internships the employerâ€™s view studying smarter using your senses for fast learning
look on the bright side how to remain positive in the workplace
how to handle interviews
editor’s choice Welcome to the NOVEMBER issue of Student Accountant With the revision period now well under way for next month’s exams, to what extent – if any – are you making use of all five of your common senses to retain information? And we are including the senses of smell and touch here too. Read our feature to discover how the more senses you involve in your studies, the faster you are likely to learn. Recent research has found that a positive attitude at work correlates to higher levels of productivity. All well and good, but there may be periods when juggling a career with studying may test even the most optimistic person’s state of mind. We suggest some proven methods to help you retain your positivity. In the last issue of Student Accountant, affiliate Diarmuid Dennehy told us about his experiences of working as an intern before landing a full-time role at Silver Levene. This month, we get the employer’s perspective with Silver Levene partner Mark Gold telling us why he is such a strong believer in the value of internships.
In Learning Centre, we consider how to put forward your case for a promotion and how ACCA’s practical experience requirement is the perfect platform for helping you progress in your career. We also consider why it is vital – especially for students at the Professional level – to keep informed of the latest financial and business news as a way of adding context to your studies. With the December exams only weeks away, we provide a round-up of all our exam technique videos for a range of papers, as well as links to examinable documents for our audit, financial reporting, law and tax exams. Finally, please access our Noticeboard section for the latest exam regulations and the new fees for 2014. If you have any feedback about this issue, please email us at email@example.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
06 GRAPHICS NEWS
26 ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE
08 PICTURE NEWS 10 NEWS ROUNDUP 12 NEWS in focus 26
30 MAKING SENSE OF STUDYING 34 accountancy internships
16 ETHICAL BRANDING 18 ASKING FOR A PROMOTION 20 FOUNDATION LEVEL PROFILES 30
22 HOW TO READ AROUND THE SUBJECT 24 ACCA CAREERS SA technical article archive
All technical content from Student Accountant is on ACCA’s website ▶
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Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 2013
JOIN Face ACCA’s book Fi n d p a g o e ut ho stud w
e o Join nts plan t ther ACC at ww heir stu A w ACCA .facebook dies. .com .O f fic / ial
Martin Turner | President
CONTACTS Anthony Harbinson | Deputy President
Alexandra Chin | Vice President Helen Brand | Chief Executive Editorial Team Victoria Morgan | Editor
technical 36 TECHNICAL RESOURCES Access the technical article archive at: www.accaglobal.com/ en/student/accaqual-student-journey/ student-accountant/ sa-archive.html
Glen Patterson | Deputy Editor 44
Jackie Dollar | Design Manager Jane C Reid | Designer 43 www.accaglobal.com
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resources 41 NOTICEBOARD ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ABOUT ACCA AND YOUR STUDIES ACCA Connect, exam entry, subscriptions, recording your PER, rules and regulations
publishing and Advertising Adam Williams | Publisher Anthony Kay | Production Manager For all advertising-related matters please contact Nick Willmer: tel: +44 (0)20 7902 1673 43
DISPATCH | GRAPHICS NEWS RED FLAG for financial services
An analysis of due diligence reports by KPMG has found that financial services is the sector most exposed to fraud, corruption, insider trading, negligence and bankruptcy. Third parties are only as trustworthy as the people who run them and the single greatest risk is the integrity of a company’s directors, shareholders and beneficial owners.
Consumer markets Technology, media, telecoms
14% 78% 7% 23% 63% 15%
Energy, chemicals, natural resources
25% 66% 9%
42% 48% 10%
Healthcare, life sciences
14% 74% 12%
9% 82% 10% 18% 67% 14%
Significant integrity risk
KEY RISKS IN NON-FS SECTORS Only three non-financial services sectors have red flag reports, accounting for more than 20% of the total integrity risks identified.
Technology, media, telecoms
Energy, natural resources, chemicals
General trading, small businesses
% ur 54 rn E
% ste 22 We
A 21% r th No
5% rica e 87% Am l % a 8 entr
No integrity risk
analysis of risk by geography
% 24 ope
Potential integrity risk
Eu 7% tern 1% nd Eas 4 52%entral a
2% % sia 5 4 al A
% ntr 53 Ce
51% 45% 4%
34% ►Car 62% 4% ibbe an
% 19 Asia
21% rica 61%aran Af % h 19 b-Sa u
21% 4% ania◄ 6 e 15% Oc
% 14 a◄
% ic 71 er % th Am 5 1 ou S
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Astrus Insights, KPMG’s analysis of third-party integrity risks, looked at 8,000 integrity due diligence reports from businesses in 172 countries. The survey is available at http://tinyurl.com/kpmg-astrus
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unfazed by Change – who won’t be caught on the hop
Singapore has topped a list of 90 nations for its capacity to respond to changes such as natural disasters, global competition, economic shocks and demographic trends. KPMG’s 2013 Change Readiness Index (CRI), produced with global advisory firm Oxford Economics, measures 26 components. ‘A nation’s ability to respond to change is increasingly important to its success in building a sustainable economy and equitable society,’ said Timothy AA Stiles, KPMG’s global chair of international development assistance services. ‘The CRI can be a vital tool for governments, the development community and business to make more informed decisions, whether on potential reforms or policy changes, managing risks or making investments.’
39.1% 23.0% 19.0%
Japanese yen British pound Australian dollar Swiss franc
11.8% 12.9% 8.6% 7.6% 5.2% 6.3%
renminbi rises 4.6% 5.3%
New Zealand dollar
China’s yuan has joined the ranks of most traded international currencies. The yuan came ninth in the Bank for International Settlements’ latest report on foreign exchange turnover, surpassing the Swedish krona and the New Zealand dollar. Percentage of appearances in all FX deals April 2013
DISPATCH | NEWS IN PICTURES
UK UK London’s iconic Hamleys toy store has predicted the most wanted toys out of a list of 40 for Christmas 2013 US Twitter aims to raise US$1.1bn when it floats later this year. However, the platform has never turned a profit and sunk deeper into the red in the first six months of 2013, losing US$69.3m
australia A firefighter gives instructions at a bushfire near Sydney. At the time of writing, 550 firefighters are working on several bushfires across New South Wales
Student Accountant | november 2013
CANADA CANADA Following a second quarter net loss of US$965m, BlackBerry is to axe 40% of its workforce and will be sold to a consortium forÂ US$4.7bn CHINA China hopes to complete its first orbiting space station within a decade. The plan was unveiled at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Beijing
US Visitors to New York had to settle for a human version of the Statue of Liberty while the real one remained closed after the two houses of the US Congress failed to agree a new budget arctic Humans are mostly to blame for global warning since the 1950s, says the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateÂ Change
DISPATCH | NEWS ROUNDUP INVESTORS GET REAL Investors support the adoption of ‘real-time’ reporting, which they believe would raise confidence in corporate governance and improve investor returns. An ACCA survey of 300 investors found that 85% predict that real-time reporting would improve their ability to react quickly; 78% expect it to enhance returns; and 73% said it would provide evidence that companies had robust corporate governance. ‘Investors clearly believe it would help their decision-making and give them greater understanding of companies,’ said Ewan Willars, ACCA’s director of policy. ‘On the other hand, they also accept that it could lead to increased instability and short-termism in markets.’ Download Understanding Investors: The Road to Real-time Reporting at www.accaglobal.com/ri SK-HK TAX DEAL South Korea and Hong Kong have agreed to share tax information, particularly on South Koreans suspected of having undeclared funds in Hong Kong. The deal is expected to be ratified next year, after receiving parliamentary approval from both countries. The agreement comes at a time when South Korea’s National Tax Service is cracking down on evasion, proposing heavier fines for residents found with substantial, unexplained financial holdings in overseas jurisdictions. South Koreans with overseas accounts worth more than KRW1bn (US$924,000) will have to report and explain their assets, or pay a fine. TEN YEAR AUDIT TENDERS All of the UK’s FTSE350 companies must put their audits out to tender at least once every 10 years, and preferably every five years, the Competition Commission has determined in its final report on the audit market. Companies failing to tender every five years must
DELOITTE AND PwC GROW Deloitte’s global revenues rose to US$32.4bn in the year ending May 2013, re‑establishing its position as the largest global accountancy firm. Big increases were reported in the Americas, with an 18.1% rise in revenues in Chile and 14.3% in Latin America. There was a 5.6% rise in revenues in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, and Asia Pacific grew by 3.1%. PwC’s global revenues for the year ending June were up by 4% to US$32.1bn. Revenues in South America rose by 9% and those in North America by 7%, as did those in the EMEA region, but in Asia they rose by only 2%.
