you and two guests will be invited to come along and celebrate the night with us.

Don’t forget to get your nominations in for the awards, too. All those shortlisted also get to come along to the best accountancy award night

Download the application at https://tinyurl. com/k6bkx7fm

AccelerAATe Online 2023

AAT’s free student conference is back, taking place from 18-20 January 2023.

Following the success of the firstever AAT Student Conference in January 2022, AAT is bringing back AccelerAATe to help PQs supercharge their studies.

The three-day festival will bring exclusive insights from tutors, students and AAT experts. The daily sessions run from 12.30 – 13.30 and 18.00 – 19.00, to maximise your chances of joining.

On day one you can find out how to make the most of your AAT qualification and later in the day there’s help in developing your writing skills.

Day two looks at taking the stress out of assessments and provides top tips for study support.

The final day looks at your personal brand, and it wraps up with a panel discussion explaining what employers are looking for.

To register go to https://tinyurl.com/3fjspxbf

PQ 5 PQ Magazine February 2023 PQ


Reed in Partnership and Eintech create a testing powerhouse

One of the most enduring lessons of all is that people don’t learn. Or they don’t seem to. Back in October 2018 the café chain Patisserie Valerie collapsed. An investigation followed from the Financial Reporting Council, and in September 2021 their report duly appeared. It made plain that the most obvious nonsense had passed the auditors by. It was the oldest stuff in the book. Huge payments had turned up just before the year-end. Even the standard bank reconciliations had been nonsense. It wasn’t ‘professional scepticism’ that was required, it was common sense.

Yet here we are again. Days before Christmas the FRC issued another report, this time into the audit by Deloitte of SIG. And there is was – duff stuff around the year-end once more. The FRC said the auditors had ‘failed to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence in respect of cheque payments made around the year-end, and failed to exercise sufficient professional scepticism by failing to investigate indications that cheque payments claimed to have been made post-yearend should properly have been regarded as pre-year-end payments’. Basic stuff. Audit firms have huge departments dedicated to ensure that scepticism and common sense are their watchwords.

To no avail, sadly.

Reed in Partnership, whose Reed Assessment division operates one of Europe’s largest test centre networks, has joined forces with Eintech, the provider of the Rogo EdTech software platform, to create a market-leading assessment offering.

The deal, which sees Reed in Partnership making a strategic investment in Eintech, brings together Eintech’s flexible, configurable assessment and e-learning technology with the scale, infrastructure and reputation of Reed’s Test Centre network.

This partnership establishes a new proposition for awarding organisations and large corporate and government clients. The new proposition covers the spectrum of organisations’ assessment needs, from online testing with remote proctoring, to in-person test centres,

to e-portfolio for evidence-based qualifications, and tailored e-learning for course delivery.

Rhodri Thomas, Managing Director of Reed in Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be part of Eintech’s next stage of growth and development. The Eintech team have developed innovative and scalable solutions for the assess-

ment market. Our partnership with Eintech enables.”

James Carter, CEO of Eintech, adds: “Our remote learning and testing technology is already proven in over 180 countries, and thanks to the reach and dependability of Reed we can now deploy it at an even larger scale, in new testing environments and to a growing client base.”

ICAEW November Advanced results were…

The November 2022 Advanced exam pass rates are in and everything is looking rosy for sitters.

The Strategic Business Management pass rate was 87.3%; for Corporate Reporting it was 80.2%; and for the Case Study the pass rate came in at 81.6%.

These pass rates look slightly

different if you look at the exam combinations. For instance, 495 students sat just the ALCR paper. Of these, 54% passed and 46% (228) failed. It is a similar situation for those who sat just the ALSM – 61% passed their exam, but 39% failed (164).

A total of 5,364 students sat the November test with 8,907 exams

attempted. Some 4,087 students passed all the exams they took.

The first two prizes in the order of merit went to smaller firm PQs. First place and the Peat prize went to David Barker from Sagars Accountants in Leeds. Second place and the Deloitte prize was picked up by Lily Gammon from Francis Clark, Plymouth.

September changes to ACCA’s SBL exam

ACCA has introduced a pre-seen element for the SBL exam, starting from September 2023 sitting. It believes the move will ‘better reflect real business life’.

The pre-seen will be released two weeks in advance of the exam session to both tutors and students. ACCA explained: “The pre-seen

is only provided as supporting contextual information, it will not provide any details of what tasks will be set in the exam.”

Another advantage of the pre-seen is that it helps support those students who have English as a second language, who have limited business experience, or who had limited

AAT drop-in sessions

At the tail-end of 2022 AAT began delivering 30-minute webinars to give students more support, confidence and motivation when tackling their AAT studies.

If you are an AAT student and missed any of the sessions you can access the sessions on demand at https://lnkd.in/gDUQh7ub

The sessions covered everything from examiner reports, MyAAT dashboard and tackling assessments, to name just a few.

Co-hosted by Neil Maguire and Jessica Harvey-Olayemi, the big question now is should Ant and Dec be worried!

You just need a third!

Santander has become the first major UK bank to hire graduates with third class degrees.

It says the move will help boost diversity and open up its graduate programme to another 64,000 students.

The bank had required recruits to have at least a 2.1 degree, but

now says performance at university does not guarantee success in the workplace.

AIA 2023 scholarships launched

AIA has now launched its 2023 scholarship programme, aimed at students who are ‘committed to a career in accounting and finance’.

The scholarships are a lifechanging opportunity to study the AIA professional qualification, with full funding towards tuition and exam fees.

minimal exposure to the industry on which the SBL exam is based.

As much of the background information will be provided in advance, the SBL exam duration will be reduced from four hours to three hours 15 minutes. The format of the exam will change to reflect the reduced time available

The Accountancy Scholarship UK and AIA Commonwealth Scholarship are fully funded via the AIA Achieve Academy. All successful applicant will have to pay is the yearly student subscription fee.

There are five awards up for grabs, with priority given to applicants from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The scholarship programmes are open until 28 February 2023. Read more and apply at www.aiaworldwide. com/study/scholarships/

6 PQ the PQ Magazine February 2023
From left to right: James Carter and Marc Carpenter of Eintech with Reed in Partnership’s Rhodri Thomas and Louise Edwards
Where's the common sense?
Robert Bruce is an award-winnin g writer on accountan cy for The Times



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Denying pay rises ultimately harms the economy

The UK class divide and inequalities are deepening. With retail inflation at around 14% household budgets are squeezed. Private sector wages have risen by 6.6%, and public sector workers have got a pay rise of just 2.2%. Inevitably, there is a lot of industrial strife.

Nurses, doctors, postal, rail, telecommunications, port and others are taking industrial action to secure higher pay rises, but Prime Minster Rishi Sunak opposes higher pay for workers saying this will fuel inflation.

Current inflation is caused by corporate profiteering, especially the energy sector. Within a year, the typical household energy bill has increased from £1,277, to £2,500. Workers are just trying to catch-up. Some 16.65 million Brits are living in poverty. Over 800,000 children are going hungry.

In stark contrast, there are no restraints on pay at the top-end of the scale. The median annual pay of FTSE100 CEOs has hit £3.41m. This is 39% more than the median CEO pay as of January 2022.

There is little or no relationship between executive pay and corporate performance. Yet, no government minister considers it to be unfair or inflationary.

The erosion of household budgets has severe consequences. Without good purchasing power people can’t buy goods and services and that won’t help to rebuild the economy.

Aston wins CIMA Excellence award

Aston University’s Accounting Department has won a Global Excellence Award at the CIMA Excellence Awards for the second year running.

The annual CIMA awards recognise institutions and individuals across the world going above and beyond to shape the next generation of Chartered Global Management Accountants, and lead the accounting profession into the future.

The Accounting Department has been awarded Global High Distinction – CGMA Campus of the Year 2022. The award reflects the university’s graduates achieving the third-highest number of CIMA exams taken over the previous 12 months per university campus globally with above average global pass rates,

as well as the fourth-highest global pass rate in CIMA Operational Level exams.

Andy Lymer, professor of taxation and personal finance and head of department of accounting in Aston Business School, said: “Ensuring our graduates are well prepared for long and successful careers in the accounting profession is a key focus of our approach

to designing and delivering our accounting degrees, and where we work on other degrees with our accounting teaching.

“To be recognised for doing this at the level of one of the top three or four universities in the world by one of the major global accounting professional bodies is clearly great news for our students – current, past and future.”

Cutting office temperatures by 2C

Deloitte is reducing temperatures in its UK offices in a bid to save costs and cut carbon emissions.

Thermostats are being turned down by 2C across 22 sites, some of which were also temporarily closed over Christmas.

The Big 4 firm told staff the change in temperature is expected to result in savings of about £75,000 for December alone.

Offices are now be heated to between 19C and 22C, still above the minimum 16C guideline from the Health and Safety Executive.

Deloitte revealed that the savings from December will be donated to disability charity Scope

Both KPMG and PwC also temporarily shut down some of their offices over the festive period to help cut costs.

AAT awarded new ServiceMark

AAT has been recognised for its achievement in customer service by being awarded the prestigious ServiceMark accredition from the Institute of Customer Service.

The ServiceMark is awarded

UK Spring Budget will take place on 15 March 2023

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has announced that his Spring Budget will be held on 15 March 2023.

He said his tax and spending plans will be accompanied by a forecast from the Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR).

In a written statement Hunt said: “I can inform the House that I have asked the Office for Budget Responsibility to prepare a forecast for March 15 2023 to

accompany a Spring Budget.

“This forecast, in addition to the forecast that took place in November 2022, will fulfil the obligation for the OBR to produce at least two forecasts in a financial year, as is required by legislation.”

Scotland uses tax to support public services

Higher earners in Scotland are being asked to pay more tax to help increase patient care in the NHS.

Deputy First Minster John

based on customer satisfaction feedback and an assessment of employee engagement with an organisation’s customer service strategy.

This achievement follows AAT’s success earlier this year in reaching a score of

Swinney announced in his latest budget that all those earning over £43,662 in Scotland will now pay 42p in income tax. The top rate of tax is also increasing to 47p and the tax threshold has been lowered from £150,000 to £125,140.

Some 500,000 Scots are in the higher rate bracket, with a further 33,000 paying the top rate of tax. Those earning £50,000 in Scotland will now pay £1,552 more per year in income tax than someone on the same money

81 in The Institute’s Business Benchmarking, achieving its target for the seventh successive year and outperforming the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) all-sector average of 78.4.

Additionally, AAT carries out real-time surveys of members and students who contact the organisation to measure its customer effort score. This is currently rated at 4.4 out of 5.

elsewhere in the UK. Anyone earning £150,000 north of the border will be paying £3,857 more tax than those in the south.


tax not the answer

Ireland has been warned that its overreliance on corporation tax could make it vulnerable moving forward.

The National Spending Watchdog said that the government now needs to look for other revenue streams.

8 PQ the PQ Magazine February 2023 news
Prem Professor of Accounting at the University of Essex

New FM and AFM dream team

Jo Tuffill and Sunil Bhandari have teamed up on FME Learn Online to offer a dream ticket to get you through Financial Management and Advanced Financial Management. Commenting on taking over the FM mantle from Bhandari, Tuffill said: “Sunil is a tough act to follow, but with over 15 years training ACCA under my belt and having personally trained a past global prize FM winner at Vale FT, I look forward to that challenge. I am offering the FM course alongside

my current PM platinum package course. Online has offered me the opportunity to increase both the depth and breadth of the training I was able to give in the classroom

– I’m really looking forward to continuing this with FM.”

Bhandari said: “For me, AFM is the pinnacle of the ACCA qualification, with its focus on value creation and risk management and its close association with banking and treasury. The best preparation for AFM is a firm foundation at FM level. Jo is an excellent tutor, who I am confident will offer her students top quality personal support on their FM journey. I know Jo will do a fantastic job and this will allow me the time and resources to enhance my AFM offerings.”

New IFAC implementation tool

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has released a new resource, The Risk Identification and Assessment Process: Tips on Implementing ISA 315 (Revised 2019). The tool helps auditors implement the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board’s (IAASB) International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 315 (Revised 2019), Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement, which is

effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after 15 December 2021.

The implementation tool provides an overview of core concepts and explains new and previously existing requirements. It also includes examples and emphasises the scalability of the standard with a focus on less complex entities. The tool does not

replace the need to read ISA 315 (Revised 2019), including its application and other explanatory material.

The resource is based on Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada’s (CPA Canada) Implementation Tool for Auditors and follows the release earlier this year of IFAC’s Auditing Accounting Estimates: ISA 540 (Revised) Implementation Tool.

Accountants are the new innovators – watch the YouTube video!

LSBU Business School and PQ magazine’s sixth annual conference online ‘Accountants are the new innovators: don’t be left behind’ was a big hit with attendees from all over the UK, as well as Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sudan and Qatar – to name but a few!

