EXPERT ADVICE pros and cons of working for small or large businesses
ADAPTING TO CHANGE
PERSONAL BRANDING CREATING more career opportunities
editor’s choice Welcome to the AUGUST issue of Student Accountant Working for a large or small company each has its benefits. It could be argued that the bigger the firm, the greater the training and career progression opportunities, while a role at a start-up may provide exposure to a wider remit of accountancy and finance work. We meet experts with advice for those of you considering your next move. Whichever path you decide to take, we reveal the importance of being able to adapt to change, as well as getting your personal brand in order. But what exactly do we mean by ‘personal brand’ and why should you – as a future accountant – care? In Learning Centre, recruitment experts reveal the most common interview faux pas and how to avoid them, and we also consider how to answer bizarre interview questions. Next time an interviewer asks ‘What kind of animal are you?’, we discover what exactly they are trying to find out.
If you are coming up against limited opportunities to gain more practical experience, we offer some ideas worth exploring that you may not have considered. If securing a workplace mentor is currently proving difficult, read our tips on how to find someone appropriate. Our new technical articles this month are relevant to Papers FFM, F4 (ENG), F4 (SGP), F4 (ZAF), P1, P2, P5 and P6 (SGP). Finally, don’t forget to personalise your issue of Student Accountant so that we can continue to help support you in your ACCA studies. If you have any feedback about this issue, please email us at studentaccountant@ accaglobal.com Victoria Morgan Editor, Student Accountant magazine
Published by the Certified Accountants Educational Trust in cooperation with ACCA. The Council of ACCA and the publishers do not guarantee the accuracy of statements made by contributors or advertisers, or accept any responsibility for any statement which they may make in this publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publishers. © CAET 2013 ISSN 1473‑0979
WELCOME | CONTENTS FEATURES | COMMUNICATION
06 PICTURE NEWS 08 NEWS ROUNDUP
20 PERSONAL BRANDING 24 SMALL FISH, BIG POND? 26 ADAPTING TO CHANGE
learning centre 20
10 MOST COMMON MISTAKES IN AN INTERVIEW 12 Funniest JOB INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 14 Member Profile 16 WAYS TO GET PER 18 WORKPLACE MENTORS
SA technical article archive
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26 Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
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DISPATCH | NEWS IN PICTURES
SOUTH AFRICA SOUTH AFRICA Well-wishers sing as they gather to show support for ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela who celebrated his 95th birthday in hospital AUSTRALIA Australia’s ruling Labor Party dramatically elected former leader Kevin Rudd as prime minister and dumped Julia Gillard ahead of forthcoming elections
UK Andy Murray becomes the first Briton to claim the Wimbledon men’s singles title since 1936
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SOUTH KOREA SOUTH KOREA The world’s largest ship, Maersk Mc‑Kinney Moller, on its maiden voyage from South Korea JAPAN Japanese voters have handed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a thumping victory in its upper house elections. The landslide victory means both legislative chambers are now under government control until at least 2016
US The Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island opens to the public for the first time since Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 US The city of Detroit, the cradle of America’s automobile industry and once the nation’s fourth most populous city, has declared bankruptcy. It is the largest American city to declare bankruptcy with $18bn of debt
DISPATCH | NEWS ROUNDUP Governments ‘improving’ More transparent accounting practices are being adopted by governments worldwide, according to a PwC study. A survey of 100 countries found that more than half of governments either use accrual accounting, or intend to do so within the next five years. Patrice Schumesch, PwC global public finance partner, said: ‘Public sector financial statements should reflect the full economic impact of political decisions – and this can only be fully achieved by applying accrual accounting.’ LEASE ACCOUNTING RETHINK The International Accounting Standards Board and the US Financial Accounting Standards Board have jointly proposed a revised exposure draft for the treatment of leases. The revisions follow substantial criticisms from the lease finance sector of the previous exposure draft, which they claimed failed to recognise the substantially different types of lease arrangements that are used. The existing standard has been criticised by investors as not ensuring an accurate representation of leasing obligations. Under the new exposure draft, a lessee would recognise assets and liabilities of leases that are of more than 12 months’ duration. Property leases would be treated differently from equipment leases. Entities will be required to provide more information in their reports to improve transparency. TALENT CHALLENGE FOR AUDIT Audit firms throughout south-east Asia face challenges in attracting and retaining top talent, the first meeting of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) audit regulators and global and regional audit firms heard. ‘A concerted effort is needed, both within audit firms and across the financial reporting chain, to address these
TAX REPorting changes ahead Large companies will have to disclose profits, taxes and subsidies in each country in which they operate under proposals announced by European internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier. Barnier also announced that enhanced disclosure proposals covering environmental, social, employee and human rights issues and maintain the high standard of audit that is vital to the continued progress of ASEAN’s economic story,’ said Kenneth Yap, chief executive of Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. ACCA launches customer service charter Eighty per cent of telephone calls aimed to be answered in 20 seconds; 80% of emails aimed to be responded to in two days; and 90% of online registration applications aimed to be processed in five working days… These are just some of the commitments that have been made in the customer service charter launched by ACCA. The charter also explains how ACCA Connect provides easy access to potential students and current ones, affiliates and members, in answering their queries. Social media is widely used to keep everyone up-to-date with ACCA developments and news too. The charter also states when exam results are published – 8 February and 8 August – and
Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
impacts have gone to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for approval. ACCA chief executive Helen Brand said: ‘ACCA fully endorses the suggestion that companies should rely on internationally accepted frameworks to report this information. There should be a convergence of international, EU and national principles.’ how results are sent to students through their chosen method of either email or mobile phone text message. If customer service is not to the standard expected, details of where to complain are also detailed in the charter. Judith Bennett, ACCA’s director of service delivery, said: ‘This customer service charter lists our commitment to all those who are associated with ACCA, or looking to becoming a part of ACCA. ‘As we grow as an organisation, we realise how important it is to ensure we are contactable when we are needed, and so we have many avenues of communication – email, telephone, text message, and social media. To make sure we give the service our customers want, we welcome constructive feedback to help us improve and hone it to what is needed. ‘ACCA aims to provide outstanding global and local customer-focused delivery that meets the needs of its stakeholders, whether as individuals or as business entities.’
LEARNING CENTRE | INTERVIEws
The most common mistakes in AN interview
We take a look at the biggest pitfalls trainees can fall into during job interviews… and how to avoid them. ALEX MILLER reports
There are many potential errors that trainees can make in the run up to and during interviews, but those who consider the basics, do their research and remain poised are more likely to enjoy more productive and relevant conversations with prospective employers. For starters – and while it may seem obvious – never lie or embellish experience in a CV or the interview. More often than not, the truth will be found out through the reference process or later on once you have been recruited. Instead, focus on any measurable successes you have accomplished through previous work experience, including volunteer work and educational pursuits.