report their reasons and how these serve shareholders’ interests. The measures should come into force in the final quarter of 2014 and also include the outlawing of ‘Big-Fouronly’ clauses in loan agreements and the requirement for all FTSE 350 audits to be reviewed by the
Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 2013
UK’s Financial Reporting Council every five years on average. James Roberts, senior audit partner at BDO, commented: ‘While some may regard the outcome of the investigation as being less radical than many would have hoped, the real importance of the investigation has been to shine a spotlight on a previously dark recess of corporate governance.’ PROTOCOLS AGREED The IFRS Foundation and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) have agreed to strengthen cooperation to raise the standard of financial reporting globally. Michel Prada, chairman of the IFRS Foundation Trustees, said that the signing of a set of protocols marked a big step forward in improving financial reporting. He added that decisions taken by IOSCO in 2000 had led to the creation of the International Accounting Standards Board. IOSCO represents securities regulators and its 120+ members oversee 95% of the world’s securities markets. ACCA IN IIA TIE-UP ACCA Singapore and IIA Singapore (the Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore) have signed an agreement to promote further collaboration in areas of common interest and mutual value to members of both professional bodies and the business industry at large. Wilson Woo, president of ACCA Singapore, said the agreement comes as both ACCA and IIA members go through regulatory changes and new developments in the business landscape: ‘Our membership – business and accounting professionals of diverse backgrounds from a wide range of industries – will need to embrace these challenges.’ Eric Lim, president of IIA Singapore, said: ‘Singapore shares similar visions to those held by ACCA and this widens the opportunities for future collaborations.’
DISPATCH | NEWS IN FOCUS RESOURCES
Amazon to enter the Android jungle Amazon has been strongly tipped to release an Android console. We look at how the release would shape the IT landscape and how the company may be looking to reposition itself Rumours abound that Amazon is to bring out an Android console before the end of the year. Although Amazon has (at the time of writing) refused to confirm the launch, the company has a strong interest in the video game market and a number of analysts have reported that the hardware is in development. The console gaming market is worth nearly three times as much as the mobile and tablet game sectors, according to Microsoft. In total, worldwide gaming spend has exceeded $65bn and there are over 900 million activated Android devices – that is a market too big to ignore. Microsoft believes that with the next generation of consoles such as the Sony PlayStation4, Microsoft Xbox One and Wii U, due for launch this month, the console market will grow 28% over the previous generation to 385 million users. Amazon would be looking to leverage its titles to push sales for the platform using its own app store currently used by the company’s Kindle Fire tablet. The company’s gamble to fork Android (that is, to use Android’s software code as a base on which
to develop the Kindle) in order to put consumers into its own shopping experience on Kindle Fire appears to be paying off. Showing its commerce strength, Amazon already delivers more than three times the revenue per user in its app store compared to what Google generates for developers. Amazon, which invented the one-click purchase, perfected online shopping with data, efficiency and customer service. As developers make decisions to support different platforms, the ability to generate revenue per user will always be a key factor. Based on revenue potential, it is likely an increasing number of developers will support Amazon. Earlier this year Amazon also launched a digital distribution platform for indie titles on PC and Mac, designed not only to sell the games, but also to help the company reach a broader audience through the use of an ‘indie spotlight’ feature on the site. When Amazon does enter the console market it seems likely that, as it did with its Kindle Fire tablet, it will price any product at the lower end of the market, probably much cheaper than the Xbox One and PS 4.
Student Accountant | november month 20132013
There is certainly an opportunity to make an impact on the lower price console games market as both Microsoft and Sony are launching their new game machines shortly, which will be targeted at hardcore gamers with higher prices on the consoles and games. Amazon could concentrate on the casual gamer market, unwilling to pay so much. Both Sony and Microsoft themselves may decide to enter the cheaper end of the market at some point. Therefore, launching now would present Amazon with a chance to establish itself, especially with Nintendo’s Wii U game console not selling as well as many observers had predicted. One of the key factors to the success of a console launch will be whether Amazon’s brand is attractive enough to bring the company an edge or not in the market. The move is even more exciting for the company as there are now some of the lowest barriers to entry in the history of software development and distribution. As a result, apps are getting built and downloaded at breakneck speeds. Apple alone is said to have sold over 25 billion downloads.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com
Since the Seattle-based company already has a successful hardware and software division in place for the Kindle Fire, Amazon can potentially pull off a compelling launch. An Amazon console launch could also prove be the company’s move towards launching a fully-fledged set-top box to compete with the likes of Apple TV and Roku, rather than simply launching another console on the market to play Angry Birds. As small wifi-enabled boxes like the Apple TV and Chromecast continue to grow in popularity, it would be no surprise to see Amazon wanting a piece of the market. With a fully-fledged library of movies, TV shows, music, and apps ready for streaming, a cheap Amazon‑branded set-top box in the style of the Kindle Fire tablets would be a natural launch. Amazon is clearly focused on becoming a top-tier hardware and media provider. With Google not yet established in the television world and Apple’s recent legal issues surrounding its business practices, Amazon may be set to take a substantial bite of the market.