Top speakers on the day included Lord Sikka and professors Richard Murphy and Ian Thomson. Hundreds of people have already been on YouTube to watch our newly uploaded video of the day. Check out this ground-breaking conference at https://tinyurl.com/ ycyxw7u6

PQ 9 PQ Magazine February 2023 PQ
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ChatGTP and its views on cheating

The AI Chatbot ChatGPT has caused a stir, with many teachers fearing it will lead to a rise in cheating.

So I thought it would be fun to hear what ChatGPT has to say about cheating using, well, itself: “There is a concern that ChatGPT could be used by students to cheat on their assignments and exams. After all, it's a tool that can provide quick answers to any question, and it's available 24/7.

“However, while ChatGPT may make it easier for students to find answers, it's important to note that simply finding the answer to a question is not the same as truly understanding the material. Cheating, whether it's with the help of ChatGPT or other means, is ultimately counterproductive, as it doesn't help students learn and grow.

“In addition, it's important to consider the consequences of cheating. While it may seem tempting in the short-term, getting caught can have serious consequences, including failing the assignment or exam, and even being expelled from school.”

It added: “Furthermore, ChatGPT is not a foolproof way to cheat. It's possible that a teacher or instructor could catch on to the use of ChatGPT and take appropriate action.

“In short, while ChatGPT may make it easier for students to find answers, it's ultimately up to the student to decide whether or not to use it responsibly and ethically.”

Shock delay in UK tax digitisation programme

In a move that caught many by surprise, HM Treasury recently announced it was postponing the introduction of Making Tax Digital for the self-employed and landlords, putting it back from April 2024 to April 2026.

The Treasury believes that computer systems are ‘just not ready’ for the change.

The UK government said it understood that self-employed individuals and landlords are currently facing a challenging economic environment, and that the transition to MTD for ITSA represents a significant change to taxpayers and HMRC for how selfemployment and property income is reported, so it is giving them a

longer period to prepare for MTD.

From April 2026, self-employed individuals and landlords with an income of more than £50,000 will be required to keep digital records and provide quarterly updates on their income and expenditure to

HMRC through MTD-compatible software. Those with an income of between £30,000 and £50,000 will need to do this from April 2027. Most customers will be able to join voluntarily beforehand, meaning they can eliminate common errors and save time managing their tax affairs.

Victoria Atkins, Financial Secretary to the Treasury (pictured), said: “It is right to take the time to work together to maximise the benefits of Making Tax Digital for small businesses by implementing the change gradually. It is important to ensure this works for everyone: taxpayers, tax agents, software developers, as well as HMRC.”

Thurrock Council’s £469m black hole

Thurrock Council has admitted that a series of failed investments has led to what amounts to a £469 million budget black hole.

The Conservative-run council revealed in a report that £274 million of taxpayers’ money has been effectively lost as a direct result of the mistakes. It has also

set aside another £130 million to pay back investment debts.

The budget hole is equivalent to three years’ money, and the council is now asking for a government bailout.

Interim head of finance Jonathan Wilson has described the council’s financial position as ‘grave’.

The super-fit accountant

Chartered accountant James Cope hit the headlines recently for his charity challenge. He did his first press-up on 23 March 2020 as the UK went into lockdown, with a plan to add one to his total each day until he reached 1,000 a day. Now, more than two-anda-half years later and four stones lighter, he has hit that total, raising more than £9,200 for the

Young happier to go private

Younger people are twice as likely to access private healthcare in the next 12 months than those aged over 55, as health gaps remain between the rich and poor, according to a study by PwC on transforming healthcare.

The PwC survey of 2,000 people across the UK showed that while two in five people (43%) say they would use private healthcare, or a mix of private and the NHS, for at least one treatment, younger people aged 18 to 24 are more than twice as likely to do so. Seven in 10 (77%) 18- to 24-year-olds said they would use

Royal National Lifeboat Institution in the process. It also means he

private healthcare, or a mix, for one thing or more, compared with three in 10 (30%) of those aged 55 and over.

Deloitte fined £906,250 over latest audit failure

The UK accountancy watchdog has fined Deloitte just under £1m over failures of its audit of SIG plc, for the financial years ended 2015 and 2016. The firm also received a severe reprimand and been ordered to take specific action to mitigate the effect or prevent a reoccurrence of the failures.

Audit engagement partner Simon Manning was fined £36,250 and also received a severe reprimand.

Deloitte and Manning admitted two breaches

CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman said: “The Prudential Code clearly sets out that the prime policy objective of a local authority’s treasury management investment activities is the security of funds. Local authorities should avoid exposing public funds to unnecessary or unquantified risk.”

has done more than 500,500 press-ups and has not missed a day since he started, despite catching Covid three times and battling with wrist injuries and a torn bicep.

You can support James’ fundraising challenge via his JustGiving page: https://www. justgiving.com/fundraising/ james-cope5

Check out the page 42 for more fun stories!

of Relevant Requirements in relation to the audit of supplier rebates and cash.

A copy of the Final Settlement Decision Notice can be found here.

Lack of socio-economic diversity on boards

New research from KPMG reveals that socioeconomic background diversity on UK boards is lacking, and too few firms consider it as part of board recruitment and succession planning.

The findings are based on a survey of 64 FTSE 350 board members by KPMG UK’s Board Leadership Centre. It found over 70% of respondents come from high socio-economic (professional) backgrounds, while only 15% came from low socio-economic backgrounds.

10 PQ the PQ Magazine February 2023 news
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ROTHERA Net Zero set to progress in 2023

In 2022, ICAEW, ACCA and AAT came together and decided it was time to clearly define what Net Zero means for accountancy practices.

The world of sustainability is extremely varied, with different methodologies and standards being thrown into the mix all the time. What we have found is that this can create more barriers for businesses, rather than making it easier for them to start doing something about the climate crisis.

This is where the Net Zero Accountancy Protocol is different. It was created purely to help accountancy practices easily navigate the different Net Zero methodologies and standards. From the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and SBTi, through to how to correctly offset your carbon emissions. The protocol is a roadmap that helps accountancy practices calculate their carbon footprint correctly, set reductions targets, offset emissions in the right way and ultimately certify businesses if each of these steps has been followed correctly.

In 2022, I worked with a huge number of accountancy firms, representing over 1,700 accounting professionals starting their Net Zero journeys. I was also fortunate enough to certify a large number of practices as ‘On the Road’ to Net Zero, those that committed to going Net Zero before 2030.

The momentum going into 2023 is amazing and I can’t wait to work with more accountancy practices looking to start their Net Zero journey.

TSB fined £48.65m for resilience failings

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have fined TSB Bank plc (TSB) a total of £48,650,000 for operational risk management and governance failures, including management of outsourcing risks, relating to the bank’s IT upgrade programme.

These technical failures in TSB’s IT system ultimately resulted in customers being unable to access banking services. All of TSB’s branches and a significant proportion of its 5.2 million customers were affected by the

initial issues in April 2018. Some customers continued to be affected by some issues and it took until December 2018 for TSB to return to business as usual.

TSB has paid £32.7m in redress to affected customers.

TSB’s IT migration programme was an ambitious and complex IT change management programme carrying a high level of operational risk. Its success was critical to TSB’s ability to provide continuity of critical functions and safety and soundness. However, the regulators found that TSB failed to organise and control the IT migration programme adequately, and it failed to manage the operational risks arising from its IT outsourcing arrangements with its critical third-party supplier.

The robot did my homework!

Headteachers fear a new AI chatbot that can write convincing essays will lead to mass cheating on homework and exam coursework and are urging ministers to intervene, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Schools are planning emergency talks to assess how to respond to ChatGPT, a chatbot released at the end of last year. The bot provides instant, humanlike answers to exam questions,

and education leaders told the paper that schools could be forced to overhaul homework by asking children to write essays during lessons and do research at home to prevent them from using the chatbot to cheat.

ChatGPT, which is free to use and available to anyone online, has been developed by a company that was originally backed by Elon Musk and received a big cash injection from Microsoft in 2019.

New app to fight cyber incidents

KPMG UK has unveiled its new tool to extract and report personally identifiable information (PII)/ personal data (PD), making it easier for organisations to perform Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs) and PII Identification and Review.

Using the app allows organisations to simplify regulatory compliance and reduce costs.

KPMG’s PII Extractor tool is compatible with Relativity’s software as a service (SaaS) product, RelativityOne.

Following a cyber incident,

Apple charger deadline

The European Commission has given Apple a deadline of 28 December 2024 to change the charger in its iPhones so they comply with new single charging port rules. The tech giant has reluctantly agreed to the move to USB-C jacks, which are favoured by most Android phones. The previous attempt to introduce common charging ports in 2018 failed. Many experts now believe the EUs world-first reform could set a global standard and will save

consumers money (and a lot of hassle).

Meta fined €390m over illegal data use

Meta has received a €390m fine for breaking EU data rules, from the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC). The fines were split between Facebook (€210m) and Instagram (€180m). The DPC said that Meta Ireland is not entitled to rely on the ‘contract’ legal basis in connection with the delivery of behavioural advertising as part of its Facebook

organisations must report breaches of personal data and identity information that can be spread

and Instagram services, and that its processing of users’ data to date, in purported reliance on the ‘contract’ legal basis, amounts to a contravention of Article 6 of the GDPR. Meanwhile, Meta said that it wanted to reassure users and businesses that they can continue to benefit from personalised advertising across the EU through its platforms!

The death of business cards

Climbing the corporate ladder can be tough. A key skill is to

across documents and applications to meet regulatory requirements. Piecing together and reporting such data is time and resource intensive. With a growing number of such projects, this type of data extraction is also disruptive as it lies outside routine business activities. The PII Extractor tool will allow users to extract personally identifiable information/personal data such as names, phone numbers and email addresses directly in the Relativity native viewer and link it to a data subject with ease.

remember te name of everyone you meet. The chief tech officer at Boingo Wireless, Derek Peterson, has taken the challenge head on by having a microchip containing his details inserted between his thumb and index finger! He then used the chip to exchange details with colleagues.

Peterson isn’t the first person to have a microchip implant. That honour goes to Professor Kevin Warwick, deputy chancellor at Coventry University in 1998. His controlled lights, doors and heaters.

12 PQ the PQ Magazine February 2023
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Can I have faith?

I have been training to be an accountant for more than three years and have to admit that I have never questioned my teachers. There seems to be a set of rules that you need to follow and if you learn them and answer exam questions using these rules you pass the exam.

Professor Atul K Shah appears to be saying in your lead story (PQ magazine, January 2023) that we should all be more questioning about where these rules come from. At university we were encouraged to ‘think ‘, but the professional qualifications seem to want us to ‘un-think’ (sorry, not sure that’s a word!).

I have, like he said, had to

Mind the gap

Is it me or have the accountancy bodies finally woken up to filling the skills gap when it comes to climate change?

ACCA has teamed up with the CFA institute to launch a new Climate Finance course. Turn the page of the latest issue (PQ magazine, January 2023) and you can read all about CIMA & AICPA’s new certificate in ESG reporting. These are all to be commended, but I do worry that this must mean there’s not enough of what employers want in the current syllabuses. Surely these new diplomas should be offered for free to us recently qualifieds, with the promise that those taking the current exams will at least be covered for a few exemptions?

Name and address supplied

I have a plan

Thanks, Helen Pretty, for your ‘reasons to write a revision plan’ article (PQ magazine, January 2023). I’m lucky as I like lists, but I still can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t write one for their up-andcoming exam.

You are going to tell me it’s me, aren’t you? But the purpose of any plan is to re-visit your work

compromise my beliefs and I am not convinced accountants really work in the public interest as they claim to. We accountants

are much more interested in shareholder wealth and profits, and it’s what we are paid to do. Ethics is just a part of the exams now, as he says, to be passed and forgotten on the way to qualification. We learn the right answers, but I am not sure it teaches us to change our and other people’s behaviour. And how, as lowly PQs, can we change a company culture that pushes us to do certain things to help them make as much money as they can?

I think Shah really wants to raise the level of morality in the profession, but it’s hard when it attracts people who just seem to like numbers and money!

Name and address supplied

Our ‘Young, gifted and CIMA’ feature caused a real stir when we pushed it out on social media.

At 20 years old, Grace Bayton (pictured) is the young-ever CIMA qualified accountant. She got straight As in her GCSEs, but instead of following her friends on to sixth form and university

and study to see what you have accomplished, and measure how well you have done so far. That helps you make the adjustments to ensure success. Everyone does that for their exams, don’t they?

Like Helen’s three-point plan,

my plan gives me structure and helps put into perspective what lies ahead. I set myself set times of the day to study and track what I have achieved each week. It has served me well so far!

Name and address supplied

she opted for an apprenticeship, Grace, who lives in Wales, bought her first house at 18 and was planning to move again when we spoke to her.

Andrew Andersen said: “I seriously wonder if I should get my children to consider this route instead of university. What a fantastic position to be in compared to those of a similar age who are graduating and just starting out their careers. She’s already on the property ladder, has a professional qualification and years of experience.”