Phil Sheridan, managing director of Robert Half UK, observes: ‘Honesty is the best policy. Embellishing the truth or coming across as inauthentic doesn’t help your cause. Is “working too hard” really your biggest weakness? ‘Over-rehearsed and unlikely answers frustrate experienced
interviewers who want insights into the real you. While you don’t need to highlight shortcomings or give the details about a succession of redundancies, you should present an accurate – albeit positive – picture of who you are and what you bring to the table.’ Trainees have been known to arrive at an interview with little or
‘Over-rehearsed and unlikely answers frustrate experienced interviewers who want insights into the real you’
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no knowledge of the company or role they are applying for, or even who they are meeting. If the hirer gets the impression you don’t know much about the company, then they are unlikely to consider you for the role, even if you are qualified for it. Remember the market is highly competitive, so you need to have that edge over the next candidate to walk through the door. It may help to do a SWOT analysis on the company. Review whatever financial data you can access (for example, annual reports, quarterly shareholders statements, and so on) to include in your analysis. ‘Those who come to the interview armed with information about the interviewer/company, the content of their CV and anecdotes that reveal their skills and talents will be most likely to land the job,’ adds Sheridan. On a practical level, alarm clock failures, traffic jams and last-minute grooming issues can strike at the most unfortunate times, but you can guard against these potential problems by planning ahead. The night before your interview make sure to get plenty of sleep, set a backup alarm and print directions to the employer’s office. Build in extra time to get there. ‘A number of applicants fail to turn up for an interview without even letting the interviewer know,’ says James Smith, associate director of Morgan McKinley’s accountancy and finance contract team. ‘This leaves a terrible impression and the same can be said for lateness. Always leave early and aim to arrive early for an interview. If unforeseen circumstances cause a delay be sure to phone or email ahead to explain you are running late.’
‘Showcase your interpersonal abilities by taking conversational cues from the interviewer: some enjoy small talk, while others prefer to get down to the formalities straightaway’ Remember on arrival that first impressions count. So many issues come down to first impressions, but do try to avoid such things as chewing gum, wearing a t-shirt under a shirt, wearing a black shirt or black tie. It is essential to attend an interview in correct formal business wear. Showcase your interpersonal abilities by taking conversational cues from the interviewer: some enjoy small talk, while others prefer to get down to the formalities straightaway. As soon as the hiring manager appears ready to talk business, offer them your CV. Volunteer to talk them through it, steering the discussion. But the interviewer isn’t the only person you need to win over. Managers ask their assistant’s opinion of prospective hires, so be friendly and polite to everyone you meet, from the security guard to the person on reception. And display your best manners while waiting. For example, don’t use your mobile phone, an all-too-common etiquette faux pas. Nicholas Kirk, managing director at Page Personnel Finance, says: ‘It’s particularly important to come across well when you’re meeting someone for the first time as these impressions count. Make eye contact, as this will show you are engaged and listening. Also, a firm handshake is often one that is seen
as highly important. It can be the smaller things that will help you win over an interviewer’s opinion. ‘Always have some questions prepared to ask following the interview. This shows you have done your research and that you are interested in the role. Pick up on areas in the interview that you can ask questions on to show you took it all in, or ask for an idea of what the role’s day-to-day tasks will involve. ‘If you haven’t had a chance to talk about the research you’ve done on the company up to that point during the interview, now is a good chance to bring it up – for example, “I notice from your latest quarterly statement that you’re expanding into Asia this year. Has that had any impact on the finance team’s workload?”’
LEARNING CENTRE | INTERVIEW TECHNIQUE
FUNNIEST JOB INTERVIEW QUESTIONS EVER We ask three top recruiters to recall the funniest or most bizarre questions trainees have been asked in interview… and how to answer them
As any job seeker can tell you, achieving the perfect job interview is no easy feat, but that feat becomes even harder if an interviewer throws in some ‘curveball’ questions that, on the surface at least, seem to make no sense. We ask three leading recruitment experts to share the funniest questions they have heard in interview situations – and what exactly the interviewer is looking for in a candidate’s response.
managing director Page Personnel Finance What animal are you most like and why? This question is an indirect way of asking you to describe what sort of person you are. Think about the organisation you are interviewing for – would they be looking for something versatile or would loyalty and working hard be their main priorities? How many hospitals are there in the UK? With this sort of question the answer is not important.
Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
The interviewer wants you to demonstrate that you can think complex problems through logically. You should talk about the process you would go through to find the right answer. Start with what facts you have and then work the problem through – for example, ‘I know the population of London is roughly eight million and if I searched online for “hospitals in London” and look at the number of hits as a proportion of the population in London, I could then access the UK population from census data and apply the same proportion to arrive at a final answer.’
How would you get an elephant into a fridge? The interviewer is looking for creativity in your answer here or a sense of humour. How you deal with the questions is usually the aim and can help to build rapport with the interviewer. Try to relax and answer as if you were discussing the answer with a friend. Questions like these can throw you, so take your time when answering; interviewers know you won’t have a rehearsed answer so won’t mind if you take a minute and think logically. Your mere acceptance to answer the question and desire to come up with a sound response might encourage the interviewer to think you are willing to tackle new problems.
talent acquisition specialist Morgan McKinley How would you go about finding a purple monkey? This question is testing the candidate’s ability to ask effective questions and logical reasoning – ie how tall does the
What is the funniest interview question you have ever been asked? Email us at studentaccountant@ accaglobal.com ▶ monkey have to be? Can it be a toy? Does it have to be real? Can you dye it? Does it have to be dead or alive?
It is the end of the second week and people are gathering around the water cooler. What would the gossip be about you? This question is testing self‑awareness – how do you want to be perceived by the company and how would you deal with confrontation?
You are throwing a dinner party and are inviting five guests, who can be from the past or present. Who would you invite and why? This question is testing your analytical process, finding out about the real you and your interests. Be aware that you are showcasing your depth – ie if you mention you would bring the entire Big Brother cast, unless you are interviewing for a PR or reality journalist, you may get a few raised eyebrows. Have a broad range to show your interests in current affairs and history, but remain true to yourself.
managing director Robert Half UK Consider these real‑life responses from hiring managers who were asked to name the strangest things they had ever heard of happening in a job interview: ¤ When asked by
the hiring manager why she was leaving her current job, the applicant said: ‘My manager is a jerk. All managers are jerks.’ ¤A fter answering the first few questions, the candidate picked up his mobile and called his mum to let them know the interview was going well. ¤T he candidate halted the conversation about work hours and the office environment, saying she didn’t like being confined to a building but would consider taking the job if she could move her desk to the courtyard outside. ¤A fter arriving for an early morning interview, the candidate asked to use the hiring manager’s phone. She proceeded to fake a coughing fit as she called in sick to her boss. While it is unlikely you will make mistakes like these, it helps to prepare before interviewing with a prospective employer. There are several tips to help you make a good first impression: ¤B efore the interview, review the job description again and make sure you can describe how your skills and experience match the requirements of the position. ¤D ress appropriately. Even if you are interviewing with a company that has a casual dress code, it is better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. ¤ In all likelihood, the hiring manager will ask you a host of standard questions, such as ‘Why do you want to work for this firm?’ Practise responses to these queries so that you can provide clear and concise answers. ¤B e confident during the interview. Make eye contact with the interviewer and nod your head in agreement to show you are engaged.