DISPATCH | NEWS IN FOCUS
Fukushima leak erodes nuclear confidence – What are the effects of the Fukushima radioactive leaks and what does this mean for the nuclear industry? One may reasonably have assumed that the ongoing Fukushima radioactive leaks may have dealt a potentially fatal blow to the nuclear power industry, but that may not actually be the case at all. Ongoing discharges of contaminated water are allegedly finding their way into the north Pacific Ocean, plaguing the clean up of the March 2011 disaster, after cooling systems failed in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami, triggering meltdowns at three reactors. Japan’s nuclear watchdog has recently upgraded the severity of those leaks, and the fumbling recovery of the disaster that followed has prompted government intervention and international involvement. In the months after the Fukushima disaster Japan mothballed its 50 other nuclear plants and only a handful have since returned to service. Economic
pressures have led some politicians in the resource-scarce island nation to push to reopen more plants – an effort that has been met with public protests and hostile opposition. The Fukushima shockwave rippled across to Germany, a country in the middle of its own energy transition. German chancellor Angela Merkel put forward plans to shut down the country’s nuclear plants by 2022 after the Fukushima meltdown drove public opposition to nuclear power. The US has had its own post‑Fukushima nuclear curtailment, driven more as a result of market forces rather than the fear of a
meltdown. Subsidies for wind and solar power and cheap, abundant natural gas have combined to make it difficult for nuclear energy to compete in US electricity markets. Since October 2012 electric power companies have announced the retirement of four nuclear reactors at three power plants in the US, and while 20% of electricity in the US currently comes from nuclear power, that figure appears more likely to fall than rise in the mid-term. Daniel Eggers, a utilities analyst with Credit Suisse, says in a Bloomberg Report: ‘In a competitive market, you can’t even come
‘In a competitive market, you can’t even come close to making the maths work on building new nuclear plants. Natural gas is too cheap, demand is too flat, and the upfront costs are way too high’
Student Accountant | november 2013
Entrance to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
close to making the maths work on building new nuclear plants. Natural gas is too cheap, demand is too flat, and the upfront costs are way too high.’ Analysts believe it may take up to 40 years to fully decontaminate the Fukushima area and a recent estimate from plant operator Tepco suggests the clean-up bill will top £80bn. To many, the clean up should have been the final nail in the coffin for the nuclear industry, especially as private financial capital has all but disappeared and insurance companies refuse to cover the risk of accidents. However, nuclear energy won’t be easily banished – even Japan is trying to give it another chance. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been bullish on nuclear energy to parliament recently – plus Japan can save £13bn by restarting at least half of its reactors by next year.
Construction has also resumed on a new nuclear reactor in the northern city of Oma, and the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant remains on track to begin recycling nuclear fuel late this year. Many other countries are in the process of building their first nuclear power plants in spite of Fukushima. ‘Fukushima has not had a tremendous effect on the industry,’ says Jeremy Gordon of trade group, the World Nuclear Association. ‘Manufacturers and construction companies are cautiously optimistic as the developing world embraces atomic energy.’ Up to 70% of new reactor construction is taking place in China, Russia, India and Korea. Countries in the Middle East, including Abu Dhabi, are also pressing on with new builds. In Europe, the UK, Turkey, Finland and the Czech Republic are all committed to building new plants.
In five years time it is feasible that nuclear construction could be growing as fast as in the 1970s. Today nuclear reactors supply 13% of the world’s electricity, a share that will almost certainly be slightly eroded by renewables. But even if the West turns away, emerging markets have secured nuclear’s position in the global energy mix for years to come. But nuclear can have a future in Europe – if construction costs come down and delays can be kept under control, then the return on capital that the operator expects should also come down as the risks are lower. The sector is also moving away from government funding towards equity financing and third‑party investment. For many, the benefits simply outweigh the risks. With government and power companies’ budgets under pressure, how to finance and reduce cost is critical.
LEARNING CENTRE | ETHICS
How companies dev Brand ethics remain as important as ever, with a raft of revelations and catastrophes ensuring that public attention remains focused on their importance. We look at some of the methods used to create and promote an ethical image The concept of brand ethics has been around for many years, but with the advent of 24-hour news channels and social media, examples of companies acting unethically are more likely to be placed in the public domain than ever before. Recently, there have been a number of high-profile such incidences reported by the media and this has led the boards of some of the world’s biggest companies to rethink their strategies and consider a more ethical bias toward corporate policy. The more astute companies have long recognised their shortcomings and turned them into competitive advantage, enhancing their brand equity in the process. Back in 1999 diamond company De Beers faced accusations by human rights groups of buying ‘blood’ diamonds from several African revolutionaries and, as a result, indirectly funding their respective regimes. De Beers was also struggling with a colossal stock of premium gems that, due to the company’s decreasing market share, was threatening to strangle the business. The company publicly declared it would cease buying diamonds from potentially illegal sources and that it would support embargoes by the UN on diamond sales from countries such as Angola and Sierra Leone.
As a result it solved both of its problems. The company reduced the amount of cut-price diamonds coming on to the market and reduced its stock due to the upsurge in demand for ‘clean’ gems. As an added bonus, the company was seen as an ethical champion by the same human rights protestors who were earlier calling for its head. The desire of De Beers to protect the intrinsic value of its brand by disassociating from potential violations of human rights was a key element of the process. Studies constantly state that consumers are willing to switch brands in favour of those that are more ethically managed – and, while this is the case, the trend towards cause-related marketing looks set to continue. Other organisations that have recognised the niche that exists within the current trading environment include Ben & Jerry’s and The Body Shop. The likes of Innocent Drinks, Marks & Spencer and Green & Black’s chocolate have also been eager to promote their sound corporate ethics. A company’s ultimate goal is to increase profits, but these companies have proved that it is possible to grow profits ethically and, as a result, increasing numbers of companies are aware there is more to making a profit than maintaining a strong balance sheet.
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Ethical companies understand it is unethical to cut employee pay and benefits as a way of increasing profits. It is an ethical issue that can cause poor morale in the workplace and poor morale – particularly in a small‑business workplace – can lead to devastating results. Companies with strong ethical brands understand the role that marketing plays. Marketing has a strong relationship with a company’s profits and a solid marketing strategy can grow a brand, attract consumers and ultimately build profits. In addition to staff costs, the cost of raw goods and materials are likely to be one of the highest expenses a company has to contend with. Nonetheless, ethical companies understand the importance of resisting the urge to reduce the quality of their goods to maximise profit. The dangers of reducing quality to maximise profit include inflicting long-term damage to the company’s brand name and a loss of consumer respect and trust. The loss of these can have significant repercussions that slow growth and lead to a reduction in revenues going forward. Companies may also consider boosting their ethical appeal by joining forces with companies that can connect their cause to charities and products.