Andy Blyth replied: “Of course you should. The days of having to spend years at Uni to become an accountant are long gone.”

Another story that got lots of good traction online was the VIVA Financial Tuition launch of a new free ebook providing the ultimate ‘subject by subject’ pass guide.

The guide includes a breakdown of the structure of each exam, and real ‘dos and don’ts’ for every subject.

The guide uses real insight from prize-winning students and key advice from the examiners. Also among the 64-page guide are links to the best free re-sources, practice and more.

Here is the link to get access to this great free resource: https://tinyurl.com/2s3j47vv

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 2023
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The clock is ticking for you to get your nominations in for the PQ magazine awards 2023. You have until Friday 10 March to get them to us. We will be celebrating our 20th awards and there lots of categories where you or your nominee can win a much-coveted PQ magazine trophy. There are individual awards such as PQ and Distance Learning Student of the Year, as well as team awards such as Accountancy Team of the Year and College of the Year.

We also have a new award up for grabs this year –Podcast of the Year. And our general advice each year is to spread the love – you can enter more than one award!

All you need to do is download the nomination form

at https://tinyurl.com/k6bkx7fm

You then have up to 500 words to support your entry. If you don’t think that’s enough, then supply your supporting material separately, and we will make sure the independent judges see both.

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.

Our independent judges see all the entries before deciding on the shortlist for each category. Remember, if you make the shortlist you get a free invite to the awards in April 2023.

Don’t forget the deadline for entries is Friday 10 March 202. And as we always say, you can’t win it if you aren’t in it!

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 Year - Private Sector

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

PQ awards 2023 PQ 17 PQ Magazine February 2023
’s time to get those nominations for the PQ magazine awards to us – asap!
Accountancy Team of the Year Accountancy Personality of the Year *a new category for 2023
Our reigning Public Sector Lecturer of the Year is Queen Mary University of London’s Ishani Chandrasekara (left). The 2021 winner was Rebecca Wright (above), University of South Wales; the 2020 winner was James Wright, University of Lincoln.

What lies ahead in 2023?

Now is the time to show how vital accounting technicians really are

In 2022, we’ve seen significant political turmoil and numerous tax changes alongside the ongoing impact of Brexit, the continued impact of the pandemic, and the cost-of-living crisis starting to bite. These have led to increased complexity within the accountancy profession and confusion and concern for individuals and businesses.

So, an accounting technician’s role in making sense of these changes has never been more vital. That role is becoming broader and more advisory, emphasising practical and technical skills that create impact, add value and get results. Therefore, 2023 represents a real opportunity to highlight the value accounting technicians bring to their employers and clients.

Following the successful launch in September of AAT’s new suite of qualifications, Qualifications 2022, we’re now looking ahead to our

future as a business, with our new 2030 strategy being published this year. Our focus remains on delivering accessible qualifications that provide up-to-date skills and experience needed for the technicians of the future to thrive in a fast-changing world, as well as reflecting employers’ needs.

We’ll continue to support our global community, driving up professional standards, keeping our profession relevant and building responsible businesses. This will help to supercharge businesses, activate careers and increase the recognition of accounting technicians’ value worldwide.

In 2023, we’ll also run our second free online AccelerAATe Student Conference and host our first-ever Impact Awards, celebrating the unsung heroes in the AAT community. We’ll continue supporting small businesses through our website Informi and engaging with the government to raise standards within the profession and education arena, via our policy initiatives and Accountable campaign. We will also turn our attention to attracting the talent our sector needs.

So 2023 will not be without its challenges, but it also represents an exciting opportunity to demonstrate how important accounting technicians are to local, national and global economies. I am confident that AAT’s members and students will be valued for being ‘real-world ready’ and able to support their employers and clients to meet challenges head on – not only in 2023, but in the years to come.

Sarah Beale, Chief Executive, AAT

Creating a force for good

It’s a privilege to meet ACCA students across the world and I’m always impressed by their positivity and resilience. And they need it! Becoming a qualified accountant has never been easy. The generation studying and working now to become financial professionals face a host of challenges from global economic and geopolitical pressures, through to balancing work, study and personal life.

The lessons and habits that students like you learn in the early years of their professional careers will shape their outlook over the decades and stay throughout their working lives. It takes time and dedication to qualify and to build up the essential knowledge, skills and ethics.

Yes, exams are demanding – as is the working environment – for those seeking to become qualified accountants. But that doesn’t mean students should face challenges on their own.

At ACCA we want our students to succeed and we’re determined to do all we can to support students as they work through their professional studies and gain professional experience. Working with employers and with tutors, we aim to give our students everywhere the best possible chance to gain their qualification.

ACCA wants every student to progress and that’s why we constantly evolve our support. This includes committing to providing a new mock exam at each exam session and creating tools such as My Exam Performance, helping Applied Skills students understand their strengths and weaknesses to provide guidance for future exam performance.

We provide this support because we want to see the next generation of finance professionals ready to take advantage of the exciting opportunities that await them and to ensure that the world has the accountants it needs to create a fairer and more sustainable future.

From every interaction I have with ACCA students I‘m left feeling more confident that we’re working with inspirational talent set to become a force for good in the years ahead. I wish you all success in 2023.


The role of the accountant is evolving in exciting ways

In economic terms it has been a tough few years, and 2023 is also likely to be challenging, with a prolonged recession highly likely. I am proud to say that our profession has proved its worth in these difficult times. Everywhere I go I meet accounting and finance professionals who are successfully dealing with these issues and securing the futures of the organisations they serve.

Looking ahead, our role is evolving in very exciting ways. New technologies such as artificial intelligence are allowing us to add value in ways which were previously impossible. At the same time, management accountants are being asked to apply our skills to new areas, most importantly to the ESG space, where the ISSB will soon be issuing the first two IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards. The move towards connecting sustainability information with financial information is a great opportunity for us – as long as we seize it.

The possibilities offered by the direction in which the profession is evolving make me optimistic, despite the immediate economic challenges we are dealing with. If we are willing to adapt ourselves to the new business environment, I firmly believe we have a bright future ahead of us.

Harding, FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive — Management Accounting at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing AICPA & CIMA.

18 PQ PQ Magazine February 2023 the year in focus
Andrew We asked the accountancy bodies CEOs for their thoughts on what will happen in 2023. Here’s what they told us…

We need highly-skilled and passionate accountants

Public finance matters more than ever. We need new and existing public finance professionals to keep vital public services going. Dedicated, highly skilled and passionate accountants who make ethical decisions are vital to the UK public sector.

In 2023 we must reduce the backlogs left after the Covid-19 pandemic in hospitals, courts, schools and social services. We need to ensure the delivery of essential infrastructure projects, which will regenerate our economy and help tackle climate change.

The cost-of-living crisis is affecting communities and households across the UK. This means that targeted support must be delivered, even though public finances are so tight. Finance professionals must ensure efficiency wherever possible, as well as cracking down on tax evasion.

Importantly, CIPFA is excited to continue playing its part in assisting international development programmes to strengthen the global public finance profession. How we work is as important as what we do.

The New Year is an opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion and to work to reduce injustice in society. Public bodies and not-forprofit organisations like CIPFA must raise their game and promote more representative boards and management teams.

In 2023 we will be promoting new qualifications in various areas, such as counter fraud and value for money reviews/audit, alongside our accountancy qualifications.

We can’t wait to see what the rest of 2023 brings.

Rob Whiteman, CEO at CIPFA.

Sustainable growth for 2023

The UK experienced its warmest year in nearly four centuries in 2022, according to data from the Met Office, as experts warn extreme weather could become the norm.

In a year that flooding in Pakistan, tropical storms in Asia and America and droughts across Europe and China killed thousands and cost billions, the case for ramping up our net zero efforts has never been clearer.

Everyone has a part to play in creating a sustainable future, and chartered accountants’ role is key. From steering clients through their net zero journeys to supporting action on a global scale, the impact our profession can have is clear. As our economies rebuild after a punishing few years growth must have sustainability at its core, guided

Time to ‘reset the dial’

It strikes me as we enter 2023 that we all have a golden opportunity to ‘reset the dial’ and bring a fresh perspective to a troubled world. As we all navigated through the pandemic over the past (almost) three years, we learned new skills and new ways of engaging with each other, but we also learned greater tolerance and more respect for other people’s fears and anxieties. It felt like we all became that bit more caring and we better recognised our social responsibilities to each other. I think it’s going to be so important that we don’t lose that human touch as the way we work starts to normalise even further in 2023, whatever ‘normal’ might look like this year.

As we emerged into sunnier times in 2022, dark clouds appeared all too quickly. The year brought war in Europe on a scale not seen in over two generations, as well as rampant inflation not seen since the 1970s/80s. It also brought upheaval and uncertainty, in the UK at least, in our political system and leaders. But this also presents us with perhaps our biggest opportunity for the next 12 months – to keep that faith in humanity and in each other and continue to recognise, and welcome, our responsibilities to each other. We also need to take this opportunity to challenge those in power to commit to honest transparency in the way they do business, and for the rest of us to follow that lead and truly care for one another.

by chartered accountants.

The young people I meet who are pursuing a career in accountancy are as concerned about people and the planet as they are about turning a profit. They recognise the greater purpose of the profession, where sustainability and ethics are a priority rather than an afterthought.

The chartered accountancy qualifications they’ve chosen to take will enable them to work in just about any field, informing key decisions and making a positive difference, as well as being part of a global community.

Our profession can make a huge difference, but to maintain this we must see trust restored.

This January marks the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Carillion, the moment that prompted a push to reform audit and corporate governance.

The anniversary is a reminder of the critical role audit plays in ensuring Britain is a global economic powerhouse and leader in sustainable growth, while bringing stability to the market by instilling confidence in business and financial information.

It was disappointing when reform featured in the Queen’s Speech only in draft form last year. Given the role our profession can play at this pivotal time, it would be a real concern were it to be overlooked in the King’s Speech too.

PQ 19 PQ Magazine February 2023 the year in focus
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Maintaining your financial health in a cost of living crisis

Here in the UK, just as in many other countries around the world, we are wrestling with a cost-of-living crisis. The prices of food, energy and fuel are all going up, with the conflict in Ukraine, the fallout from the pandemic and Brexit all contributing.

As we navigate this crisis, it’s important to remember that these are global issues, and they’re impacting everyone, regardless of your profession. In a new whitepaper, investigating how the cost of living crisis has affected the accounting community, caba has found that a quarter (24%) of accountants who aren’t already struggling financially expect to, going into 2023. Half (50%) of ICAEW members have already made changes to their spending on their energy bills, two-fifths (41%) on food and over a third (37%) on transport.

These are worrying times, but there are steps we can all take to keep our spending under control and ensure the months ahead don’t feel quite so daunting.

Tackling debt

The best way to get a handle on it is to split it by priority. Start by listing your debts and the different sanctions you might face as a result of who you owe. For example, if you fail to pay your energy bill, you may have your energy cut off. If you don’t pay your mortgage, you can lose your home.

Tackle the debts with the most significant sanctions first. It’s easy to get distracted by lenders for overdrafts and credit cards, as they can often shout the loudest, and most frequently. But the impact of delaying payment of credit card debt is less severe than, for instance, your council tax. Prioritise based on the potential consequences.

Share your concerns

Whether it be a friend, a family member, or if your financial issues are affecting your ability to deliver at work, even a line manager or employer, speaking to someone about your financial worries can ease the burden.

We know this can be difficult, particularly at work. In our own research, we’ve found that just 8% of working accountants would turn to their employer if they were concerned about their finances. There seems to be a sense of embarrassment, stemming from concerns about what colleagues, employers and even clients will think of an accountant who requires financial support themselves.

There’s work being done to tackle this stigma. Employers are trying to start financial discussions, but having a conversation is only beneficial if you’re comfortable opening up. Try to remember – your professional reputation is precious, but being a qualified accountant doesn’t make you immune to a cost of living crisis. Chances are, even your line manager is feeling the pressure. If financial worries are having a material impact, then the more conversations you can have about it, the better.

Confront the issue

In times of crisis, we often bury our heads in the sand, telling ourselves that the issue will blow over. But avoiding problems won’t make them go away. The best way to deal with a crisis is to develop a greater understanding of it. Right now, it might be about realising that financial difficulty is a wider problem, as opposed to something that you alone are facing. Knowing that you’re part of a group all facing the same problem can provide a huge amount of reassurance.

Take care of your mental health

This cost of living crisis might be hanging over us for a while, so it’s important to take care of your mental health, and ensure you’re in a good frame of mind to deal with the challenges ahead. That said, if you’re trying to tackle something like debt, you should aim to look after yourself in a way that’s low-cost, or perhaps even free. A walk in the woods, for instance, costs nothing but can do wonders for your wellbeing.