LEARNING CENTRE | MEMBER PROFILE
Ahmed Asad Hashim MALDIVES
For ACCA member Ahmed Asad Hashim, accountancy was an obvious career choice as he had a passion for numbers. But it was also a challenge as his home country of the Maldives is ‘a small island nation with very few finance professionals’. Here, he offers some useful advice to students After working in finance for more than 11 years, Asad is now assistant financial controller for the Maldives’ largest-listed company, telecommunications provider Dhiraagu. ‘As an ACCA member, I have been able to reach a senior position in a large company relatively quickly,’ he comments. ‘Membership provides recognition and acceptance by what I believe is a highly professional and exclusive association.’ Keep up to date Although he began his career in 1998, Asad only decided to study for the ACCA Qualification in 2007 because it covered both technical and management skills and offered global recognition. Given his CV, work experience was not an issue, although he regrets not having kept a better record of his progress. ‘I had to re-do certain tasks to gain sign off, and had to contact previous employers, which was both difficult and time-consuming,’ he
says. ‘I advise students to record all experience as they gain it – something I continue to do even though I am now a member.’ Before achieving ACCA membership, Asad also found it challenging to meet the demands of his mentor. ‘He would only sign off each performance objective when completely sure I had gained the experience required, even giving me extra tasks if necessary, which could be frustrating. However, I now realise how useful this was – I gained a thorough understanding of each area of finance, and I use this experience when training my own staff.’ Enjoy the benefits Asad became an ACCA member in 2011 and advises current students to remain focused so that they can take advantage of the benefits of membership. ‘You can work on more diverse and interesting areas of finance, and gain more responsibility,’ he says, ‘but perhaps, more importantly, as a
‘Work hard, keep a positive attitude, and try to understand the business reasons behind the numbers – this will help you excel in the commercial world’ Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
member you can access unexpected career possibilities, and if you delay you may miss an opportunity that could have had a lasting effect on your career.’ ACCA’s continuing professional development (CPD) commitment is now a priority for Asad, and one he finds relatively easy to meet. ‘Dhiraagu values CPD,’ he says, ‘and, as it is an integral part of my work, I have plenty of opportunities to gain the CPD credits required, and I’m finding it a positive experience.’ Now Asad wants to build his career further, using ACCA membership to enhance his reputation as a finance professional. ‘I want to gain more experience of financial strategy and planning,’ he says, ‘and hopefully work abroad at some stage.’ His advice to current students wanting an equally successful career is: ‘Work hard, keep a positive attitude, and try to understand the business reasons behind the numbers – this will help you excel in the commercial world.’
FEATURES | CENTRE LEARNING COMMUNICATION | practical experience
Ways to get
Student Accountant | AUGUST DECEMBER 2013 2012
A variety of techniques can be employed to gain practical work experience. If opportunities seem limited in your own workplace at first, use your imagination to increase your options. The list below provides some useful guidance Job rotation A job rotation involves temporarily swapping roles with a colleague. After receiving clear instructions, a job rotation will allow you to perform new tasks yourself, allowing you to gain valuable insights and acquire new skills. People who have undertaken job rotations often develop fresh ideas and feel a new enthusiasm when they resume their original role. Secondment A secondment is a transfer to another post (or department) for a fixed term. This is an excellent opportunity to gain increased responsibility and really challenge yourself, which, in turn, can increase job satisfaction. When trying to find a suitable secondment, look for opportunities to provide extended cover – for example, for staff on maternity or long-term sick leave, or on a sabbatical. Your workplace mentor, or those that can authorise such moves, may not have considered a secondment to be an option for you, so make sure you proactively present the secondment in a way that benefits everyone. On-the-job training On-the-job training involves being supervised while performing tasks, allowing you to build your skills and confidence. When planning on-the-job training, consider the activities for which you would like to be responsible, and for which your training would be welcomed and supported by your colleagues. This type of training also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills to your workplace mentor and
to colleagues who can influence your career progression. Workshops Workshops involve taking part in a group session to discuss pre‑agreed work-related topics. If you are given the opportunity, make time to attend workshops in which senior colleagues participate. You may be able to suggest running specific workshops on your own
Shadowing Shadowing involves observing the working practices of a more experienced colleague, usually for a task for which you cannot yet be given sole responsibility. You can learn a lot by watching and listening to fellow employees – provided they have the time to explain their actions as they work. Shadowing keeps disruption to colleagues to a minimum, but don’t forget to ask questions as
There is also more to practical experience than simply meeting ACCA’s membership criteria. As you witness first-hand how different techniques can be applied to different tasks or business areas, you will improve your own job satisfaction areas of expertise – perhaps for more junior employees – as these are excellent ways of encouraging your colleagues to voice and share valuable ideas away from the confines of the office. Project work Project work involves participation in team or inter-departmental projects. It is generally a good idea to volunteer for project work as it might lead to opportunities you had not considered when originally planning how to meet your performance objectives. Tasks such as negotiating, writing reports, hosting meetings, planning ahead, and coordinating the activities of others will develop the personal effectiveness skills that are mandatory practical experience requirements.
many people respond well to the opportunity to demonstrate their own specialist skills. Making the most of opportunities As you can see, there are often many more opportunities to gain practical experience than you might think. You simply have to think creatively and be proactive with your workplace mentor and colleagues. There is also more to practical experience than simply meeting ACCA’s membership criteria. As you witness first-hand how different techniques can be applied to different tasks or business areas, you will improve your own job satisfaction. You will also equip yourself with the skills to become an effective manager or workplace mentor in the future.