velop brand ethics
ethics the professional ethics module is a key component of the acca qualification. find out more â–ś
Studies constantly state that consumers are willing to switch brands in favour of those that are more ethically managed â€“ and, while this is the case, the trend towards cause-related marketing looks set to continue 17
LEARNING CENTRE | PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE
Asking for a promotion
We reveal how to present your case for promotion and look at how ACCA’s practical experience requirement (PER) gives you the skill set to help you progress in your career and towards membership Understand your motives So where to begin? The logical starting point is to think through and define your desired next step and what you want to achieve, as this can form your major selling point. For example, ask whether your short-term goals are in line with your long-term career strategy. You may want to move into a leadership position, add project management skills to your skills portfolio, bag a new job title or earn more money. Understand your motives. Once you are clear on your direction, look at the skills required for the promotion. Consider whether there is a gap between what is needed and what you have to offer. If there is, develop a strategy to close the gap. Knowledge and techniques It is worth noting that by completing ACCA’s practical experience requirement (PER), you will develop the skills needed in the workplace. The PER helps you to apply the knowledge and techniques gained through your studies in practice, observe and be involved in real‑life work situations that help you to develop the skills a qualified
With skills in place, work out a list of those that you can offer your new role and relate them to how they would fill a gap and benefit the company accountant needs, and to develop your judgment and how you may improve your work performance. PER also enables you to confirm your effective and sustained high‑quality workplace performance, making you a more valuable employee and more likely to be considered a strong candidate for possible promotion. Positive contribution With skills in place, work out a list of those that you can offer your new role and relate them to how they would fill a gap and benefit the company. A request for promotion will always be better received if it demonstrates a positive contribution towards an employer’s goals. As a result, evaluate the company’s overall direction and position and where it is headed. Also try to make sure there is a budget for your promotion. If the company can accommodate your new position (and, hopefully,
Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 2013
salary) and also find someone for your current role, then you have a better chance. If not, then maybe it will be advisable to try to get more responsibility in your current role. At the very least, it may lead to a better job title and more experience, which is always good for your CV. This is more likely to apply to smaller companies. Personal selling points Highlight your career accomplishments and positive contributions and the potential increase from being in a position of higher authority. By justifying a new position, the chances of it happening are far greater. When preparing your personal selling points, highlight both the skills you use in your current job and your untapped skills. Your employer is much more likely to promote you if they think they will get more value out of you.
It is also important to be able to review your own work performance. Is there anything you can do to improve your performance in your current job? Have you been going that extra mile to get things done or doing more than what is asked of you? It is also worth remembering that, even if your request is turned down, you have nothing to lose. At the very least, you will most likely take on extra work and responsibility.
Find out more about ACCAâ€™s practical experience requirement â–ś
It is important to review your own work performance. Is there anything you can do to improve your performance in your current job? Have you been going that extra mile to get things done? 19
LEARNING CENTRE | foundation level
Firm foundations Two students reveal the benefits of having started their ACCA studies at the Foundation level
Sohaib Maqsood Ahmed Saudi Arabia I knew I wanted an accountancy qualification with ACCA. I didn’t have the right qualifications to start with the ACCA Qualification, so I decided to begin at the Foundation level. I am so glad that ACCA offers a choice of starting points for its qualification. The Foundation level provides really good preparation for a career in accountancy because you start to gain knowledge straightaway. It prepares you for the more advanced papers later on in your studies. I also like the fact that Foundation in Professionalism – the ethics module – allows you to start learning how to behave and act like a professional at the very beginning of your accountancy career. What is exciting is that you can achieve certificates along the way as you study, which for me is very rewarding and will look really good on my CV. I self study for my exams as there are no tuition providers where I live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which can sometimes be a problem, especially when I am struggling. But I always make sure I use the study materials produced by BPP, ACCA’s platinum approved learning partner – content,
as having the right study material really does help. My dream is to become a qualified ACCA accountant. Once I am qualified and have acquired a good level of knowledge and experience, I hope to become a manager to help train and guide new trainee accountants in the challenging and demanding field of accountancy, finance and business. I will ensure every person that trains with me acts with professionalism. My ultimate goal, though, is to become a chief executive. My advice for anyone thinking of an accountancy career would be to go for it because the Foundation level not only provides you with the basic accountancy knowledge but, most importantly, it is ideal preparation for your ACCA Qualification studies. It has been a great starting point for me on my journey to ACCA membership, enabling me to start gaining the required knowledge that will eventually lead to a career in accountancy and business.
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Waqas Naseer Pakistan I always knew I wanted to become an accountant and I opted for the ACCA Qualification because it is an internationally recognised organisation. I chose to start at the Foundation level as it provides you with all the knowledge you need for when you eventually move on to study for the ACCA Qualification. I studied for my exams with SKANS School of Accountancy. You really have to be focused and put in the time to study in order to pass your exams. It is also a bonus that computer-based exams are available for the first seven Foundation
level exams, which encourages you to do well. As with any qualification it is hard work, which is why I would recommend to anyone thinking of starting a career in accountancy to start at the Foundation level. Get yourself a tuition provider and use the right study materials. If you put in the work you will get the results you deserve. My goal for the future is to complete my exams, get my experience and to become a qualified accountant – ideally an auditor.
‘You really have to be focused and put in the time to study in order to pass your exams’ 21
LEARNING CENTRE | exam technique
Reading around the subject –
essential for Professional level students The Professional level papers are the final step in the exam element of the ACCA Qualification. More often than not, the exam team include scenarios that are based on real-life examples. So, to help you prepare for these, you should read the financial press. Even if you read the business papers of a reputable newspaper or perhaps the Financial Times online once a week, this will give you a good understanding of what goes on in the real world. This will help you understand exam scenarios and make them feel less alien to you. In addition, it will help you relate the world of work to your studies.
USEFUL LINKS: Financial Times ▶ The Economist ▶
What financial press do you read? ▶
Let us know so we can include it in our next issue to help other students add context to their studies.
look out for the news analysis pieces in the past few issues of Student Accountant
Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 2013
LEARNING CENTRE | ACCA CAREERS
ACCA CAREERS Register your CV on ACCA Careers and start your job search ▶
Watch and listen to our CV clinic webinars for professional CV and interview advice
WEBINARS CV Challenges Answered ▶ Selling yourself in Interviews ▶ READ YASH’S INTERVIEW ▶
READ NIMIT’S INTERVIEW ▶
Profile Meet Nimit and Yash, brothers, twins and ACCA students at Phoenix Financial Training in Dubai. They may be smiling in the photo but what do you think it is really like to be twin student accountants? Are they competitive or supportive? Do they give tutors double vision?