Recognise when you need help

Right now, many in our community are struggling in silence. But whether they’re trying to implement some practical solutions themselves or want to speak with organisations that can provide advice, it’s vital that those who are struggling get the help they need. At caba, we’re receiving more calls for help, which is encouraging. However, we know there must be people out there who are struggling but aren’t reaching out.

Whether every day or exceptional, we all face challenges throughout our lives, and when they affect our finances, it can feel particularly overwhelming. Whatever your worries, big or small, you’re not alone. Equipping yourself with a range of tools and advice can go a long way towards supporting your everyday financial health. At caba, we are here to provide that support.

For further guidance, click here to download caba’s new whitepaper, ‘How is the global cost of living crisis impacting chartered accountants?’. Alternatively, visit --https://www.caba.org.uk/ cost-of-living.htmlpic

• Paul Day is a senior support officer and specialist debt advisor at caba

20 PQ PQ Magazine February 2023 wellbeing
Paul Day has some advice on how to maintain financial wellbeing during the cost-of-living crisis

AAT bursary scheme launched

@accountant_she and First Intuition have come together to provide an individual who is unable to fund their AAT studies with the opportunity to change their lives, with all of their costs covered,

Anew bursary is now open to individuals who would love to start an AAT qualification, but are unable to fund their studies themselves. The scheme, devised by @ accountant_she and First Intuition, opened to applications on 9 January 2023, and you have until 9 February 2023 to apply.

You can apply here: https://forms.gle/ AKbLVHL5vMsoXE2q7

The bursary scheme does not simply provide financial support to the applicants; the impressive programme includes training provider costs, study planners, notes, question banks, task banks, mock assessments, unlimited email and phone tutor support, marking of mock assessments with feedback, one round of assessment fees, one-to-one mentoring by Rachel Harris (@accountant_she), access to Practice Makes Perfect to provide real world practice experience, a one-to-one interview and CV preparation.

Harris is a disruptor within the accounting industry. Her platform @accountant_she has an audience of 20,000 aspiring accountants,

qualified accountants and small business owners. She is creating a safe space on the internet for those studying, providing insight and inspiration for those wanting to set up their own practice and free financial education for small business owners. Her accountancy practice, strive, is a rapidly scaling, digital practice with 600 clients and 12 members of staff, where her disruption continues. She has built an employee benefits package that is difficult to compete with, where she is becoming the employer she wished she’d had as a training accountant.

Harris says that she struggled financially when she decided to start her AAT studies and the whole mission behind @accountant_she is that she wants to create the opportunities for others that she wishes she’d had herself.

“For me, this is a career highlight. This has

been a goal of mine for a number of years now and to have brought it to life with the help of First Intuition makes me so proud. No other corporate bursaries exist for AAT studies and I’m a firm believer that you have to build what didn’t exist for you when you needed it. This is an opportunity to change someone’s life and to have created the platform which is providing this opportunity makes me so proud.”

FI’s Nick Craggs said: “I am delighted to be working with Rachel to be providing someone with the life-changing benefits that the AAT qualification brings. I am one of thousands of people who can say that my life is better because I studied AAT, and I hope this bursary gives someone the chance to study AAT who otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”

PQ 21 PQ Magazine February 2023 AAT studies
and more!
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
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APM and the new critical success factor

Now there are 20 professional skills marks available rather than four, Brigita Petrova looks at the ways you can improve your professional marks output in the exam

Everyone studying APM knows the importance of identifying the relevant critical success factors (CSFs) for an entity. Once you know what you need to excel at in order to be successful, you can start making progress towards that success.

Since September 2022, students have had a new CSF that they must consider in order to pass the APM exam. That is scoring as many of the 20 newly introduced professional marks as it is humanly possible. This appears to be rather challenging for most exam sitters, leading to a global pass rate of 34%, with no material difference to those of previous sittings.

I believe the main reason for this is the fact that many students either missed out this new CSF completely or did not work on it enough when preparing for the exam, whether being unaware of the change (unlikely) or being unsure about how to deal with it. As such, they were left with only 80 rather than 96 technical marks to score from, and that meant having to score about 10% more than in the old format just to scrape a pass.

The ACCA have provided a lot of information on the professional skills required (link to ACCA website) – make sure you take advantage! Here are a few of my tips to help you master this new essential element and improve your chances of success in the exam.

Go for the familiar

An easy way to bag a couple of marks early in the exam is to start with question 1 and set your report layout. This should be easy; it is standard and something required both in past APM exams, as well as in other professional papers. Ensure you look at the requirements and set up headings based on them throughout your report. This would give you structure, as well as another mark for communication skills.

Verbs matter

For example, if the requirement says ‘evaluate’ you must do so. Headings referring to what is good, what is bad and your opinion on whether it is more good or bad overall, can take you a long way towards scoring on the respective skill.

‘Assess’ requires a similar approach. Make sure you look at all implications of the suggested approach/decision, etc., rather than talking only about its advantages (if you consider it suitable) or disadvantages (if you believe it is a bad idea), and provide your overall opinion on the matter.


If you don’t, you miss out both on technical as well as on professional marks for analysis. After all, APM is a work simulation and in real life no CEO would be happy with your advice if you only

told them WHAT to do, without explaining WHY this is important.

Sometimes it might even mean you just need to state the obvious, which you are tempted to miss out, simply because it is so obvious – but markers cannot see inside your head, so help them give you the credit you deserve.

Be critical

I doubt at your workplace you take everything that’s said and done as excellent. Just like you would question some assumptions, actions and statements at work, you should do so where appropriate in your exam. Challenge those with the appropriate justification and you can score well for scepticism.

Answer the question

No CEO would want your opinion on general matters. Less is more, so cut out any padding and don’t go off tangent. Also, anything not applicable to the specific exam case shows a lack of commercial acumen. Therefore, the more tailored your points to the case and the more helpful for resolving the relevant issues, the greater your marks output on both the technical as well as the professional front.

Last but not least, if for example you need to advise a company whether they need to switch from one approach to another, do not just go through the advantages and disadvantages of each. While this gives you technical marks (if correct), it will score you more professional ones if you relate the two approaches by comparing and contrasting them with each other.


Manage your time so you can write a few points under each requirement, rather than writing loads on some and nothing on others. Time yourself per question rather than using average time per mark, writing the easy points under each requirement first.

Don’t skip calculations just because they seem hard, or leave them unfinished. Presenting a complete budget or a benchmarking exercise, even with some wrong numbers or completing an EVA calculation (despite having some wrong adjustments) will work in your favour. It looks professional – your CEO gets exactly what they requested, and you can add some valuable comments on the results that would still score you marks, if correct in relation to the numbers calculated.

Plan ahead

Think about all of the above in the first few minutes of tackling the question. Invest more in brainstorming and planning your answer at the start, leaving a little less for writing. It will help you focus on the more significant rather than peripheral points, and ultimately improve your efficiency.

Planning ahead must start NOW – waiting till exam day to incorporate the above tips might be just a bit too late. Do that with each question you practise now and let me congratulate you on your exam success later!

• Brigita Petrova is a senior lecturer at LSBF. She is a former PQ magazine Lecturer of the Year

22 PQ PQ Magazine February 2023 ACCA APM exam

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A Queen Mary University of London seminar putting audit under the spotlight, brought to you in association with PQ magazine

Following the hugely successful Future of Tax seminar last year, we are bringing you a new free evening seminar on the future of audit.

In a report for the Financial Reporting Council Professor Karthik Ramanna said Millennial and Gen Z accountants find it uncomfortable to challenge a client! He felt that younger auditors may be unfairly classified as wallflowers, but there is little doubt that they enjoyed more ‘safe spaces’ through their school years, potentially making them less comfortable with even constructive confrontation. So, how are we going to create the sceptical and challenging auditor of the future?

We are putting together a top panel of experts, who will provide their vision and help move the debate on and would love you to join us on, Wednesday 8 March 2023.

The event will start at 18.00 pm BST, but doors will open at 17.00 for networking. There will be sandwiches too!

Click here to sign up

The Future of Audit

Date: Wednesday 8 March 2023

Venue: The Octagon at Queen Mary University of London, 327 Mile End Road, Bethnal Green, London E1 4NS

Time: 18.00 – 20.30 BST, but doors will open for 17.00 for networking

Supported by

Management versus financial accounting


Planning: When a business is looking forwards to a new accounting period, they will want to know how much income they might expect from sales and how much cost they expect to incur, for example rent costs. This information is used to set a budget.

Communicating: Management information can be very helpful when management need to feedback performance information to a range of departments, or to communicate business aims.

Co-ordinating: All departments should be co-ordinated and work together to achieve the business aims.

Motivating: Management accounts will include targets which should be set to motivate managers and their staff and improve performance. Targets should be realistic and achievable, because if they are too difficult to achieve then they are likely to demotivate staff.

Controlling: Once a budget is set for a future period it is important to then compare what has actually happened, to see if there is any significant over or under spending in comparison to the budget and investigate the cause.

As part of your AAT studies, you may get a task in the assessment on financial accounting versus management accounting. So, what is the difference between the two?

Financial accounting

The main purpose of financial accounting is to produce the statutory financial statements for external users. Financial statements are prepared on a regular basis, usually once a year, and are set out in a standard format dictated by law and accounting standards, which includes a statement of financial position and a statement of profit or loss. The financial statements are a historic record of the organisation’s financial transactions for the period. The users of the financial statements can include:

• HM Revenue and Customs – to work out what tax the business needs to pay.

• Potential future investors – to see how the business is performing and decide on whether to invest or not.

• Business owners – to assess the profitability and business performance.

• Employees – both current and new, to see how the business is performing as this will impact on job security and potential growth opportunities within the job role

Management accounting

Management accounting describes the process of identifying, measuring, analysing, and interpreting financial information used by managers. This assists with planning, controlling and decision making, and to ensure the appropriate use of, and accountability for its resources.

An example of management accounts could be a quarterly sales report which would be prepared from the sales of the business and analysed between the different sales representatives to establish who had achieved the most sales in the period, or done by region.

Management accounts are produced from the accounting transaction records of the business and may be presented in any format which is useful for the business in making business decisions, as there is no legal requirement. They may be prepared monthly, or quarterly, or whatever the business requires, however they are usually prepared on a monthly basis.

The aims of management accounting are:

Decision making: Management accounts are financial information reports which are usually made available to the internal management of the business to inform and assist the management’s decision-making process, for example, what new product to launch.


Identify if the statements below apply to financial or management accounting:

Financial accounting Management accounting

Produced for internal use, for example managers

Produced for external use, for example banks and the government

Usually produced annually

Usually produced monthly

Mainly a historic record

A legal requirement

Format dictated by law and accounting standards

Content can include anything useful for the users


Identify if the statements below apply to financial or management accounting:

Financial accounting Management accounting

Produced for internal use, for example managers X

Produced for external use, for example banks and the government X

Usually produced annually X

Usually produced monthly X

Mainly a historic record X

A legal requirement X

Format dictated by law and accounting standards X

Content can include anything useful for the users X

• Karen Groves is an AAT tutor and AAT Course Director at e-Careers

PQ 25 PQ Magazine February 2023 AAT exams
It’s important you know the difference between management
and financial accounting, says Karen Groves, who is here to help

KPMG fined $7.7 million

The US’s accounting watchdog has imposed $7.7million in fines, sanctioned three firms and four auditors from KPMG over cheating in training exams, signing off on blank work papers, improper use of an unregistered firm and failure to co-operate with a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) inspection.

The PCAOB issued two disciplinary orders against KPMG UK. In one order, it sanctioned KPMG UK for violating quality control standards relating to integrity and personnel management. Similar to KPMG Colombia, KPMG UK failed to detect or prevent extensive, improper answer sharing on tests for mandatory internal training courses.

From 2018 until March 2021, hundreds of individuals from KPMG UK and KPMG Resource Centre Private Limited, an India-based entity that provides support for KPMG UK’s audit

work, engaged in improper answer sharing. This occurred in connection with tests for training courses covering topics that included auditing, accounting, and professional independence. All of the professionals implicated in the answer sharing performed work for KPMG UK’s Assurance practice.

Without admitting or denying the findings in the order concerning the improper answer sharing, KPMG UK was censured and agreed to pay a $2 million civil money penalty and to review and improve as necessary its quality control policies and procedures to provide reasonable assurance that its personnel act with integrity in connection with internal training.

The PCAOB also sanctioned KPMG UK for failing to reasonably supervise an unregistered audit firm in four consecutive audits of a public company client. In particular, KPMG UK

allowed the unregistered Romanian audit firm KPMG Audit SRL to play a substantial role in four consecutive audits in which KPMG Audit SRL incurred as many as 74% of the total audit hours. Compounding the failure, in three of the four audits, KPMG UK erroneously reported that PCAOB-registered firm KPMG Romania SRL, not KPMG Audit SRL, had participated in the audits.

The PCAOB imposed a $600,000 civil money penalty, censure, and quality control undertakings on the Big 4 firm.

Meanwhile, KPMG Colombia was fined $4 million and KPMG India $1 million for other offences.