LEARNING CENTRE | practical experience
Workplace mentors: all you need to know The role of the workplace mentor is crucial to you completing your experience and gaining the ACCA Qualification
Unless you work for an Approved Employer – trainee development stream and have received the performance objective exemption, you will need a workplace mentor to help you achieve and sign off your performance objectives, as part of ACCA’s practical experience requirement. If you are looking for someone to take on the role of your workplace mentor, ACCA’s new video could be a good way to encourage them. How can I find someone to be my mentor? The first thing to keep in mind is that workplace mentors also benefit from the mentoring relationship and it is, therefore, acceptable for you to approach someone suitable and ask them to be your workplace mentor. If there is someone that you know who is a suitably qualified individual – who is a member of ACCA or an equivalent professional IFAC member body – you should ask them if they can be your workplace mentor. Before you approach a potential workplace mentor, you should make sure you know enough about the role so that you can easily explain it to them.
Familiarise yourself with the workplace mentor role ▶ Also, use the new video to give them an insight into the benefits of being a workplace mentor. Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
Not sure where to start? Some tips and pointers for looking for a workplace mentor ¤ Make it known at work that you are looking for a workplace mentor. Could you work with management to publicise the fact that you are looking for a workplace mentor? Perhaps you could send an email around the organisation or use your company’s intranet/internet? ¤ If there are no suitably qualified individuals at your workplace, you might be able to approach external auditors, financial advisers and taxation advisers if they have a business connection with your organisation. Perhaps your line manager could help you with this. This person would then countersign your performance objectives with your line manager – their role would be ‘training supervisor’.
Read the guidance in the PER guide for further details ▶ When you approach a potential workplace mentor, show them the new video and the workplace mentor brochure and encourage them to subscribe to ACCA’s e-magazine for workplace mentors.
WATCH THE WORKPLACE MENTOR VIDEO ▶
FEATURES | BRANDING
Branding: now it’s
Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
It isn’t enough to just have an up-to-date CV in today’s competitive jobs market. These days, candidates have to create their own personal brand in order to win the best roles It must have been about 10 years ago when someone first coined the phrase ‘Brand Beckham’, which became synonymous with the pin-up footballer David Beckham and his pop star wife Victoria taking over the celebrity world with a variety of different ventures, many of which had nothing to do with football or singing. They had, in a sense, become more than the sum of their parts and a commercially successful business in their own right. The importance of branding has always been a core factor in commercial success. Apple could arguably have fallen by the wayside in the late 1990s when it, in financial terms, trailed behind the enormous success and eye watering share price of Microsoft were it not for the strength of the brand ensuring that it always had a fiercely devoted and loyal customer base. So why should a soon-to-be qualified accountant care about brand and what advantages are there in creating your own personal brand? First, it will help you get noticed by the top employers. Last year, for example, PwC US – which recruited 10,000 employees, 6,000 of which were college recruits – launched a personal branding week to help train prospective new hires on building their personal brand and increasing their marketability. ‘The benefits are immense,’ says David Archer, director of recruitment firm CircleSquare. ‘Without a doubt, your personal brand sets you apart from your immediate competition: it gets you noticed in the right way. Many people don’t even consider this when looking at their career. It is quite easy to be insular and purely focus on your work from
an achievement perspective. Your personal brand is much more. It is about how people interact with you as an individual; it’s about how you conduct your relationships. ‘Creating the right personal brand will allow you to exude more confidence and will certainly create more career opportunities. It will also help forge the right first impression. If you look at The Iron Lady [a film about former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher], there is a scene where Thatcher’s image and tone are worked on. This is creating personal brand. That helped in her election as leader of her own party.’
worked at and needs to become part of your DNA. Personal brand includes your body language, your tone, your whole style of delivery. It is about building on strengths and polishing up your weaknesses. ‘To start with you really need to make a list of your strengths. Once you have this you will need to apply this in the work context – that is, look for internal projects that will really bring these soft skills out. It could be that one of your soft skills could be the ability to work under pressure within a team. As an accountant there will always be ad-hoc projects on the go that have deadlines attached to them. Ask to
‘Creating the right personal brand will allow you to exude more confidence and will certainly create more career opportunities. IT WILL ALSO HELP FORGE THE RIGHT FIRST IMPRESSION’ While it may not be necessary for you to change the way you talk, creating a personal brand does involve a close look at what exactly makes you be you, and how you can bring to the fore the character traits that will impress future employers and colleagues. ‘It is not as easy as one might think,’ says Archer. ‘It needs to be
be staffed on that. A good question to ask yourself prior to any meeting is: Why would they want to employ me? Pay special attention to your strengths, motivations, your values/ beliefs/drivers, key skills and also list out your achievements. ‘There is no point in having a personal brand if that is not supported by a history of
Questions to ask when developing personal brand: ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
What makes me different? Why would someone hire me? What soft skills are required for the role I am applying for? Would I employ me?
FEATURES | BRANDING
achievements. Achievements are driven by behaviours and the latter is what drives future success.’ Achievement aside, though, you also need to work hard on presenting the right image. ‘Practise in front of a mirror,’ says Archer. ‘I know this may seem silly but watch your body language. Keep it open, use your hands. Body language specialists see this openness as representing someone who is transparent and honest. That is one part: if you really want to go the whole hog, find some difficult interview questions online (there are many). Record your answers and listen to them. Pay attention to your tone, speed of delivery and the structure of your answers. Tweak it and record your response again. Notice the difference. This is part of You plc: your personal branding. Would you hire you? I would also suggest looking at someone at work or a business person that you respect and analysing what it is that you like about them. Adopt some of those behaviours: look at how you can portray them.’ While the whole notion of developing your personal brand, or You plc, may sound to some like another contrived piece of
When personal branding goes wrong The danger with standing out from everyone else with a high profile personal brand is that it is more noticeable when things go wrong, so understand that it is a delicate thing. It also takes just one bad choice to significantly damage. To restore the personal brand a mistake can be difficult, but not impossible. Taking full responsibility for your actions is paramount.
‘look at someone at work or a business person that you respect and analysing what it is that you like about them’ careers advice with little relevance in the real world, Archer says that sceptics are the ones who are missing the point. ‘There are always sceptics in life,’ he says. ‘Often these people repeat the same behaviours and get the same results, like the mouse on the wheel. It’s good there are sceptics as these are the people who likely have a limited personal brand; when you come up against them, it’s great!’ Consistency with branding is also crucial and this is where social media can help you achieve your
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goals. ‘Most employers undertake due diligence prior to making any hires,’ says Archer. ‘This also includes looking at your profile on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media. Make sure that your comments and pictures posted are consistent with the image you are trying to portray. This is the perfect opportunity for you to polish up your personal brand as employers will certainly like this. Obviously network well, join the right groups on LinkedIn and sell your brand in a subtle but confident way.’
FEATURES | EXPERT advice
SMALL FISH, BIG POND?