CV writing for Undergraduate/ Graduates ▶
useful links evaluate yourself expert tips
sticky hr issues
Follow s eer ACCA Car s ▶ blogger Student Accountant | november 2013
job offer! what now? ▶ pathways: which role? ▶ pathways: which sector? ▶
FEATURES | positivity in the workplace
Always look on bright side of l
Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 2013
It can be difficult to remain upbeat the entire time – many would say impossible – but research has shown that a positive attitude, happiness and a positive perspective directly correlates to higher levels of productivity, reduced staff turnover, lower healthcare expenditures, reduced stress, improved communication, better teamwork and collaboration, and improved creativity and innovation Last year a team of economists led by Andrew Oswald, a professor of economics at Warwick Business School, published research – entitled Happiness and Productivity – that the team says has important implications for the world of business. ‘We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity,’ the report said. ‘Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings, while negative emotions have the opposite effect. Happier workers… were 12% more productive. Unhappier workers were 10% less productive.’ This is all well and good but it can be easier said than done to keep positive the whole time, and it can be particularly challenging if you are studying as well as working. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t try, though, and there are some tried and tested methods to help you remain more positive, as well as encouraging colleagues around you to do the same. If, for example, you work with someone displaying a particularly bad or negative attitude, the first thing to do is address it. ‘Listen and work to understand the source of their negativity –
most people are not negative on purpose,’ says organisational development consultant Gale Mote (www.galemoteassociates.com). ‘Challenge them to look at the situation in a different way like using a different lens in a camera; show them the “flip side” – what might be a positive in a negative situation. I grew up on a dairy farm and my father always said that if you felt like you were in a pile of manure, start looking for the pony!’ She also says it is important to differentiate between those events that can be controlled and those that cannot: ‘Encourage them to focus on what they can control and influence. We do not have control over everything that happens to us. We do have control over how we respond. Author Charles Popplestone said, “10% of life is what happens to us, 90% is how we choose to respond”. It is very easy to become a victim thinker full of blame, excuses and denial. It is much harder to maintain a change agent perspective accepting ownership of one’s attitude and perspective – being determined to be a positive contribution. ‘Ask them for solutions rather than just focusing on complaints
‘We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity’ 27
FEATURES | positivity in the workplace and problems – for example, ask them “what would it take to make you feel better?” or “what is the next positive action you can take to move yourself in a forward direction?”’ In many ways, helping others to become more positive is much easier than doing it yourself. But even if you are a natural pessimist, it is entirely possible to re-teach yourself to have a positive attitude at work. ‘I encourage people to identify their natural talents,’ says Mote. ‘Every person has forces of good inside them – areas where they excel. Helping them to see and understand what they are, how to build them into positive forces of strength in their lives is engaging and energising.’ In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor identifies different ways to prime the brain to be more positive. They include being grateful and focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t have, exercise, reducing multi-tasking because the brain is a single processor, and doing something nice for someone else – engaging in random acts of kindness. Be a ‘bucket filler’ not a ‘bucket dipper’, says Achor, and look for ways to bring joy and happiness to others without spending so much time focused on yourself and your own problems. It isn’t just within your workplace that the benefits of having a positive outlook will bear fruit. Along with reduced stress and better health, your personal relationships will be improved with both family and friends. ‘Be a positive force in one’s community and/or social circles – we know that positive people are magnets,’ says Mote. Indeed, in Achor’s book, he talks about mirror neurons and how easy it is to pick up on the mood of another person. Whoever is the most expressive person in a room (verbally and
non-verbally) will have the most influence on other people’s attitudes and perspectives. As your career progresses it becomes increasingly important to be able to tap into the positive side of your personality and start leading from the top. ‘We know that people don’t quit their companies, they quit their
managers,’ says Mote. ‘Having a positive, trusting relationship is essential for managers with their staff. Again, it is the ripple effect – positive spirit and energy is contagious. Managers who are not approachable (and most negative people are not) will not build and sustain trusting relationships with their direct reports.’
TIPS FOR STAYING POSITIVE Dr Marla Gottschalk is an industrial/organisational psychologist and has highlighted a few ideas to encourage positivity: ¤ Show gratitude. Recognising others for their contribution to your own success or that of the team is a powerful resource builder. Routinely expressing gratitude can set a powerful and positive tone of deep respect among co-workers. Remember two simple words –‘thank you’ – can have a long-standing effect on work-life happiness. ¤ Focus on strengths. Utilising our talents in the workplace is a key confidence builder. Make every attempt to incorporate the areas in which you excel into everyday work life. If you supervise others, help facilitate this process for them as well. ¤ Balance negatives. As human beings, we have the tendency to dwell on negative information (quite possibly an evolutionary by‑product). Often we find ourselves obsessing about a goal we didn’t fulfil – or a perceived slight in a meeting. Build your inner resilience by refocusing your energy on successes when you are faced with disappointment or stress. ¤ Practise ‘flexible’ thinking. When considering a new challenge, be sure to explore numerous potential obstacles and generate alternative pathways to effectively manage them. This exercise builds feelings of hopefulness in the face of an unexpected turn of events – a common occurrence. ¤ Acknowledge steps to success. Often we focus on lofty, larger goals that may take an extended amount of time to accomplish. Identify and celebrate incremental goals along the way to help bolster energy levels and maintain focus. ¤ Support your team. If you manage others, ensure that you are communicating your confidence in their abilities. Does your team understand that you truly believe in them? Remember, others can detect a subtle tone of negativity. If you have doubts, search for the source of your concern and help your team develop to meet the challenge.
Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 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
FEATURES | study techniques RESOURCES
Making sense of studying
Study smarter, not harder, in the lead up to the exam season. Iwona Tokc-Wilde discovers how to use your senses for fast learning
Sometimes our brain remembers things very well, while at other times not so much. One way to increase and speed up retention of information is to employ all of the five common senses with which we experience the world. Sight, hearing and touch are the three senses that we use the most when studying, and each of us has a preference. Visual learners need pictures, charts, mind maps and diagrams to understand ideas and concepts. Auditory learners learn by hearing information. Kinaesthetic learners tend to learn and recall information best when they can use their sense of touch or get more actively involved in their learning.
On the other hand, the senses of smell and taste are often overlooked in the learning process. However, the more senses you can consciously involve in your study, the faster you are likely to learn. Sight This is the basic one as we all have to read or view information being presented to us, but try and up your learning by a notch by using lots of colour. Visual learning experts suggest you use at least four colours to underline or highlight passages in your texts or when taking notes. ‘I have at least five different highlighters when I’m studying
Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 2013
and highlight each chapter with a different pen,’ says Kasy Volney, an ACCA student at the London School of Business and Finance. ‘This makes the book look more pleasing to the eye.’ You can set up a colour code too, so that the various colours represent a hierarchy of importance. Make lists and mind maps – the larger the better. ‘When I was a student, I covered my patio doors with revision notes made on A3 paper,’ says Stacey Cole, business tutor with Kaplan. ‘Every time I looked up from my books to stare out of the window, I still had to revise.’ Also, you could create motivational posters
with positive words and pictures depicting exam success and plaster them everywhere. Visualisation is another good tool – try to see things with your ‘mind’s eye’. ‘When dealing with Paper P3 business analysis questions, imagine you are the boss of your own company,’ says Iryna Mcdonald, business and management tutor with Kaplan. ‘Effectively, think this is your business and you now need to make a decision. Would you invest in the new product or just outsource its production to a supplier? Why do you think it’s a good idea?’ You could also play teacher. Get together with other students and ‘teach’ them the sections of the material you find difficult to learn yourself. They will stick in your brain better, as well as give you a clearer view of the subject. Hearing How many songs do you know the lyrics to? Chances are most of them are the songs you like, but you
are also likely to know the words to some you do not. You know the words to these songs without even trying to learn them. This is because of sheer repetition – hearing them on the radio or your iPod over and over again. You can absorb other information in the same way. Record what you need to remember, then play it repeatedly – while you are driving, doing the washing up or even when going to bed. ‘If you are struggling to memorise dull technical details, record the information as a voice memo on your phone and play it as you’re going to sleep,’ says Gordon Faragher, Kaplan’s tax, law and management tutor. ‘You will absorb some of the information subliminally.’ You can also record your own podcasts as if giving a lecture on a chapter you need to revise, or ‘make music’ using your study notes (rap could work particularly well here), then play them back to yourself or even share with others.