“These actions should send the message to KPMG and all other registered firms that the PCAOB is committed to rooting out misconduct wherever it occurs and will employ all sanctions at its disposal to protect investors and improve audit quality,” said PCAOB chair Erica Williams.

The sanctions are just the latest in a series of fines over exam cheating.

In June 2022, the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) fined Ernst & Young (EY) a record $100m over claims its auditors cheated on their ethics exams.

PwC in February 2022 was also fined a combined sum of £670,000 by US and Canadian regulators over a cheating scandal, after KPMG was fined $50m last year by the SEC for a similar offence.

For more see https://tinyurl.com/2u4999wd

26 PQ PQ Magazine February 2023 Big 4 fine
The US regulator is not happy with KPMG, and recently fined it millions of dollars over its UK exam cheating – and lots of other stuff…
DISCOVER THE FUTURE WITH ACCA’S CAREER NAVIGATOR Wherever you are on your journey, our navigator guides your route – acquire new skills, explore career destinations and opportunities and grow your talent. Visit careernavigator.accaglobal.com

Interpreting profitability ratios

The new Q2022 AAT Level 3 ‘Financial Accounting: Preparing Financial Statements’ includes this topic. You will need to calculate the following ratios and be able to interpret them.

Gross profit margin

Use the words in the description of the ratio to remember how to calculate it. Gross profit as a margin of sales. Remember that gross profit is calculated by taking the sales figure and deducting the cost of sales.

Sales £120,000

Cost of sales £90,000

Gross profit £30,000

Gross profit divided by sales or gross profit / sales, multiplied by 100 to turn it into a percentage.

£30,000 / £120,000 = 0.25 0.25 x 100 = 25%

Take a minute to think about what this tells us. This means that 25% of the total sales or revenue is gross profit. If the percentage was to increase next year, it would mean that we are making a higher gross profit, more money, than the previous year. If the percentage were to decrease next year, it would mean that we are making a lower gross profit, less money, than the previous year.

Net profit margin

Again, use the words in the description to remember how to calculate it. Net profit as a percentage of sales. Remember that net profit is calculated by taking the gross profit and deducting all the expenses.

Gross profit £30,000 Total expenses £6,000 Net profit £24,000

Net profit divided by sales or net profit / sales, multiplied by 100 to turn it into a percentage. £24,000 / £120,000 = 0.20 0.20 x 100 = 20%

Take a minute to think about what this tells us. This means that 20% of the total sales or revenue is net profit. If the percentage was to increase next year, it would mean that we are making a higher net profit, more money, than the previous year. If the percentage was to increase, it would mean that we are making a lower net profit, less money, than the previous year.

Expense over revenue percentage

Using the words in the description again to remember how to calculate this. The expense over revenue percentage is a particular expense, such as motor expenses, over revenue or sales.

Sales £120,000

Cost of sales £90,000

Gross profit £30,000


Admin expenses £1,000

Motor expenses £1,500

Finance expenses £500

Rent expense £2,000

Insurance expense £1,000

Total expenses £6,000

Net profit


Expense over revenue as a percentage

Motor expense divided by revenue x 100 £1,500 / £120,000 = 0.0125 0.0125 x 100 = 1.25%

Take a minute to think about what this tells us. This means that 1.25% of the total sales or revenue is spent on motor expenses. If the percentage was to increase next year this would mean that more of the revenue is used to pay the motor expenses, meaning the profit would be lower. If the percentage is lower, it would mean that less of the revenue has been used to pay motor expenses, giving a higher net profit.

Return on capital employed

This one can be tricky to remember. Return simply means how much we have earned from the business activities in the year – namely, the net profit.

The capital employed is the amount of money we have used during the year to earn that net profit.

Remember that assets minus liabilities equal capital.

But capital might not be all we had to use in the year. If we had a long-term liability, such as a loan, we also had this money to use to earn the money. We add back any long-term or noncurrent liabilities as we also used this money. Capital employed is capital plus any non-current


Total current and non-current assets £200,000

Current liabilities £120,000 Non-current liabilities £20,000 Assets £200,000 – all liabilities £140,000 = Capital £60,000 Capital £60,000 plus non-current liabilities £20,000 = £80,000

Return on capital employed = net profit / capital employed £24,000 / £80,000 = 0.30 0.30 x 100 = 30%

Take a minute to think about what this tells us. This means that for every £100 of capital employed, we have made £30 profit, 30%. If the percentage was to increase next year it would mean that we made more profit from the money used. If the percentage was to decrease, it would mean that we have made less profit from the money used.

Remember that there are limitations to the usefulness of ratios, but hopefully this has helped you to understand the figures more clearly.

If you enjoy my way of explaining things, you might like my workbooks, which are all available from Amazon in both paperback and as eBooks. The links to all my workbooks can be found here. https://www.teresaclarke.co.uk/books/ • Teresa Clarke is an AAT tutor

PQ 27 PQ Magazine February 2023 AAT exams

Creating a sceptical and challenging auditor

How do you create a good environment for auditor scepticism and challenge? Professor Karthik Ramanna took a look at the latest FRC report and says what he thinks needs to happen

More on-the-job and ‘soft skills’ training is needed in the art of challenging clients if we are to create the sceptical auditor, says Professor Karthik Ramanna.

Looking at the FRC’s new report setting out examples of good practice to improve auditor scepticism and challenge, he suggested that audit firms do a reasonably good job training their rankand-file in the various technical standards and processes that characterise the modern audit. But these deductive skills are only part of what is needed from auditors. Beyond deduction, auditors need to possess skills in critical thinking and judgement. Ramanna explained: “Critical thinking is the basis for professional scepticism, which is the foundation for challenge in audits. And judgement is what finally determines ‘what matters from the rest’ (to quote Isaiah Berlin) when making an audit decision.”

He stressed that neither critical thinking nor judgement can be taught through textbooks and professional certification exams. “They are most effectively taught through the case-study method of education, where students are exposed to a series of challenging scenarios without any manifestly correct answers, and where they must debate

and reason with each other, under the thoughtful guidance of a facilitator, on how they will decide on the matter.”

Ramanna insisted that this Socratic-style education is the on-the-job learning in soft skills that (especially junior) auditors are crying out for. An urgent next step is then to train the trainers (i.e., audit partners and engagement managers) in imparting this education to their mentees. He said this will involve getting otherwise garrulous audit leaders to themselves embody the practice

of active listening as a way to inspire and mobilise their juniors into this mindset.

Beyond critical thinking and judgement, he suggested another essential element of challenge that is underdeveloped in audit education is the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable. Ramanna explained that this is what the Stoics referred to as “dialectical sophistication” – the ability to manage emotion and impulse whilst serving a mission or doing one’s duty. It is the basis for effective challenge, particularly in the current environment where auditors must challenge those who seemingly make the decisions on whether they stay or go and how much they must be paid.

Another element he said needed training that may have emerged is that Millennial and now Gen Z workers find it uncomfortable to challenge a client. Younger workers may be unfairly classified as wallflowers, but there is little doubt that they have enjoyed more “safe spaces” throughout their schooling years than prior generations, potentially making them less comfortable with even constructive confrontations.

Read the commentary on the FRC’s Publication, What Makes a Good Environment for Auditor Scepticism and Challenge, prepared by Karthik Rammana, at https://tinyurl.com/ebc8nkkk

PQ 28 PQ Magazine February 2023 auditing
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
Ramanna: ‘critical thinking is the basis for professional scepticism’

Learning from ‘Trussonomics’

You can pretty much guarantee in every Financial Management exam there will be a question on foreign exchange risk.

Traditionally, students struggle with understanding exchange rate risk due to the nature of the translation calculation. But, thanks to ‘Trussonomics’, there has been one positive outcome for students. The recently resigned UK Prime Minister has put exchange rate risk into the news and, hence, every ACCA FM student can now become a ‘Foreign Exchange Guru’ by following my four basic steps.

Please note that the steps below relate to the ACCA FM exam; other financial management syllabi may differ in the way they quote exchange rates and examine foreign exchange risk.

STEP 1: Quoted Rates

The TERM is quoted first with the BASE quoted second.

All exchange rates are quoted as a ratio, being a quantity of the term currency to 1 unit of the base currency. If you are a UK company using the rates quoted below, the £ is the base currency and foreign currencies will be the term currency.

Euro €/£ rate €1.19 to £1

US $/£ rate $1.22 to £1

STEP 2: Conversion

DIVIDE to convert from the TERM to the BASE currency.

For example, €1,000 at an exchange rate of €1.19 to £1 gives €1,000 ÷ 1.19 = £840.34.

STEP 3: Emoji or to decide which rate

Banks make money on a spread. They offer you a different rate depending on whether you are buying or selling the BASE currency.

A spread quoted as €/£ 1.18 – 1.19 shows a low rate (1.18) and a high rate (1.19).

1. If you want to pay a supplier in Euros, and are quoted a EUR to £1 rate, the bank will sell the base (Euros) at the low rate: €1,000 ÷ 1.18 = £847.46.

2. If you want to convert a Euro receipt from a customer, the bank will buy the base (Euros) at the high rate: €1,000 ÷ 1.19 = £840.34.

3. So the bank makes a profit on the spread of £7.12 by selling at £847.46 and buying at £840.34.

For exam questions, use emoji’s: Receiving € (term) -> feeling HIGH -> Choose HIGH rate Paying € (term) -> feeling LOW -> Choose LOW rate

STEP 4: Trussonomics or for a UK company

Consider a UK company, ‘BORIS BOBS’, that imports raw materials for wigs from a US supplier and then exports the wigs to a distributor in Europe.

In Aug ’22, BORIS BOBS purchases materials from its US supplier worth $100,000 when the rate is $1.22 to £1, on 45 days’ credit. They expect to pay $100,000 ÷ 1.22 = £81,967 for the goods in October.

However, Ms Truss announces her Autumn Budget and the $/£ rate falls to $1.11. The £ is now worth fewer Dollars – it has ‘devalued’. BORIS BOBS now has to pay at the new rate and pays $100,000 ÷ 1.11 = £90,090.

Oh dear, poor BORIS BOBS sustains a loss of £8,123 due to transaction risk.

An IMPORTER will LOSE when the currency DEVALUES.

However, also in Aug ’22, BORIS BOBS sold wigs worth €200,000 when the rate was €1.19 on 45 days credit. BORIS BOBS expects to receive €200,000 ÷ 1.19 = £168,067 in October.

After the Ms Truss announcement the €/£ rate fell to €1.14. When the European distributor paid BORIS BOBS they converted at the lower rate and received €200,000 ÷ 1.14 = £175,439.

Happy days for BORIS BOBS, a gain of £7,372

An EXPORTER will WIN when the currency DEVALUES.

Remember my four steps to success in the FM exam:

1. Quoted at Term to Base.

2. Convert the Term currency to the Base currency by dividing.

3. Receipt in Term high rate and Payment in Term low rate.

4. Devaluation – importers lose and exporters win, and vice versa when there is an appreciation.

Now you are a ‘Foreign Exchange Guru’.

• Jo Tuffill is an expert FM for tutor for the ACCA and part of the team at FME Learn Online

PQ 29 PQ Magazine February 2023 exchange rate risk

What 2023 holds for PQs

Karen Young, Director of Hays and responsible for the accountancy & finance division, talks you through the latest salary and recruitment trends

There’s no doubting that 2022 presented much uncertainty in the political and economic climate, and this has had an impact on the world of work. We’ve seen skills shortages, more hybrid working and an emphasis on work-life balance, to name just a few.

New data revealed in the 2023 Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends guide gives an invaluable insight into the thoughts and feelings of part qualified accountancy professionals (PQs). Crucially, the wider insight from over 2,000 professionals working in the finance profession illustrates what the year ahead could look like for accountancy.

Employee worries varied

In terms of the extent to which the wider economic situation may alter employment opportunities in the next two to five years, there was a mixed response. Some 10% of PQs describe themselves as being very concerned, 43% are quite concerned, 40% are not very concerned and 5% are not concerned at all.

Inevitably, employment anxiety is present across a wide range of industries today, but PQs continue to be one of the most in-demand roles across the accountancy and finance sector.

PQs satisfied in their jobs

The start of a New Year is a good time to reflect on how happy you are career-wise, and what factors might improve that. The consensus surrounding PQ job satisfaction is hopeful; whilst 18% of PQs are dissatisfied with their current jobs, a large majority rated their job satisfaction as high, with 56% saying they are satisfied and 23% answering very satisfied.

Our guide found that 66% of PQs feel positive about their career prospects, a slight increase from 64% in last year’s survey. This growing optimism is promising for PQs. Likewise, 65% of PQs either agree, or strongly agree, that there is scope for career progression within their organisation. These results suggest that accountancy is likely to provide career fulfilment in the next 12 months and beyond for long-term career paths.

The outlook for salaries is optimistic

Given the widespread cost-of-living challenges, pay is increasingly important to professionals. The total amount of PQs who describe being satisfied, or very satisfied, with their salary is 68%.