We talk to experts to discover whether commercially-minded trainees are better off working for large or small organisations during the early stages of their careers. Alex Miller reports
The ongoing global financial downturn has convinced a great percentage of Generation Y trainees that being involved in big business is not necessarily the ‘holy grail’ that it perhaps once was. According to recruitment experts Marks Sattin, almost one in five trainees distrust large organisations more now than they did at the beginning of the economic downturn. Research by the recruitment company also suggests that accountants with less than three years’ experience think they are more likely to get deeper exposure to all facets of accountancy by working for smaller companies – and are increasingly happy to sacrifice the chance to work for prestigious companies to achieve that exposure. Laura Wilson, associate director of the professional services division at Marks Sattin, says: ‘The latest crop of post-credit crunch accountants are less interested in working on big-ticket FTSE100 accounts than those who have been in the profession longer. ‘We are entering a new era in financial services CV building, in which trainees want to sell themselves not by reeling off lists
of FTSE100 clients or employers, but on their experience of smaller accounts and providing higher levels of responsibility. ‘Whether it’s true or not, candidates think they’ll be doing work that is more involved at an early stage in their careers by joining smaller organisations. Candidates think that smaller
perhaps doing the things that you are interested in and would actually be very good at. ‘At the All England Club we have a relatively young finance controller and she gets to see so much more at the age of 32 than she would do compared with someone in her peer group working for someone like Shell or Unilever, where you
‘Candidates think that smaller companies offer more variety and more autonomy – and candidates are increasingly willing to get it’ companies offer more variety and more autonomy – and candidates are increasingly willing to get it.’ Richard Atkinson, finance director at the All England Lawn Tennis Club – home to the Wimbledon tennis championships – tells Student Accountant: ‘If you really want a commercial job such as mine later in your career, then you really are better off doing a relatively senior job at a relatively smaller place in the early stages of your career. By taking a role with a very large organisation you can quickly become very specialised, with armies of people around you
Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
would be very specialised. At a larger employer you would also be in a very pigeon-holed job and you would probably change roles every 18 months or so if you were any good – and, as a result, you never really get fully up to speed with anything. ‘I feel very passionate about that. I spent most of my twenties (aside from a year at Lloyds Bank) working for manageable-sized organisations where you get your mind around it. I think that is the ideal route to follow if you want to wind up in a financial director or chief financial officer type role like mine.
‘The safe option in accountancy is to go and work for an organisation where you are just one of thousands of people going through the system. From there, you can move into a head office accountancy role in a FTSE100 company where, again, all you are is a small cog in a very big machine. I think that is the safe option. ‘But I learned a lot in my twenties and I can credit that period for developing the instinct and intuition I apply to my role. You can’t have that instinct if you have been churning out the statutory accounts of some plc – that isn’t to say it isn’t a huge job and a difficult job, but I don’t think it is great grounding for the type of job I do today.’ Nonetheless, there are plenty of accountants who believe that grabbing an opportunity at a global company with a larger presence is priceless because it will strengthen your CV and impress employers and clients for the remainder of your career. There are many significant benefits to working at a larger organisation – how much these
benefits matter to you depends on your goals. One of the most important benefits of working for a large company is its brand name on your CV, since it is so well known worldwide. If you are looking for a place to jump-start your accounting career, such companies can be a worthwhile option. It is also well worth remembering that, by and large, larger employers produce excellent training grounds for trainees and having an association with these can open doors – again due to their reputation. Working for a multinational company will likely afford you access to a more structured training programme and career path – not forgetting the greater potential for promotion opportunities. Studying trainees at larger employers may also enjoy more generous study‑leave perks and exam-related support, including access to networks with colleagues or clients. Larger companies are also likely to be better placed to offer you exposure to international accounting procedures and better‑known systems such as computer packages – skills that future employers will value.
Working for a company with offices all over the world means that if you need to move to a different city later in life, then there is a good chance you can keep working for the same company. While there is no such thing as a safe job in today’s environment, working for a large company is usually a less volatile environment than a start-up. For those of you who are risk-averse, a large company will perhaps allow you to sleep better at night from the point of view of greater security. Knowing your career aspirations will help you decide the right path for you. Fiona Mildner, senior consultant, commerce and industry at Morgan McKinley Accounting, Finance and Support, advises: ‘Consider how the choices you make now might affect your first, second or even third career moves. ‘Our experience tells us that the best candidates have a clear idea of their career path and, in particular, have a good understanding of the steps needed to develop their career in the future including industry, role type and progression opportunities.’
FEATURES | CAREER ADVICE
ALL CHANGE Change is a fact of life, whether we like it or not. But do you welcome it and grab the opportunities it creates, or do you fear and avoid it? Iwona Tokc-Wilde looks at why being able to adapt to change is particularly important to new finance professionals Being able to cope with change is essential, both in our personal lives and in our careers. But only people possessing the right skills – flexibility and adaptability – are able to react to changes in their individual or work circumstances in positive and constructive ways, quickly refocusing the mind in new directions and adjusting to new circumstances. These people do so willingly too – they are open to change. Arguably, this attitude is perhaps even more important than the right skills as it can mean all the difference between allowing change to hold you back and using it as an opportunity to grow. First job For most people, the first major test of how well they can cope with change is when they start in their first job. Switching focus from student to workplace environment takes some getting used to. As a student, you set your own pace, your days can be quite unstructured and you have more control over your time. As an employee, your hours are set and your job duties determine your pace. Unlike in your student days, when you mostly worked on your own, you now must work in sync with your team and with your organisation. Add to this a great diversity of clients, multiple projects and working for multiple managers, and Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
it is no wonder that flexibility and adaptability are among the top skills finance employers are looking for in graduates and new recruits. According to a recent report from ACCA, Talent and Capability in Global Finance Functions, other highly sought-after skills are tacit knowledge of business and analytical capability – both crucial in those who may themselves be advising and implementing change. ‘Accountants are increasingly required to play a more strategic role, working with other business units such as sales and marketing, operations and human resources,’ says Phil Sheridan, managing director at Robert Half. An evolving profession The accountancy profession itself is constantly changing too and everyone, including those new to it, must be able to keep up. ‘Globalisation, increased regulation, new risks, changing economic landscapes and rapidly moving technology all mean the profession is having to adapt at a pace,’ says Neil Johnson, ACCA Careers editor. ‘To meet these challenges, accountants must be able to see beyond numbers and to communicate effectively with a diverse array of colleagues and clients.’ The profession is becoming more consultative and accountants now need to be commercially‑minded ‘business partners’. Technology and all things digital have had perhaps the greatest impact on the profession. According to ACCA’s report The Future of Finance Talent, advancing internet, mobile technology and the ‘Big Data’ have had a big impact on the ‘business partnering’ activities too – finance professionals now need to be able to extrapolate, forecast and correlate massive customer data sets to drive better decision making and help clients achieve their strategic goals.