‘If you are struggling to memorise dull technical details, record the information as a voice memo on your phone and play it as you’re going to sleep’
Touch (and go) Touch goes hand in hand with movement when applied to learning processes. Surprised? Then think – do you always sit still when revising, or do you move around the room from time to time? And what about that stress ball you are squeezing in your hand right now? Subconsciously or not, we touch and use objects to help us recall information more easily too. ‘During an exam, I try to use the same pen I used to revise with,’ says Volney. There are some extremes in this category too. ‘I rip off each page of the textbook when I’ve finished reading it. This gives me something to work towards and indicates to me when revision is finished. Revision is incomplete until there are no pages left.’ Volney also likes to move when revising past paper questions: ‘I put music on and dance for five minutes or so every time I complete a question. It helps me de-stress and keeps my blood flowing.’ Smell Smell is the sense that connects with long-term memory. You smell fresh baked bread and are instantly transported to your childhood. Choose the right cue when studying – for example, your favourite
FEATURES | study techniques fragrance – and then reproduce it during your exams to help you recall what you have learnt. ‘I know a student who sprays herself with a particular perfume when she’s studying a particular subject,’ says John Glover, audit and ethics tutor with Kaplan. ‘As she starts the exam, she sprays herself with the perfume again. She just has to remember to bring the right perfume to the right exam! Not sure if it works, but at least it helps her remain calm.’ Of course, you have to consider other students sitting the exam, so use perfume and other strong scents sparingly. Peppermint is another, less obtrusive option. Several studies have found that a whiff of it helps people taking tests concentrate during tasks that require sustained focus. You can try drinking peppermint tea when studying, and taking a peppermint teabag or mints with you to exams. Taste In addition to providing nourishment, eating can support rapid acquisition of information. The key here, as with smell, is to create an association between a taste and something we want to remember. ‘I try to eat the same food before the exam as I did when studying,’ says Volney. Also, some ‘brain foods’ are said to increase your brain power – for example, blueberries, salmon and, best of all, chocolate. Other foods and drinks are said to help with concentration and relieving stress. ‘I drink a lot of green tea while revising, as this keeps my mind sharp and focused,’ says Asmat Ullah, an ACCA student at the London School of Business and Finance. What some students put in their mouths when studying can be quite unorthodox, but if it works…? ‘If, during revision, I
stumble upon a topic, formula or rule that I can’t digest easily, I write it on a small piece of paper, read it twice and then chew it. It could be psychological, but it helps me remember,’ says Ullah. The sixth sense? Finally, use whatever you feel works best for you. Initially, you may not even realise what it is, so let your subconscious guide you until you come across that something that makes all the difference. ‘I clutter my bedroom with study books and papers – they’re all over my desk, the floor and on my bed,’ says Volney. ‘It makes me feel more consumed in the material. I even go to sleep with the books open on my bed to subconsciously absorb the information.’
what do you do to prepare for your exams? email us and let us know ▶
Student Accountant | NOVeMBER month 20132013
Several studies have found that a whiff of peppermint helps people taking tests concentrate during tasks that require sustained focus
Olayinka Oseni Nigeria Joint Paper P1 winner Attempt as many questions as possible and try to cover the entire syllabus
Andreas Kyprianou Cyprus Joint Paper P1 winner I always attempt at least three exam questions every week. In the final month in the run-up to the exam I always time myself under exam conditions
signy virginia de ger UK Paper P2 WINNER ed I think you ne For Paper P2, u understand the yo to make sure you start trying to basics before plex bits and use m add in the co that your tuition as m or the prof stion 1 ggest for Que providers su
DAVID OLIVER UK Paper P6 WINNER
Doing all of the practi ce papers and other questions available to you is a great way of ensuring you have cov ered all the syllabus and have a good all‑ro und knowledge of everything that could come up
Anith a Singa Sudarsana pore m Paper P4 and silver It is v medal winne paper, ital that yo r u answ all que er the stions questi e o a n n n t ire s. Tim d all p impor em ar t with a ant and if y anagemen ts of the o t partic ular p u get into d is very art, yo u shou ifficulties ld mov e on
Stephen Jack son UK Paper P5 and Paper P7 winne r Simply answer the question se t. Some have the knowle dge to pass but, in exam hall, they panic and identif the y only a few keywords in th simply ‘knowled e question before ge dumping’ at the expense of read ing the actual question require ment
Alayna Cloake Trinidad & Tobago Paper P3 WINNER Read the en tire textboo k and practise as many questi ons as possible
Prizewinning study and exam technique tips 33
FEATURES | Internships
ACCOUNTANCY INTERNSHIPS – the employer’s view
In the last issue of Student Accountant we interviewed ACCA affiliate Diarmuid Dennehy, who gained a full-time position at accountancy firm Silver Levene after a series of internships. this month we ask ACCA Fellow and Silver Levene Partner Mark Gold to give the employer’s perspective on accountancy interns Independent accountancy practice Silver Levene, based in London, is a top 60 UK firm offering a wide range of accountancy services to clients in the media and entertainment sectors, and also to barristers, contractors, pharmacies and property owners. Silver Levene partner Mark Gold FCCA is a former president of ACCA, and a strong believer in the value of internships. ‘We’ve taken on interns for many years,’ he says, ‘and our internship programme has become an important part of our recruitment strategy. Prospective interns need to consider it as such when they apply as we certainly don’t ask all our interns to come back at the end of their time with us.’ In recent years, Silver Levene has experienced a significant increase in the number of intern applications. ‘While an internship has become a common experience for most graduates, savvy school leavers are also now chasing internship opportunities,’ comments Gold. ‘They want the chance to enter the
‘The best interns are those who are hungry for experience, have those all-important soft skills, and who are also professional in their approach from day one’
Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 2013
accountancy profession early and then work towards a qualification equal to a degree without the cost of going to university. An internship is also seen as a way to “beat the competition” when it comes to job hunting further down the line.’ Assessing potential interns As a result of so many applications, Gold has a keen sense of what he wants to see in a prospective intern. ‘We treat potential interns in the same way as any other potential employee,’ he explains. ‘This means that prospective interns must be presentable and must know something about Silver Levene. They might have relevant technical skills but we want more than this – we want someone who can communicate, who is keen to learn and not afraid to ask questions, and who can be a team player. For an intern, soft skills are more important than technical ability and so proof of these skills is invaluable – and this could be any sort of work or voluntary experience where such skills are required. Excellent communication skills – especially with the general public – are one of a professional accountant’s most valuable assets, and it is a real advantage if a prospective intern has these skills already.’ Silver Levene internships range from placements of just a few weeks, often for school leavers, to ‘interim’ internships typically taken up by students at university or who have just graduated. ‘Our internship process is geared to the level of the intern,’ explains Gold. ‘Junior interns on short-term placements are given straightforward tasks, such as distributing files, whereas interim interns can be involved in almost every aspect of a project, even meeting clients, which is where communication skills again prove so important. All internships represent a steep learning curve, but if we find the right person then it can lead
‘Many of our interns are surprised at how interesting accountancy can be, especially as we work for a number of high-profile clients in the media and entertainment sectors, which adds to the excitement’ to more and longer internships, and then eventually to a full-time job.’ Negative press Internships have experienced some negative press in recent years, the result of a rise in the number of long-term unpaid internships with no guarantee of employment at the end. Silver Levene internships, however, are paid, which Gold considers an essential part of the deal: ‘A good internship will deliver an economic benefit for the employer and, as a result, there should be an economic benefit for the employee. It should be a “win win” situation, and so we consider payment essential and something which demonstrates our respect for all our employees no matter how junior or temporary. An unpaid internship is wrong, in my opinion, and tells a prospective intern all they need to know about the company they hope to work for.’
whether they are suitably adaptable – another important trait. Work is more than just the workplace, it’s about fitting in with the team, being social as well as professional, and rising to new challenges as they come along.’ And Gold is equally happy if an intern stays with Silver Levene for as long as possible, or moves employer to access new experiences. ‘We are an SMP and so it is understandable when an intern wants to find out what it’s like to work for a bigger firm, or to work with different industry sectors,’ he comments. Above all, Gold advises all interns to make the most of the opportunity and what it can offer: ‘The best interns are those who are hungry for experience, have those all‑important soft skills, and who are also professional in their approach from day one. Interns with all these qualities can go far.’