However, employees may be tempted to move companies to seek a pay-rise. While 32% of PQs haven’t seen a change in their salaries, 39% had a 5% or higher increase in the past 12 months.

Working practices are still hybrid Since the pandemic, workplace trends have continued to shift. Whilst there has been a return to the office post lockdowns, hybrid working – which entails both remote and office-based work –remains the most popular choice. As things stand, just over half of PQs (52%) are currently working under a hybrid model, compared to 30% fully in the workplace and 18% fully remote.

We found that the workplace trends an organisation has to offer substantially alters their appeal. For instance, over half of PQs (56%) plan to find a new role that is more of a mix of hybrid working. Notably, the opportunity to work from home some of the time is now more of an employee expectation than a benefit.

The importance of purpose

Finally, organisational purpose greatly impacts a person’s desire to work for a specific company. In all some 32% of PQs stated that an organisation’s purpose is very important when considering a new role and 51% said important.

Despite the obvious challenges businesses face today, there are still many things to be positive about in the world of accounting. For the year ahead, PQs can expect to encounter continued economic uncertainty, but hopefully feel better equipped to tackle it with the insights of our Salary & Recruiting Trends guide. See: https://www.hays.co.uk/salaryguide

• Karen Young is a Director of Hays



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ACCA PQ £36,000

CIMA Finalist £42,000

CIMA PQ £35,000

CIPFA Finalist £37,000

CIPFA PQ £32,000

ACA Finalist £38,000

ACA PQ £33,000

30 PQ salary survey PQ Magazine February 2023 30

North East

Yorkshire & the Humber

East Midlands

East of England



South East


salary survey PQ 31 PQ Magazine February 2023
Typical AAT studier £25,000 ACCA Finalist £35,000 ACCA PQ £30,000 CIMA Finalist £35,000 CIMA PQ £30,000 CIPFA Finalist £32,000 CIPFA PQ £26,500 ACA Finalist £34,000 ACA PQ £27,000
Typical AAT studier £23,000
Finalist £35,000
Finalist £35,000
PQ £30,000
Finalist £33,000
PQ £28,000
Finalist £32,000
ACCA Finalist
CIMA Finalist
CIPFA Finalist
ACA Finalist
Typical AAT
Typical AAT studier £23,000 ACCA Finalist £40,000
PQ £32,000 CIMA Finalist £40,000 CIMA PQ £31,000 CIPFA Finalist £31,000 CIPFA PQ £28,000
Finalist £40,000
PQ £32,000
Typical AAT studier £26,000
Finalist £40,000
PQ £34,000 CIMA Finalist £40,000 CIMA PQ £35,000 CIPFA Finalist £35,000 CIPFA PQ £30,000
Finalist £38,000
PQ £32,000
Typical AAT studier £27,000
Finalist £46,000
PQ £38,000
Finalist £46,000
PQ £38,000
Finalist £38,000
PQ £33,000
Finalist £42,000
PQ £36,000
AAT studier £27,000 ACCA Finalist £45,000
PQ £38,000 CIMA Finalist £45,000 CIMA PQ £38,000 CIPFA Finalist £35,000 CIPFA PQ £30,000
Finalist £40,000
PQ £32,000

The planning and performance management paradigm

Clive Webb explains how accountants can grasp the nettle when it comes to driving organisational change

Planning, budgeting and forecasting are core activities for many finance teams. Their complexity will vary according to the size of the organisation and the nature of its business; however, the core purpose remains to help leaders to anticipate the period ahead and to determine, for example, where investment might be needed to sustain growth or to develop new areas of operation.

Organisations thrive on certainty and the ability to plan accordingly. The early 2020s have seen significant disruption for many aspects of organisations. Interest rates have sharply increased from a decade of historic lows. Consumer behaviours have changed, initially because of the pandemic but subsequently due to the increased cost of living and lower disposable income. In certain times an annual plan may well have been achievable for most organisations and the role of the finance team was to monitor performance against this plan, including using techniques such as variance analysis.

The level of uncertainty that organisations now face mean that they need to adapt their traditional approaches to planning and performance management. In their recent report ACCA and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, in association with PwC, explored the opportunities that finance teams have in enabling their organisations to navigate these uncertain times. Modelling more than one scenario and integrating this with assessment of risks is essential.

The overarching change that organisations need to make is to the culture that supports this activity. Those organisations that are agile and flexible will be more likely to succeed. Annual plans need to be replaced by rolling plans that are refined as the circumstances change. Only 6% of the nearly 3,000 global respondents to a survey for this research felt that they were agile, with 51% saying that it was a medium-term goal. An effective plan is one that embraces all aspects of the organisation. Finance cannot be a silo, rather it needs to work collaboratively with other functions to develop and monitor one integrated plan. Likewise in understanding performance, it is a cross-functional activity where finance teams provide an understanding of the drivers. Simple variance analysis is no longer sufficient – what the functional leaders expect is an analysis of the variation from the plan and a view as to whether the circumstances will repeat. The role of the finance business partner in driving performance is an essential aspect of the finance team of the future.

To successfully achieve this forward looking and agile planning process the organisation needs to maximise its use of data and technology. We all generate significant amounts

of data. How organisations use that data to understand customer behaviour and hence to manage their supply chains is essential. Finance cannot see its data in isolation. The forwardlooking finance team embraces data from across the organisation and uses analytics to model the drivers of performance.

The technology that the organisation uses to deliver these insights is key. In a survey conducted as part of the research, 82% of respondents said that they used spreadsheets as their main planning and performance management tool. Only about 13% suggested that they used Cloud-based alternatives, with 53% not using them at all. There are several reasons behind this but if finance teams don’t embrace tools which enable them to understand and predict trends in a robust manner, then they run the risk of being marginalised. That‘s not to say that there’s no role for spreadsheets, rather that role needs to part of the overall technology and data architecture. The finance professional of the future is comfortable with data and technology and how it can be used to tell the story of performance.

But what is performance itself? Traditionally, finance teams solely considered the financial impact. Now stakeholders are looking at a broader agenda than a pure financial one. Larger organisations, for example, are subject to environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings as well as traditional credit ratings. If we’re to reflect how external stakeholders assess an organisation, then the ESG drivers also need to be part of the internal performance management systems. The good news is that 82% of the survey respondents accepted that there is a need for a broader view of external performance in the next three to five years. Very few, only 4%, felt that their organisation had achieved this already. The finance professional of the future needs to have a broader view of the performance drivers and how data can be used to improve decision-making.

There are significant opportunities for finance teams to drive performance in challenging times. Having the skill set to deliver upon this is vital for the finance professional of the future.

• Clive Webb is Senior Subject Manager –Business Management at ACCA

32 PQ PQ Magazine February 2023 ACCA spotlight

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A question for Tom

Top tutor Tom Clendon talks you through accounting for options, illustrating the concept with a worked example


What’s the accounting for options issued in a business combination by the parent to the staff of the subsidiary as replacement awards to an existing scheme?

Tom’s answer

Gosh, that’s a big technical question. My answer assumes that you are basically familiar with IFRS2 Share Based Payments. Let me explain and also illustrate how this works.

Setting the scene

In a business combination the consideration paid by the acquiror for the controlling interest in the subsidiary must be recorded at the fair value of the consideration given.

However, where the subsidiary has previously issued share options (equity settled share-based payments) to its staff and by the acquisition date these have not vested, then the parent will have to buy out this equity interest as part of its purchase consideration. This can be done by the parent issuing new replacement options.

The accounting challenge will then be to analyse the value of these new replacement options and split them between compensation for the pre combination interest and any post combination incentives.

Splitting the value between pre and post The amount of the new replacement options that represent pre combination services are capitalised as part of the cost of the investment as they relate to a payment for an equity interest in the subsidiary.

The amount of the replacement options that is pre-acquisition will be the proportion of the value of the original options that has been completed.

Whilst the amount attributable to post combination services will be spread through the profit and loss as an expense over the vesting period because that will relate to future employee service.

But this is all best further explained and understood in a worked example.

Question: Wang and Hiren

Wang has just acquired all the equity shares in

issue of Hiren for $100 million paid in cash. As 100% of the shares were acquired there will be no non-controlling interest.

Three years ago, Hiren had granted equity settled share payment awards to its staff. These were due to vest after five years i.e. in two years’ time. Accordingly, in addition to paying $100 million cash for the shares, Wang issued replacement equity awards to the employees of Hiren with a fair value of $51 million and that will vest in two years after the date of the acquisition.

At the date of the acquisition the fair value of the original share award issued by Hiren was $25 million.

The fair value of the net assets of Hiren at the date of acquisition was $70 million.

Required. Explain how Wang will account for the issue of the replacement share based payment awards. Calculate goodwill arising on the acquisition of Hiren.

Answer: Wang and Hiren

When Wang issues those replacement equity awards with a fair value of $51 million to the employees of Hiren, in substance, it is partly buying out the employees’ equity interest in Hiren (the pre-acquisition element) and partly providing the employees’ with options in Wang – as a future reward in their capacity as employees of the Wang group (the postacquisition element).

The element of the replacement equity award of $51 million that is pre-acquisition will be based on the value of the original options by the ratio that has been completed. $25 million x 3/5 = $15 million. This will be accounted for as part of the parent’s investment in the subsidiary. Dr Investment in Hiren $15 million Cr Other Components of Equity $15 million. As a result, goodwill will increase.

The post-acquisition element is therefore the balance. $51 million less $15 million = $36 million. This will then be spread through the profit and loss account of Wang over the two-year vesting period. In the first two years after the acquisition the annual entry is Dr PL $18 million and Cr Other Components of Equity.

Goodwill calculation

The goodwill that arises on the acquisition of Hiren will be the difference between the fair value of the consideration that Wang has paid for the controlling interest and the fair value of the net assets of Hiren acquired. In addition to the cash paid of $100 million for the shares, $15 million of the replacement awards also related to the purchase of an equity interest.

FV of the parent’s investment –the controlling interest (100%) Cash paid

34 PQ PQ Magazine February 2023 options
assets at
(70) Goodwill
45 • Tom Clendon is a podcaster and ACCA SBR online lecturer. Go to www.tomclendon.co.uk Award-winning AAT courses and apprenticeships mindful-education.co.uk/students Flexible learning to suit your lifestyle
100 Equity-share based awards 15
Less the fair value of the net

Why I love teaching

Cath Littler explains why she was instantly hooked when she kicked off her career in education

Iwas at a concert recently where the artist said several times how lovely it was to be playing in front of a live audience again, thanking the crowd for coming out and supporting live music.

I’ve heard many teachers say the same thing this academic year as students who want to study in the classroom now feel confident to come back. Whilst online teaching can be enjoyable, lots of teachers are loving the faceto-face interactions again.

Why do we love to teach?

Musicians play gigs and concerts because they want to play music and what’s the point if no one is listening? They want to play to a live audience, feel the atmosphere and get feedback from the crowd. Yes, they can make money out of it, but that is not generally why they do it. Teaching is similar in many respects, especially for subjects like accountancy where there are lots of well-paid other options. So why

do we love to teach?

For most teachers it is the chance to make a difference, to see the light go on when someone understands a concept, and to see the joy when learners succeed; we are improving people’s life chances.

Of course, there are failures and students do drop out, but I sometimes meet those students when I am out and about, and they always say hello and tell me that what they did learn is useful to them in their alternative roles.

Giving back

Many part-time tutors teach while still working as accountants – so that they can give back and help to teach the next generation of accountants. There are lots of opportunities for evening and weekend teaching, allowing experienced accountants the opportunity to deliver a unit or a course.

If you enjoy training others and showing them how to complete tasks, you would probably enjoy

Cath brings a wealth of experience to the classroom, having co-ordinated 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

teaching, especially as nowadays there are a lot of good resources out there for you to use, minimising your preparation time. For example, online resources allow students to learn through videos and self-marking questions, so as a tutor you can simply see where the students are struggling through clever analytics, tailoring your lessons to support the areas that your students find challenging.

Your actual work experience will enrich your teaching and you are likely to find that you can bring accounting theory to life in a classroom, or online, in a way that is really appreciated by your students.

My teaching journey

Teaching was never on my radar when I was studying accountancy 20 years ago. I planned to build a small business doing bookkeeping and accounts; however, my tutor suggested teaching as an alternative. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it. “I’m not organised enough”, I said. But I gave it a go, thinking it would be an alternative activity to the main job.

From my first lesson I was hooked. Initially it was a little frightening to find the students hanging on to my every word and writing down anything that I put on the overhead projector (remember them?), but I soon relished the successes of my learners and found that I gained confidence as they did.

As for organisational skills, there is nothing like the prospect of 20 students expecting a lesson from you, to focus you and make you ensure that you are ready!

As I became more experienced, I moved into preparing learning materials to support other teachers, so I spend less time in front of students – but I always get that buzz when I have a live audience ready and willing to laugh at my stories while they learn!