New challenges Throughout your career, you will have to cope with adapting to a new workplace every time you change jobs. ‘The way you approach your first weeks and months will play an important part in your future success in the role,’ says Tony Stevens, regional manager at Hays Senior Finance. ‘The first 100 days are the most crucial as this is when others will form opinions about you and about your potential.’ First impressions count, after all, so show your enthusiasm. ‘Also, ask as many questions as you can, even if your manager or colleagues look busy, to help you get up to speed as quickly as possible,’ adds Stevens.
Get to know the team and speak with those with whom you will be working. ‘Learn specifics about their roles, how their responsibilities impact yours and how you can work together most effectively,’ says Sheridan. Take in your new company’s culture, while keeping an open mind. ‘Every organisation has a unique culture and customs, and you’ll have to adapt quickly,’ he says. Get to know the clients too. ‘Allocate five to 10 minutes of reading time every day to understanding the challenges they face,’ recommends David Foster, change management expert at Rally Strategic Ltd. ‘This drip-drip of
‘Globalisation, increased regulation, new risks, changing economic landscapes and rapidly moving technology all mean the profession is having to adapt at a pace’ 27
FEATURES | CAREER ADVICE ‘We establish a collegial relationship with others by understanding their disposition and adapting our own attitude and behaviour to their comfort zone’ information will quickly boost your confidence when talking about the company internally and externally, it will help you impress clients and colleagues alike, and it will make you more resilient to change since you may well be the one suggesting it in future.’ The word that best sums up all of the above is ‘proactive’. Nowadays, no organisation is going to take care of your future – the responsibility for your success is in your own hands. You alone need to clarify your values and motivations, define what professional success means to you and design your career path accordingly. And being proactive and taking charge of your career means being open to, and dealing with, change.
something new and tend to dig in their heels when choice is removed.’ So, what can you do if the ‘management’ is you? First of all, you need to understand how your subordinates view the proposed change. ‘Even if you think it’s no big deal, it’s real to them,’ says Foster. ‘Once you understand their view, you might be able to reposition the change to help them see it from a different perspective, or modify the situation to improve their sense of control.’ The best approach, however, is to get others’ engagement. ‘Outline where you want to get to and invite them to contribute to the discussion about how to get there,’ recommends Foster. ‘This achieves two things: first, it brings out lots of great ideas from the people who understand the organisation
Resisting change Changes in your circumstances usually affect those around you too. For example, when you get promoted you may find that your colleagues now have to report to you directly. ‘Stay humble, remembering there may be some feeling of resentment, especially if they were striving for the same role,’ says Sheridan. Even so, you are likely to encounter resistance to your new, people-managing efforts at first. ‘People typically resist any change to a process, practice or culture,’ says Foster. In fact, any changes imposed by ‘management’ are usually met with resistance. ‘Part of the problem is the way that change is initiated in organisations – top down – with management “selling” the change to employees,’ says Foster. ‘People don’t react well to being told to do Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
best and, secondly, it helps people understand why certain choices or trade-offs are made.’ You should also adopt a ‘collegial’ approach when in charge of implementing change. ‘We establish a collegial relationship with others by understanding their disposition and adapting our own attitude and behaviour to their comfort zone,’ says James Berkeley, management consultant at Ellice Consulting Ltd. ‘They don’t teach this at university, unless psychology is your special subject, but this is a critical component of success and career progression in professional service firms.’ However, even with the best of intentions, change can be stressful for all concerned. ‘Stress can make people feel miserable, leading to resentful compliance, absenteeism and illness,’ says Foster. ‘All of this has a direct impact on profitability, which is why improved communication, being open about challenges and concerns and seeking to understand and engage others is so important.’
TECHNICAL 30 technical articles • The internal rate of return (IRR) Relevant to foundation level Paper FFM • Corporate governance: a South African perspective Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper F4 (ZAF) • Key aspects of the law of contract and the tort of negligence Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper F4 (ENG) • Restraint of trade in Singapore Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper F4 (SGP) • Diversifying the board – a step towards better governance Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper P1 • When does debt seem to be equity? Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper P2 ACCESS THE • Human resource management and the appraisal system TECHNICAL Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper P5 ARTICLE • Selected tax incentives in Singapore ARCHIVE Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper P6 (SGP)
Access videos to help support your studies in Papers F4, F5, F7, F8, F9, P1, P2, P3, P4, P5, P6 and P7. Cannot use YouTube? If so, you can access these videos here
TECHNICAL | LISTINGS
The internal rate of return (IRR) Relevant to FOUNDATION LEVEL Paper FFM Paper FFM candidates need to be able to perform the IRR calculation, as well as explain the concept of IRR, how it can be used for project appraisal, and to consider the merits and problems of this method of investment appraisal. Candidates have historically not performed well when this topic has been examined, and this article provides a sound grasp of the concept, the calculations, and the advantages and disadvantages of IRR.
access the article here
Corporate governance: a South African perspective Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper F4 (ZAF) After reading this article, Paper F4 (ZAF) candidates will be able to define corporate governance and understand how it is regulated in South Africa. It also provides a general overview of the contents of the King III Report on Corporate Governance and explains the inclusive stakeholder value approach, and how corporate governance issues are dealt with in legislation.
access the article here
Key aspects of the law of contract and the tort of negligence Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper F4 (ENG)
The aim of this article is to set out some key aspects of contract and the tort of negligence using the following headings: the relationship between the parties; the nature of the obligation; causation and remoteness of damage; and the measure of damages. Contract and the tort of negligence arise in separate questions in Paper F4 (ENG), and the article identifies some key similarities and differences to help candidates avoid confusing these two areas in the exam.
access the article here
Restraint of trade in Singapore Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper F4 (SGP) The law in Singapore concerning restraint of trade is governed by case law rather than legislation. Restraint of trade clauses are commonly found in different kinds of contracts – for example, employment contracts and sale of business contracts. The focus of this article is on restraint of trade clauses in employment contracts.
access the article here
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT TECHNICAL ARTICLES The purpose of a technical article is to do one of the following: Elaborate on a technical area in which students perform badly in the exam Give extra information about areas that are newer to the syllabus, which may therefore have less coverage than more traditional areas Give an examiner’s specific focus on a given topic
• • •
The articles are not intended for one sitting only, with the possible exception of taxation. Tax articles tend to be updated annually to comply with legal changes. Otherwise, we aim for a suite of articles relating to a paper.
Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
Students should give equal attention to all articles on the website in preparation for a specific exam. Articles are not simply written to target one exam. Since changing to the new syllabus, any articles deemed equally relevant to a new paper were carried forward. These have as much value as more recent articles. All technical articles – whether written by examiners or other writers – are equally important as no article is published if it does not assist students in some way.