Finding out more about the profession A structured internship is an excellent way of finding out more about the accountancy profession and what it can offer, comments Gold: ‘Many of our interns are surprised at how interesting accountancy can be, especially as we work for a number of high‑profile clients in the media and entertainment sectors, which adds to the excitement. Working with the public is an important aspect of the profession, and so an internship allows the individual to find out if they have the right skills for this type of environment, and also
technical | support videos
exam technique Paper F4
Answering scenario questions
Question 1 debrief
Gordon Faragher from Kaplan Financial provides some guidance on approaching scenario questions in the Paper F4 exam
Karl Ballard from Kaplan Financial provides a question debrief for Question 1 of the June 2012 Paper F5 exam, which covered short-term decision making, limiting factor analysis and non-financial factors in outsourcing
Paper F5 Break even and profit volume charts
Karl Ballard from Kaplan Financial takes a look at how to answer exam questions on break even and profit charts
Paper F5 Decision-making techniques Jo Ryan from BPP provides an overview of how to develop good exam technique when attempting questions on decision making for relevant costing
Paper F5 DECISION TREES Jo Ryan from BPP explains how to approach Paper F5 exam questions on decision trees including a look at the definitions relevant to preparing decision trees, with reference to how to attempt Question 1 in the June 2013 paper
Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 2013
Paper F5 Question 5 debrief Karl Ballard from Kaplan Financial provides a question debrief for Question 5 of the June 2012 Paper F5 exam, which covered performance measurement
Paper F5 Transfer pricing Karl Ballard from Kaplan Financial provides an explanation on how to answer Paper F5 exam questions on transfer pricing
Paper F5 Variances Jo Ryan from BPP considers how to answer exam questions on variances by focusing on the Paper F5 syllabus areas D2, D3, D4 and D5
Take a look at our exam technique videos for a range of ACCA qualification papers Paper F6
Gaining the easy marks
Helen Gray from BPP suggests ways to gain the easy marks in the Paper F6 exam by looking at examiner’s comments on how students performed in past sittings, general exam tips and specific tips for Paper F6
John Glover from Kaplan Financial takes a look at how to approach audit risk questions using past ACCA exam questions to illustrate the key points
Paper F6 Gaining the harder marks Stuart Williams from Kaplan Financial explains how to tackle the more difficult questions in the Paper F6 exam
Paper F7 Cash flows and interpretations Gemma Rudrum from BPP provides some guidance on tackling Question 3 in Paper F7 on cash flows and interpretations
Paper F8 AUDIT EVIDENCE Sally Vernon from BPP focuses on the area of audit evidence including a discussion on the theory of audit evidence and tests of control versus substantive procedures
Paper F9 BUSINESS FINANCE Jo Ryan from BPP provides an overview of how to develop good exam technique for Paper F9 questions
Paper F9 Working capital management Chris Walsh from Kaplan Financial outlines some useful ways to answer Paper F9 exam questions on working capital management
cannot access youtube? all of these videos are available here ▶
technical | support videos
Paper P1 FOCUS ON RISK Steph Crook from Kaplan Financial outlines some of the key aspects of the risk element of Paper P1
Paper P2 Groups with accounting standards Lindsay Hoyle from Kaplan Financial focuses on the compulsory Question 1 about groups with accounting standards, looking at how to approach Part A (the technical requirement) and Parts B and C (the writtenÂ requirements)
Paper P3 approaching question 1 Gordon Faragher from Kaplan Financial provides exam technique advice on how to best approach Question 1
Paper P4 applying the option pricing theory to investments Doug Haste from BPP takes a look at the application of option pricing theory to investments, which is relevant to Syllabus area C of Paper P4
Paper P5 performance measurement Doug Haste from BPP takes a look at performance measurement, which is relevant to Syllabus area E of PaperÂ P5
Paper P6 Capital gains tax Steve Singleton from Kaplan Financial outlines how to approach capital gains tax questions in a Paper P6 (UK) exam using previous exam questions as examples
Paper P7 risk assessment and audit procedures Steve Whittenbury from BPP provides some exam technique advice on approaching Paper P7, including what to expect in Question 1, syllabus requirements, examinable documents and examiner comments Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 2013
technical | EXAMINABLE DOCUMENTS
examinable documents relevant to the DECEMBER 2013 session
Foundation LEVEL Paper FA2 Maintaining Financial Records Paper FFA Financial Accounting
Paper FAU Foundations in Audit (INT) and (UK)
Paper FAU Foundations in Audit (SGP) ▶
Paper FTX Foundations in Taxation (SGP)
Paper FTX Foundations in Taxation (IRL)
Paper FTX Foundations in Taxation (UK)
Paper FTX Foundations in Taxation (LSO)
ACCA qualification Financial reporting
Paper F6 and p6
Paper F7 and P2 (International and UK) ▶ Paper F7 and P2 (Singapore) ▶ Guidance Notes for Irish Stream students 2013 ▶
LAW Paper F4
Student Accountant | NOVEMBER 2013
Audit Paper F8 and P7 (International and UK) ▶ Paper F8 and P7 (Singapore) ▶ Guidance Notes for Irish Stream students 2013 ▶
RESOURCES all you need to know From exam entry to recording practical experience, the following pages contain essential information for your journey to membership
42 staying connected
ACCA Connect: contact us 24/7
Exam fees and ways to pay
43 RULES AND REGULATIONS
Information about ACCA’s Rulebook
43 MY EXPERIENCE
Your online tool for recording practical experience
44 OXFORD BROOKEs UNIVERSITY bsc (hons)
Information about the BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University
44 Keep on track with ACCA’s student app
Student Planner app is updated to include push notifications
43 EXAM exemptions
45 DECEMBER 2013 exam SESSION
43 EXAM ENTRY
46 exam regulations
Could you be eligible to claim Exam dates for the December exemptions? 2013 session Find out about our flexible exam entry process, and how you could save money
APPROVED LEARNING PARTNERS
Important exam rules for students intending to take exams in December 2013
Search for a tuition provider using ACCA’s Tuition Provider Directory
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Annual subscription – 2014 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 (from 1 January 2014) £81 *plus unpaid fee(s)
Exam fees for JUNE 2014 (per exam)
firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)141 582 2000 For all enquiries, 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.