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

PQ 35 PQ Magazine February 2023 classroom learning

ACCA December sitting

How were the December 2022 exams? See if you can you pick up some tips for the next sitting


A hard one, according to 35% of respondents to the Open Tuition instant poll. However, 45% found it OK.

So opinion was split, with one sitter admitting “I found it tough”, yet another said “exam was not bad at all”.

There were questions on the learning curve, the pricing demand equation, and operational and planning variances.


It was all quiet on the TX front. The Open Tuition instant poll shows the December test was OK for 65% of sitters, and just 8% said it was a disaster.


This was a hard test for some 38% of sitters, with a lot of questions on consolidation, according to the Open Tuition instant poll.

As one PQ said, it was a strange collection of questions that included consolidated financial statements, events after the reporting date, and earnings per share. But they were concerned that a lot of the important areas

were not covered – where was tangible noncurrent assets, revenue, leases, and financial instruments?

We also heard of more technical issues from students who have rebooked their exams. One said: “ACCA really need to improve this online platform as there are too many issues leading to students like me getting very frustrated!”


Some sitters admitted to finding section C of the December exam ‘super easy’. However, sections A and B were deemed difficult, tricky and too theoretical.

Section C was a WACC calculation, NPV and some capital rationing and theory about capital structure and WACC relationship.

Resitters said December’s test was much easier than the September sitting.


The Open Tuition instant poll says this December’s exam was OK for 64% of sitters. That left 19% saying it was hard and 10.5% who found it a disaster.

One of the 30-markers asked about the role of an auditor in detecting fraud and audit risks, with substantive testing and threats to objectivity. There were also questions on definitions of flow charts and questionnaires, deficiencies in a system Q, NEDs, audit report and a receivables balance becoming unpayable, and depreciation


For well over two-thirds of sitters (70%) this December’s exam was either hard or a disaster. That’s according to well over 600 sitters who voted in the Open Tuition instant poll.

It was called a ‘disaster’ by some and ‘refreshing’ by others! There was too much on intangibles for many, which meant it wasn’t a balanced paper.

That said, one PQ said they found the emission grant question ‘very interesting’! Check out Tom Clendon’s hot review about this time-pressured exam at https://tinyurl.com/4ed7t983


Some 66% of SBL sitters found this either hard or a disaster, according to the Open Tuition instant poll.

One SBL sitter felt the scenario was so short it was hard to extract answers. Another sitter said the paper was just ‘weird’: “Managed to

36 PQ PQ Magazine February 2023 ACCA exam feedback

complete all the tasks but not happy with the quality of my answer.”

With many grasping at straws the markers can expect a lot of superficial answers.

Yet another sitter summed it up: “It sure wasn’t a friendly exam.” And what concerned many is that it didn’t look or feel like other past papers: “Very poorly made, very niche questions, barely anything on strategy and the key syllabus areas.”


“Overall, quite a good exam and not heavily model reliant exam,” said one sitter. Another sitter admitted they got stuck in the time trap of Q1. “I should have moved on,” they said. Yet another said: “I ran out of time too, it was so time pressured that I don’t have time to process what they are actually looking for.” A fellow suffer admitted they ran out of time and missed task 3. “I felt exhausted after 2 hours and my brain couldn’t focus on any points to actually formulate.”

There were 50 marks on budgets, a discussion on ABB, preparation of a rolling budget, 25 marks on results and determinants and appropriate reward systems, and 25 marks on Porter’s 5 forces and appropriate KPIs. Other questions had 50 marks for EVA, the building blocks model, and benchmarking and BPR.


ATX sitters did not like this one! The Open Tuition

instant poll reveals the exam was a disaster for 19%, with another 38% finding it a hard one this time around.

As one sitter explained: “Time management was a must for today’s exam.” A fellow sitter agreed: “The time management was so hard and the questions very tricky, with small bits everywhere to confuse us.”

Another sitter found it tough and was thrown by the losses question. They also found the overseas question difficult – it asked you to decide between a subsidiary or PE. However, they thought the capital allowance question over rentals was ‘OK’.


The Open Tuition instant poll came back that 38% of sitters found this AFM exam hard, while another 37% said it was a disaster.

As one PQ said: “It was ridiculously hard, so far away from any the practice questions/mock exams… also how you can finish that exam in the time provided I do not know.” A fellow student agreed: “Nothing like anything in study books or mocks – and the volume of information to take note of on small screens is so far removed from real life – bizarre, disheartening and frustration all rolled into one.”

A tough test all-around. Another worry is because of the time pressure students are under they don’t have a chance to go back and review what they did and they feel they have to make quick decisions, which are often wrong.

Check out Sunil Bhandari’s video on his YouTube channel that summaries what his cohort of students told him about the AFM exam – go to https://tinyurl.com/3pv3rnyw


“Bro to be very honest that was the easiest paper in P7 history and I hope who has received this variant may passed.” Well, that’s one experience anyway!

For many Q1 was on a pet store – so you had business risk, ROOM, outsourcing and audit planning, and audit procedures on holiday pay. Q2 was prospective financial information (PFI), and Q3 audit completion leasing and inventory. Now, some did say that the paper was easy and they completed the exam in full.

There were some IT problems with those sitting the AAA exams remotely. Quite a few sitters received this from the head of exam delivery: “We are aware of an issue that may have impacted your remotely invigilated exam today. Please accept our apologies for this and we are currently investigating next steps. We will issue further instructions via email by 1pm on Wednesday 7th December 2022. Please check your emails regularly for updates.”

The Open Tuition instant poll said the exam was a disaster for 13% and hard for another 31%. It was OK for 51% and easy for 5%.

Check out Ben Wilson’s feedback of the December AAA exam at https://tinyurl.com/ fswxjpnc

PQ 37 PQ Magazine February 2023 ACCA exam feedback

I can see clearly now…

Failed ACCA APM? In order to plot a route to success you need to know where you are, says Geoff Cordwell

Failing a paper at the Strategic level of ACCA is a blow, of course. Many might say, “well, I learnt something and so I am now in a better position”. I think that this is true. Studying something will improve knowledge and practising questions will help improve technique. However, there is a problem when failing APM which isn’t present in some of the other papers at this level.

If you attempt an ATX question, it should be obvious, at least some of the time, where you have gone wrong. Maybe you couldn’t remember a rule? Or maybe you used the wrong tax rate?

In SBR errors can be made with the IFRS rules, either in principle or in application to the question. Either way, you know what you don’t know.

In APM this is a little different. APM, at its core, is a management accounting/performance management paper. There are very few ‘rules’ to learn. Every scenario is different, and the only constraint in the questions is the imagination of the examiner. What is ‘right’ in one business might be ‘wrong’ in another. For example, incremental budgeting works great for a well-established coffee shop chain but is a disaster for a mobile phone start up facing huge technological changes every week.

Equally, in APM, the questions can be subtly different to each other. You’re asked to create a justified KPI, and you forget to justify it or merely talk about the financial effect of having it. Which means that you don’t score well at all. In the exam, therefore, you are writing what you think are good points, but in the end you score 43%. What this can lead to is confusion and that awful question, “where did I go wrong here?”. Clearly, if you don’t know why you have failed, then there is a difficulty with the next question –“what do I need to do differently”.

So, what would I advise?

1. Get advice. This may be the first thing you have ever failed. There are tutors out there that have seen it all before and can help.

2. Deal with any emotional baggage that you may have. Failing a paper can undermine confidence, and this is common. Speaking to a coach or your tutor can help. How you respond to a setback is key to your future progress.

3. Carefully read the examiner’s report for the

paper you sat. Frequently, common faults in the student cohort are mentioned, and it could be that what you did wrong is included.

4. Take another look at the exam paper (this might be painful), try to remember what you did and seek advice from tutors about the approach you took.

5. Audit your personal position, you need to know why you have failed…

Generally, what you need to do is diagnose yourself. Did you know enough? Were there gaps in your knowledge? Was your technique strong enough?

In my view this is hard to do alone. Being aware of your own weaknesses, although important, is tricky. Maybe you don’t know what you don’t know? This suggests you need help to diagnose your specific problems along with professional advice as to what to do about them.

This is my solution to the diagnosis issue, but your own tutor might have something else. Diagnostic Knowledge Test: A test of the critical aspects of APM knowledge – do you know enough? Once you have identified what you don’t know well enough then it is easier to work towards improving.

Diagnostic Writing Assessment: Based in a relatively simple knowledge, area this assessment provides feedback on your approach and technique. Are you good at structure choices? Do you use enough of the specifics in the questions and so apply yourself well? Is your writing clear? Do you adopt good professional skills? Again, armed with good quality feedback you are better placed to improve.

Both these products are included in my new diagnostic revision course plus mock course.

6. Book an appropriate course

If you scored less than 40% then a revisiononly course might not be enough. I sometimes recommend a re-set, to start again. APM, in my opinion, cannot easily be studied from a book, it needs to be explained by an expert. A common reason for failure is lack of understanding stemming from an attempt to self-study APM. If you score very lowly, then starting again with a competent tutor is wise.

If you score between 40% and 47% then a revision course is sensible. You should get concise revision notes, a reminder of the key principles and plenty of questions to practice. Marking of some of your work is also vital. You need expert guidance on how to improve in APM. I certainly mark at least four questions from every student on my revision courses. The feedback is crucially important.

If you score 48% or 49%, then a mock exam only might be enough, but consult your tutor. I cannot recommend the ACCA’s own mock exam. They are NOT new questions and are NOT marked. They may be free, but the questions can be found in most revision kits as they are merely old exam questions from years ago. You get what you pay for here I am afraid.

In my view, retaking students need to better understand where they are going wrong, since only then can they plot a route towards a pass.

• Geoff Cordwell is a tutor at FMELearnonline. com. See GeoffCordwell.com

38 PQ PQ Magazine February 2023 ACCA Strategic level

Using online learning to prepare for exams


discusses how accountants can use online learning to prepare for exams

Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, online learning was not a welcomed educational approach for trainee accountants. However, the switch to training online has since become an effective way for busy professionals to work at their own pace from any location.

With the global EdTech sector estimated to be worth $270bn, the need for eLearning and eAssessment applications show no signs of slowing down. And although it’s likely that a hybrid approach will continue for online learning and in-person assessment, there are plenty of ways accounting professionals can use eLearning software to their advantage when preparing for upcoming exams.

Flexibility at its finest

For busy working professionals who may not have the time or means to attend in-person classes in a specific place, the switch to digital learning means that they can study their course material at a time

and place that suits them. Especially during exam season, this added flexibility can help to create a more positive workstudy balance at what is usually a stressful time.

And it’s not just students that can benefit from the flexibility of online training. Course leaders and assessors are able to streamline their offerings through remote automation, helping to keep students engaged with their exam preparation and retention rates high.

Practice makes perfect

In a recent study conducted by our parent company, Eintech, almost a quarter of students found it difficult to source and access practice papers. When these are readily available on eLearning platforms, those who are working towards professional qualifications are able to

access their practice papers in one place and use them throughout their revision process. The convenience of being able to access preuploaded practice papers means that students can test their knowledge as many times as they need before their final exam.


The increased implementation of artificial intelligence tools means that students can get a lot more out of their online training platform compared to in-person learning. Practice questions can be structured in multiple different ways, from multiple choice to complex spreadsheet-based questions.

The growing potential of AI means that automated marking is becoming more intelligent all the time, offering students immediate results and feedback as they work.

Traditional in-person learning and assessment still holds its rightful place in the professional qualifications sector. However, the switch to online learning has enabled a wealth of opportunities for those undertaking professional accountancy qualifications, offering great potential now and into the future.

To find out how Rogo can help with your online training strategy, visit www.getrogo.com

• James Carter is CEO of Rogo

PQ 39 PQ Magazine February 2023 remote study

Why charity role is a win-win

Have you thought about becoming a charity trustee? Daniel Chan explains why, for him, it has been a most rewarding experience

developing the charity’s strategy, recruiting a CEO, setting remuneration policies for staff and appointing external auditors. It adds to your wider skillset, and the skills I have learned, such as strategic thinking, negotiation and influencing and decision making, have benefitted my career. I have also had the opportunity to meet and work with many interesting and inspiring people.

Importantly, you get to help your community. It’s a unique learning experience while giving something back: a win-win.

How do I become a charity trustee?

The most important aspect is to understand the causes you want to volunteer for; after all, you are giving your time to do this so do something you are passionate about. There are many places you can search for charity trustee vacancies and opportunities, including ICAEW Volunteers, which has a focus on finance professionals.

One of the most personally rewarding and career enhancing steps I’ve taken is to become a charity trustee. When UK Youth was looking to appoint a trustee with financial skills it piqued my interest, as it suited my passion for supporting young people and was an opportunity to use my professional experience. Five years on, I remain a trustee for the charity.