EXAMINERs’ ANALYSIS INTERVIEWS The examiners’ analysis interviews available to view on ACCA’s website look at student performance in the June 2011, December 2011, June 2012 and December 2012 exam sessions, highlighting where students are performing well, where they are performing less well, and how they can improve their performance. These interviews are an invaluable resource for you in your revision. The content of each interview has been prepared by working closely
with the examiner, although the voices you hear are those of actors playing the roles of an interviewer and the examiner in discussion. The voiceovers accompany a visual presentation which you can watch while you listen to the exam advice. Visit the online resources for the papers you are studying on ACCA’s website to access the new examiners’ analysis interviews.
Diversifying the board – a step towards better governance
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND THE APPRAISAL SYSTEM
Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper P1
Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper P5
In the Paper P1 Study Guide, section A3i requires students to (i) explain the meaning of ‘diversity’ and (ii) critically evaluate issues of diversity on the board of directors. This article elaborates on this topic by introducing the concept of board diversity and how it may benefit the organisation, followed by a discussion on the possible costs of board diversity. It concludes with a comment on the current regulatory initiatives of board diversity.
access the article here
WHEN DOES DEBT SEEM TO BE EQUITY? Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper P2 The difference between debt and equity in an entity’s statement of financial position is not easy to distinguish for preparers of financial statements. Many financial instruments have both features with the result that this can lead to inconsistency of reporting. This article explains the distinction between debt and equity and the key factors that determine whether an instrument is classified as debt or equity.
access the article here
This article looks at the nature of human resource management, and at the link between human resource management and performance management. It then examines aspects of the staff appraisal system, and considers the impact of these on the performance of an organisation.
access the article here
SELECTED TAX INCENTIVES IN SINGAPORE Relevant to ACCA Qualification Paper P6 (SGP) This article provides a quick overview of the common tax incentives provided in the Income Tax Act and the Economic Expansion Incentives (Relief from Income Tax) Act, which are examinable in Paper P6 (SGP).
access the article here
SA technical article archive All technical content from Student Accountant is on ACCA’s website ▶
TECHNICAL | study LISTINGS support
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ALSO, don’t forget to take advantage of these other valuable resources: ACCA’s Competency Framework ▶ Student planner app for Android and iPhone ▶ Tuition providers directory ▶ Exam technique videos Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
A DEGREE of confidence ‘Gaining the degree shows employers that you have the key graduate skills of self-reflection and communication.’ Affan Ali
Gain a BSc Degree in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University while studying for your ACCA Qualification, and get two qualifications without doubling your workload.
For more information visit www.accaglobal.com
RESOURCES all you need to know From exam entry to recording practical experience, the following pages contain essential information for your journey to membership
36 staying connected
ACCA Connect: contact us 24/7
Exam fees and ways to pay
38 OXFORD BROOKEs UNIVERSITY bsc (hons) Information about the BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University
37 RULES AND REGULATIONS
38 June 2013 exam results
37 MY EXPERIENCE
40 DECEMBER 2013 exam SESSION
Information about ACCA’s Rulebook
Your online tool for recording practical experience
37 EXAM ENTRY
Information on entering for exams and claiming exemptions
Receive your results by email or text message
Exam dates for the December 2013 session
41 ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
Checks and controls to ensure accuracy
APPROVED LEARNING PARTNERS
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FEES Annual subscription – 2013 Please note, as a student, you are required to pay an annual subscription for each year you are registered with ACCA. The payment enables ACCA to provide you with services and support to assist you with your studies and training as you work towards gaining your qualification. Students who fail to pay fees when due (including exam/exemption fees) will have their names removed from the ACCA register. The following fees and subscriptions apply: Initial registration £79 Re-registration *£79 Annual subscription £79 *plus unpaid fee(s)
email@example.com +44 (0)141 582 2000
For all enquiries, simply contact ACCA Connect – our global customer service centre. However you want to contact us – by phone or email – one of our expert advisers will be happy to assist you.
stay connected ACCA Connect is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year providing global support at times convenient to you. You can also access your myACCA account and the ACCA website for answers to many queries.
Contact details ACCA Connect tel: +44 (0)141 582 2000 email: firstname.lastname@example.org myACCA: https://portal.accaglobal.com Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
Exam fees for DECEMBER 2013 (per exam) FOUNDATION LEVEL QUALIFICATIONS Papers FA1, MA1, FA2 and MA2 Early (8 September 2013) Standard (8 October 2013) Late (8 November 2013)
£43 £50 £201
Papers FAB, FMA, FFA, FTX, FAU and FFM Early Standard Late
£64 £73 £224
FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL SKILLS MODULE EXAMS Papers F4, F5, F6, F7, F8 and F9 Early £81 Standard £92 Late £242 Professional level exams Papers P1, P2 and P3 (and any two from Papers P4, P5, P6 and P7) Early £94 Standard £106 Late £259
Rules and Regulations
ACCA’s disciplinary procedures cover matters such as professional misconduct, misconduct in exams and breaches of regulations which include any actions likely to bring discredit to you, ACCA, or the accountancy profession.
If you already have some qualifications, you may not have to take all of the exams in the ACCA Qualification or Foundation level awards. These are called exemptions and mean that you will start your studies at the right level
READ THE ACCA RULEBOOK online
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My Experience is ACCA’s tool for recording your practical experience. Its launch followed a consultation with trainees globally, the aim of which was to improve the process of recording practical experience and, therefore, make the journey to membership easier. FIND OUT MORE
HOW DO I CLAIM? ▶
Computer-based exams (CBEs) are available for the first seven of the Foundation level exams – Papers FA1, MA1, FA2, MA2, FAB, FMA and FFA (but not the specialist papers) – as well as for the Knowledge module exams (Papers F1, F2 and F3) of the ACCA Qualification. Sitting CBEs provides the following benefits: ¤ Flexibility – You are not restricted to June and December paper-based exam sessions as you can sit CBEs at any time of year. CBEs also offer flexibility for re-sits, which you can take at any time. There is no restriction on the number of times you can resit the exams by CBE. ¤ Instant results – Your result is displayed on the computer screen at the end of the exam. ¤ Results – Your results are uploaded by the licensed centre and will be transferred to your ACCA account within 72 hours. FIND OUT MORE
EXAM ENTRY information ACCA’s exam entry process offers you flexibility and can save you money. You can now access myACCA to: ¤ submit an exam entry at any time of the year ¤ enter for exams early and save money ¤ enter for one of the next two exam sessions ¤ make amendments to existing exam entries up until the standard entry closing date – including changing exam centre, variant papers or entering for exams.
oxford brookes bsc (hons)
will only be given access to the module once you are eligible to sit Paper P1. The module does not need to be completed in one go, and you may therefore find yourself re-visiting the module as it takes approximately two to three hours in total to complete. Once you have fully completed it, you are required to write a completion statement, and a certificate will subsequently be sent to you. By completing this module, you will be gaining a better understanding of ethical issues in accounting, while giving you a chance to reflect on your own behaviours.