✆: +44 (0)141 582 2000 EMAIL ▶
Student Accountant | month NOVEMBER 20132013
FOUNDATION LEVEL exams Papers FA1, MA1, FA2 and MA2 Early (if you enter for exam by 8 March) Standard (if you enter for exam by 8 April) Late (if you enter for exam by 8 May)
£48 £51 £202
Papers FAB, FMA, FFA, FTX, FAU and FFM Early Standard Late
£69 £74 £225
FUNDAMENTALS LEVEL KNOWLEDGE exams Papers F1, F2 and F3 Early £69 Standard £74 Late £225 FUNDAMENTALS LEVEL SKILLS exams Papers F4, F5, F6, F7, F8 and F9 Early £87 Standard £93 Late £245 Professional level exams Papers P1, P2, P3, P4, P5, P6 and P7 Early £100 Standard £108 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. These are called exemptions and mean that you will start your studies at the right level for your knowledge and skill.
READ THE ACCA RULEBOOK online
Practical experience 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
SHOULD I CLAIM? ▶
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.
EXAM ENTRY information ACCA’s exam entry process offers you flexibility and can save you money. You can: ¤ submit an exam entry at any time of the year ¤ 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
FIND OUT MORE
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oxford brookes bsc (hons)
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 Fundamentals exams as well as the online Professional Ethics module. The Professional Ethics module is accessed via myACCA, but you
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.
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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 ▶ month 20132013 Student Accountant | NOVEMBER
KEEP ON TRACK WITH acca’s STUDENT APP
ACCA is constantly making changes to its Student Planner app to keep it fresh and to ensure that it remains a useful tool for all ACCA students. The latest features recently added include push notifications (or alerts) and contacts. The push notifications function will enable ACCA to highlight important messages that are relevant to your studies. In order for us to be able to do this, you will have to enable this function on the app and then enter your country and the qualification you are studying. You can now also contact ACCA Connect through the app. You can email any query you may have or, if you prefer, you can phone ACCA Connect directly or phone your local ACCA office as these numbers have now been included. If you haven’t yet downloaded the app, what are you waiting for?
DOWNLOAD THE IPHONE APP ▶ DOWNLOAD THE ANDROID APP ▶
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
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 Monday 2 December FTX Foundations in Taxation
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
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
EXAMINATION REGULATIONS Taking your ACCA exams is part of your journey towards becoming an ACCA professional accountant and we therefore expect you to act in a professional manner when taking them. The following rules on conduct apply to students sitting paper‑based and computer‑based exams, as well as those taking internally‑assessed ACCA courses. 1 You are required to comply in all respects with any instructions issued by the exam supervisor/s, invigilator/s and any ACCA personnel before and during an exam. 2 You may not attempt to deceive the exam supervisor/s, invigilator/s and ACCA personnel by giving false or misleading information. 3 If you are given reading time at the beginning of the exam, you are not allowed to open or write in your candidate answer
booklet during this time. You are, however, permitted to write on your question paper. 4 If you are given reading time at the beginning of the exam, the exam is considered to be in progress from the start of the reading time. 5 You are not allowed to take to your exam desk any books, notes or other materials except those outlined in the guidelines below. These are known as ‘unauthorised materials’. 6 You are not allowed to possess any unauthorised materials while the exam is in progress (whether at your desk or otherwise). 7 You are not permitted to use a dictionary or an electronic translator of any kind or have on or at your desk a calculator which can store or display text. You are also not permitted to use or have on or at your desk a mobile phone, tablet, pager, etc, of any kind. Any kept in bags or briefcases must be switched off at all times in the examination hall. 8 You are not allowed to use, or attempt to use, or intend to use, any unauthorised materials while the exam is in progress. 9 If you breach exam regulation 5, 6, 7 or 8 and the unauthorised materials are relevant to the syllabus being examined, it will be assumed that you intended to use them to gain an unfair advantage in the exam. In any subsequent disciplinary proceedings, you will have to prove that you did not intend to use the unauthorised materials to gain an unfair advantage in the exam. 10 You may not assist, attempt to assist, obtain or attempt to obtain assistance by improper means
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from any other person during your exams. 11 You are required to adhere at all times to the Examination Guidelines. 12 You are required to comply with the ruling of supervisor/s, invigilator/s and any ACCA personnel. They are obliged to report any cases of irregularity or improper conduct to ACCA. They are also empowered to discontinue your exam if you are suspected of misconduct and to exclude you from the exam hall. 13 You may not engage in any other unprofessional conduct designed to assist you in your exam attempt. 14 You are not permitted to remove either your candidate answer booklet(s) or your question paper from the exam hall. All exam candidate answer booklets remain the property of ACCA. 15 Once the exam has started, you are not allowed to leave the exam hall permanently until the end of the session and then only when instructed by the supervisor. 16 If you attempt to gain an unfair advantage in the exam (whether by breaching an exam regulation or otherwise) you are likely to be removed from ACCA’s student register following disciplinary proceedings. 17 Candidates must not talk to, or attempt to communicate with, other candidates during the exam under any circumstances. 18 You must not attempt to obtain and/or obtain your examination results prior to ACCA’s official published results release date.
supervisor’s announcements The following important announcements will be made before the start of each examination session Before the examination begins 1 The examination will be conducted in accordance with the regulations and guidelines outlined in your attendance docket. 2 You will be asked to check that you are sitting at the correct desk and that you have been given the correct examination paper with the appropriate tax/ law variant. If you are in any doubt please contact an invigilator before the examination begins. 3 Do not open your question paper until told to do so. 4 Your answer booklet will be electronically marked. You must therefore ensure that you complete the details on the front cover of this and all continuation booklets used, using the information from your attendance docket. Failure to do so will result in your booklet not being marked. 5 To complete the details, you must write the relevant information in the spaces provided. Once you have done this, you must then shade the relevant circle in the column below each number or letter. Only one number or letter must be selected from each column.
Black ballpoint pen only must be used for this and for all writing inside your answer booklet. 6 You will be asked to remove all items, other than those listed on your attendance docket, from your desk. Candidates found in possession of unauthorised materials are in breach of the examination regulations and their conduct will be reported to ACCA. If you attempt to gain an unfair advantage in the examination, you are likely to be removed from ACCA’s student register following disciplinary proceedings. 7 You are not permitted to take mobile phones or pagers to your desk under any circumstances. If you choose to leave such items in your bag they must be switched off. 8 You are not permitted to use a personal organiser, language translator or calculator with the facility to store or display text or a dictionary. 9 Please note that you may not leave the hall permanently until the conclusion of the examination. If you require to leave your desk for any reason, you will be escorted by an invigilator. 10 Invigilators will collect your attendance docket and check your identification during the examination. Please place them on your desk ready for this validation process. 11 Candidates sitting examinations with multiple-choice questions must record their answers on page 2 of their answer booklet.
You must complete the answer grid on this page as this is the only information processed for marking. Answers indicated on any other pages of the booklet or on the question paper will not be marked. 12 Candidates attempting three-hour papers will be given 15 minutes reading time at the beginning of the examination. You must not open or write on your answer booklet until told to do so at the end of the 15 minutes. You are, however, permitted to write on your question paper during this time. 13 You will be told when there is one hour remaining and when there are 15 minutes to go. 14 You must submit your answer booklet at the end of the examination. 15 You cannot keep your question paper and these will be collected at the end of the examination. Your answer booklet will not be marked unless your question paper has been collected. 16 Candidates attempting two-hour papers will be requested to leave the room quietly at the end of their examination as there will still be examinations in progress. 17 If there is a problem during the examination, you shall be escorted to the nearest emergency exit.