Countless charities are seeking trustees to help them deliver their charitable purpose, particularly those who understand finance or from different backgrounds bringing different perspectives. There’s a common misconception that charity trustee roles are only for those who are senior or more experienced –the Young Trustees Movement has stated that less than 3% of trustees are under the age of 30. There are many charities who are on the lookout for people with passion and who can offer a financial perspective, and those going through professional qualifications often have the knowledge and experience they are looking for.

What is the role of a charity trustee?

Trustees have independent control over, and legal responsibility for, a charity’s management and administration. They collectively make key decisions about the direction of the charity, and how best to use the available resources to deliver its purpose. Each charity has a governing document which sets out the objects and powers, and trustees must ensure that the charity’s work complies with this. It’s a serious but rewarding role.

Many charities have staff who help with the day-to-day running, so the trustees’ role is more

strategic. However, this will vary and with small charities in particular, the role can be more hands-on. For many trustees, the role involves scrutiny, oversight and strategic direction, involving asking probing questions and offering ideas.

A common question is around how much time is required. This depends on the individual role and it can vary significantly. It’s important to understand at the outset the commitment you are making and whether it fits your priorities. It’s also important to understand any commitments during the working day, and if you can accommodate this. I’ve found if it’s something that you want to do, you’ll make time.

As someone with financial knowledge and experience, it’s likely that you will be asked to take on a finance-related role, such as being a member of the finance committee. However, the finances of a charity are the responsibility of the board as a whole, so there’s consensus and support with financial decision making.

Why become a charity trustee?

There are so many benefits to becoming a trustee. It’s a great way to put your professional and personal skills to wider use. Finance and accountancy knowledge are in demand, and it’s another way to put your professional qualification studies into practice. You can also bring perspectives from your background, lived experience and wider interests which can support the charity.

It can be a fantastic opportunity to learn new things and gain new experiences. Some interesting examples from my own trustee experience have included being involved in

The charity trustee recruitment process will typically involve submitting an application, usually a cover letter and a CV, followed by an interview, which can vary from an informal chat to a more formal panel discussion. It’s important to remember this is also an opportunity to see whether the charity and the role fits your expectations, as well as the charity finding out whether you are right for them.

If your application is not successful, don’t be disheartened or give up, as there are many other charities. It may simply be that there were other applicants that more closely suited what the charity was looking for.

Where to find more information?

Charities in the UK are regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW), the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and/or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI), depending on where they are registered. A particularly important guide is CCEW’s guidance, ‘CC3 – The Essential Trustee: What you need to know, what you need to do’.

A number of organisations have information on charity trusteeship, including Getting on Board, which has a guide on ‘How to become a charity trustee’ and the ICAEW also has online Trustee Training Modules to provide an overview of charity trustees’ legal and financial responsibilities and their strategic and operational considerations.

Go for it!

No matter where you are in your journey with your accountancy professional qualification, if you are interested in exploring becoming a trustee, my advice would be to ‘go for it!’. Think about what you’re passionate about, look at the opportunities that are available and be proactive in approaching charities. It’s not without its ups and downs, but you’ll find it incredibly rewarding to contribute to and see the impact of the charity’s work as a trustee.

• Daniel Chan is a Director at PwC

40 PQ PQ Magazine February 2023 your career

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 have had little time to prepare for my upcoming job interview. What is your advice for last-minute preparation?

Jobs are going green!

Green Jobs Barometer has shone a light on the regions and sectors where these jobs are being created.

Green jobs are growing at around four times the rate of the overall UK employment market, with 2.2% of all new jobs classed as green. However, more than onethird of these roles are now based in London and the South East.

The second edition of PwC’s Green Jobs Barometer has found that the number of green jobs advertised in the UK has almost trebled in the past year, equating

In brief

FCA fines Santander UK £107.7m


You are no doubt feeling the pressure if you’ve secured a job interview but feel there’s not enough time to prepare. Even with your interview just around the corner, there are still ways you can successfully be ready to prove why the job should be yours. Here are my top four pieces of advice.

1. I recommend preparing a pitch, around two to three minutes long, which details your experience, skills and ambitions going forward.

2. Take a moment to re-read the job description and highlight key words. Then you can address these to illustrate the ways in which you are a suitable candidate.

3. Another top tip is to visit the organisation’s website; familiarise yourself with the main information and get a crucial sense of the organisation’s brand including their values and their purpose. Consider details like how long they have been established, research who their competitors are and their major projects.

4. Prepare some good questions to impress your interviewers. Asking good questions not only shows engagement but provides you with the answers you may want to know! Remember, if you use the time available to prepare efficiently, you can still showcase your best self in a last-minute interview.

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

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined Santander UK £107,793,300 after it found serious and persistent gaps in its anti-money laundering (AML) controls, affecting its business banking customers.

Between 31 December 2012 and 18 October 2017, Santander failed to properly oversee and manage its AML systems, which significantly impacted the account oversight of more than 560,000 business customers.

Santander had ineffective systems to adequately verify the information provided by customers about the business they would be doing. The firm also failed to properly monitor the money customers had told them would be going through their accounts compared

to 336,000 posts, providing encouragement that the economy is becoming greener.

Carl Sizer, PwC UK’s Head of Regions, said: “The huge growth in green jobs over the last year illustrates how we are creating a Green Britain. One year on, our

“While Wales and Scotland are among the top performers, it’s striking that one in five new green roles are based in the capital. If growth continues on this trajectory the compounding effect means the green economy will increase London’s dominance over other cities and regions. If we want to meet our Net Zero ambitions while driving growth, then the green economy needs to be nationwide.”

with what actually was being deposited.

UK’s big companies up tax contribution

The UK’s biggest listed companies generated £81.5bn in tax during the 2021/22 financial year despite lockdowns and ongoing social distancing measures throughout much of 2021, according to a new study. The 18th annual Total Tax Contribution of the 100 Group, produced by PwC, estimates the companies contributed £26bn in taxes borne – those that are a direct cost to the company – and a further £55.5bn in taxes collected, such as income tax and employee National Insurance Contributions (NICs) deducted under PAYE, for the year ended 31 March 2022. In 2021/22, the 100 Group’s tax contribution increased by 5.2% on a two-year

trend basis.

RSM UK revenue up 13%

RSM has unveiled a 13% (£49m) increase in UK annual revenues to £425.4 million. It says the results “underscore the firm’s continued success in capturing further market share”.

During the year the firm recruited 650 graduates and school leavers, compared with 410 the previous year. The record intake is part of the firm’s strategic intention to strengthen the firm from within its own ranks.

With 354 partners across the firm, the annual revenue generated equates to £1.20m per partner (increasing from £1.04m in 2021). Profit before tax for the year, after partner remuneration, was £11.5m (increasing from £10m) amounting to a 15% increase.

The PQ Book Club: books you should read

Inclusive and sustainable finance: Leadership, ethics and culture. By Atul K Shah (Routledge £27.99)

We have a confession to make: PQ magazine is a friend of Atul K Shah. We have always liked people who try to make accountants think in a different way and Professor Shah is someone who does just that in his latest book (see last month’s front cover for more).

As we reviewed his book he was on a tour of India spreading the word.

I think it is fair to say this book is a disruptive tome, talking to people about the how diverse cultures and

communities can help change accountancy for the better. When was the last time that you saw finance and violence connected for instance? Shah says finance has been violent towards nature and society. Business behaviour, especially large corporations, has been a major part of the problem here. However, I am more interested in how Shah explains the importance of community and tradition and what accountancy has forgotten. And what about faith? Shah looks at Judaism and Jainism, Hindu banking – and lots more besides.

He is not just standing alone here either; he has brought

together a whole host of key voices to try to engender change.

We firmly believe this is a seminal work, and have no doubt that in 10 years’ time everyone will be saying ‘he told us so’!

PQ rating: 5/5 As the dust jacket says, this pioneering book draws on diverse traditions and their current living business practices to show that not only is another world possible, but is hiding in plain sight. We read it from cover to cover and thoroughly recommend you do too.

PQ 41 PQ Magazine February 2023
A new PwC barometer shows there is growing demand for ‘green’ professional and scientific roles
Dear Karen

The Apprentice is back, and so are the accountants

Dublin-based accountant Kevin D’Archy is among the candidates for the latest series of The Apprentice, which returned on 5 January.

He has a side hustle which he started in lockdown – a water sports business – which turned over just under half-a-million pounds in two years. And his biggest weakness? “In short, I can be a little outspoken, so probably not knowing when to shut up.”

Also on the list of 18 is Denisha Kaur Bharj, a financial controller. She said she can handle pressure and is constantly thinking ahead. Let’s see if that works!

Looking ahead for a mid-life crisis?

Researchers have confirmed that people really do have a midlife crisis and work-related stress will peak at 45. Well, that’s something to look forward to!

The study suggested that a combination of social issues and psychological stress hit many in their late forties or early fifties. The scientists said people feel overwhelmed in their workplace and 45 seems to be the age when all your buttons are being pressed at once.

Interestingly, they were unable to explain why there was a sudden decline in psychological and emotional health, although being disappointed with one’s lot or feeling unfulfilled appears to come to the fore. Just feeling old also adds to the problem!

The good news is that once you come out the other side you become less neurotic and selfconscious.

It is a cracker – 3,275 file their UK tax return on Christmas Day

When is the perfect time to get your tax return into HMRC? Well, for 3,275 taxpayers Christmas Day worked!

In all, 22,060 taxpayers submitted their self assessment tax form between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. This is down on the 31,000 ‘customers’ who filed their returns for 2020/2021 in the same period.

Some 141 people even filed between 23.00 and 23.59 on 24 December – meaning they could really enjoy Christmas Day with all their admin sorted.

The deadline to file and pay any tax owed for the 2021 to 2022 tax year is 31 January 2023.

Acca’s cross

Trumps trumps former presidents

Top tax tutor Neil da Costa recently posted his thoughts on the publication of Donald Trump’s tax returns: “Finally, former president’s tax returns have been released and reveal that in 2020, he paid no tax. In 2016, he only paid $750 in tax. He was able to do this despite him and his wife Melania earning tens of millions in investment income by offsetting business losses and claiming tax depreciation for the properties he owns. Tax avoidance is perfectly legal, and Mr Trump did nothing wrong. The IRS reported that they had insufficient resources to carefully examine his estimated 400 business interests. So, why was Mr Trump reluctant to reveal his tax returns as is customary amongst US Presidents? According to a Democrat spokesperson, this was because he was trying to hide his lack of business acumen. In terms of comparison with previous Presidents Clinton, GW Bush and Obama, Trump had the highest income but due to efficient tax planning paid the lowest rate of tax. The comparison also showed that Presidential book writing can be extremely lucrative with previous presidents earning millions from their memoirs.”

New banknotes unveiled

The Bank of England has unveiled the design of the King Charles III banknotes. The portrait of the King will appear on existing designs of all four polymer banknotes (£5, £10, £20 and £50), with no other changes to the existing designs.

The King’s image will appear on the front of the banknotes, as well as in cameo in the see-through security window. The new notes are expected to enter circulation by mid-2024. All polymer banknotes carrying a portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II remain legal tender, and the public can continue to use them as normal. In line with guidance from the Royal Household, to minimise the environmental and financial impact of this change new notes will only be printed to replace worn banknotes and to meet any overall increase in demand for them. Notes featuring HM Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III will therefore co-circulate.

A keen PQ magazine reader recently sent us a picture of Acca’s Cross in Hexham. Acca was Bishop of Hexham between 709 and 732. The Hexham Abbey website explains that the vibrant musical life of the Abbey today can trace its roots back to Acca: he was an accomplished musician as well as an outstanding theologian, and he was determined that music and liturgy in Hexham should be as fine as anywhere in Europe.

The Cross is no longer complete, and what remains has been re-assembled from several fragments. The two top pieces of the Cross were rescued from the foundations of a warehouse near the site of St Mary’s Church in the Market Place, adjacent to the Abbey; and the lower section spent some time serving as the lintel over a farmhouse door in nearby Dilston.

Mr President and then CEO!

Before becoming CEO of ICAEW in 2006, Michael Izza was an FD at 30 for Birra Moretti, and then an MD at 32. But how did it all start?

Before he joined Coopers & Lybrand, he had spent a year as president of Durham Students’ Union. We let him take up the story: “For a 21-year-old that was a really interesting experience: we employed 25 members of staff, I was on the university’s Council and Senate, I met the Secretary of State for Education –and I got an early taste of some of the things I have in this job. It was a really important time in my life.

“When I started training, I absolutely went in at the bottom – I was making tea and doing photocopying – and initially I did wonder, ‘Don’t they know I’m the immediate past president of Durham Students’ Union?’ But you’ve just got to get over that and get on with it! Pretty quickly I started doing things that were more interesting. I trained in the Manchester office, and we had a wide range of clients from small businesses to multinationals, so I got a real spectrum of experience.”

42 PQ the PQ Magazine February 2023 got a story, funny or serious, you want to share? Email graham@pqmagazine.com

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