Eligibility The degree must be completed within 10 years of your initial registration on to ACCA’s professional qualification, otherwise your eligibility will be withdrawn.
Check your eligibility STATUS ▶ Professional Ethics module In order to qualify for the BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting, all students must first complete the nine Fundamental exams as well as the online Professional Ethics module. The Professional Ethics module is accessed via myACCA, but you
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KEEPING YOU INFORMED The quickest way for us to send you important information such as changes to exam entry and exam results is by e-communication (such as email or text message) but we need you to give us your permission – it’s the law.
UPDATE YOUR DETAILS AND COMMUNICATION METHOD ▶ Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
ACCA will release the June 2013 exam results electronically by email or text message and make them available to view online from 8 August 2013. Make sure you are opted in to receive results by email or text message by 12pm (BST) on 2 August 2013. Simply log on to myACCA and update your preference and contact details within ‘account administration’. You can only sign up for one of these services. Paper results will follow one week later from 15 August 2013 for those students who are eligible to receive paper copies. Online exam results are available via your exam status report. In order to view your exam status report, please log into your myACCA account. You should then select ‘Exam Status and Results’, which will be listed on the left hand side. On the page displayed, you will see an option to ‘View your status report’. Please click on this wording for your report to appear.
DECEMBER 2013 exam session The following dates have been confirmed for the next exam session:
exams will take place over an eight-day period with one session of exams each day
DECEMBER 2013 Week 1 2 to 6 December Week 2 9 to 11 December Exams will take place over an eightday period with one session of exams each day. The exams will be held concurrently in five different time zones. The base starting times in each of these time zones will be: ¤ Zone 1 (Caribbean) – 08.00hrs ¤ Zone 2 (UK) – 10.00hrs ¤ Zone 3 (Pakistan and South Asia) – 14.00hrs ¤ Zone 4 (Asia Pacific) – 15.00hrs ¤ Zone 5 (Australasia) – 17.00hrs. Local starting times will be set falling out from these base start times for every centre. Details of local start times can be found against each centre on the Examination Centre List
accompanying your Examination Entry Form. Papers F1 to F3 are two‑hour exams, and Papers F4 to F9 and P1 to P7 are three‑hour exams. ACCA QUALIFICATION Monday 2 December F5 Performance Management P7 Advanced Audit and Assurance Tuesday 3 December F6 Taxation P4 Advanced Financial Management
Friday 6 December F1 Accountant in Business P6 Advanced Taxation F9 Financial Management Monday 9 December F4 Corporate and Business Law P3 Business Analysis Tuesday 10 December F3 Financial Accounting P2 Corporate Reporting Wednesday 11 December F2 Management Accounting P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics FOUNDATION LEVEL QUALIFICATION Monday 2 December FTX Foundations in Taxation Tuesday 3 December MA2 Managing Costs and Finances FFM Foundations in Financial Management Wednesday 4 December FA2 Maintaining Financial Records Thursday 5 December MA1 Management Information Friday 6 December FAB Accountant in Business Monday 9 December FAU Foundations in Audit
Wednesday 4 December F7 Financial Reporting
Tuesday 10 December FFA Financial Accounting
Thursday 5 December F8 Audit and Assurance P5 Advanced Performance Management
Wednesday 11 December FA1 Recording Financial Transactions FMA Management Accounting
Student Accountant | AUGUST 2013
Administrative reviews ACCA undertakes many checks and controls during the marking process to ensure that all exam results are accurate Before the marking starts, markers attend a meeting with the examiner to discuss the exam paper and agree a detailed marking scheme. The examiner moderates the marking process closely and there are various steps in place during the marking process to enable the examiner to review marked scripts. This ensures that the marking scheme is being applied consistently by all markers. In addition, the examiner pays special attention to scripts where marginal marks have been awarded. Checks are also built in to the marking software used by markers to ensure that each question on your script has been marked, the marks have been recorded against the correct question and that the total for the final mark is correct. Altogether, there are nine independent checks during the marking process to verify that data returned to ACCA by markers is correct. Any discrepancies that are found during this process are investigated and resolved before results are finalised. Once your results have been added to your student record, and your entry options have been created for the next exam session, ACCA then conducts further checks at the printing stage to ensure the printed results are accurate before they are released. The quality controls applied at each stage of the marking process ensure the integrity of ACCA’s results data. However, ACCA recognises that students may sometimes feel that their results do not reflect their perceived performance in the exam. In response to this, you can request
an administrative review of your results if you: ¤ receive an absent mark but you were present at the exam and submitted an exam paper ¤ were not present at an exam but received a mark for your paper ¤ feel that ACCA’s quality controls have not been applied properly in arriving at your mark. The administrative reviews allow ACCA to ensure transparency and fairness, and are available for all qualifications that are assessed by paper-based exam. However, this is not a re-marking service. As part of the administrative review you will receive an indication on whether or not you reached the pass standard in each question attempted. This will take the form of P (Pass) or F (Fail) – actual marks will not be disclosed and examination scripts will not be returned. This information will provide an indication as to where a good understanding of a topic area has been demonstrated, and should assist with revision in cases where students have failed an examination. No additional fee is being charged. Should an error be found in the review, you will receive the corrected mark before the exam entry closing date for the next session. Your mark will be adjusted to reflect your true result. Please note that your mark may be lowered if an administrative error had inflated your original mark. If your mark is amended as a result of the administrative review you will receive a refund of your review fee and a revised Examination Entry Form, if applicable.
If on receipt of the outcome of your Administrative Review you believe that ACCA has not applied its procedures properly, you may appeal to the Examinations Appeals Committee. To do this you should submit your appeal in writing to the head of examinations, with the required fee. The appeal submission deadline for the June 2013 session is 20 September 2013. Your appeal will then be forwarded to the Committee for consideration. If you would like to request an administrative review you can now submit your request using our online service at myACCA. Alternatively, you can complete the form (available via the link below) and submit to: Examination Operation Services, ACCA, 2 Central Quay, 89 Hydepark Street, Glasgow G3 8BW, UK You must enclose the appropriate fee (per paper): ¤ Foundation level – All papers (per paper) £52 ¤ ACCA Qualification Knowledge Module (per paper) £52 ¤ ACCA Qualification Skills Module (per paper) £52 ¤ ACCA Qualification Professional Level (per paper) £52 ¤ DipIFR £52 The ACCA administrative review service is available until 2 September 2013.
Administrative review request form ▶
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Student Accountant August 2013 edition