Tips for ACCA P1 Professional Accountant

Open Tuition

q1 Internal control problems, role of the Chair, the contribution that neds
can make to corporate governance
q2 Corporate social responsibility – why and what
q3 Internal auditors and their role in managing risk
q4 Ethical problems – possibly a money laundering situation
possible question – instead of any of those last three – a numbers question

In the long 50 mark scenario question you can expect to see all areas of the syllabus being tested. For this reason you should ensure that you have not neglected any of the broad syllabus areas of governance, risk and ethics. The topic of risk can be further subdivided between risk and control.
Some good areas of governance to look at are agency, stakeholders and directors’ remuneration.
Don’t neglect internal control reporting.
Ethical theories get tested regularly, and professional codes of ethics are an important part of the syllabus. The examiner did not touch environmental issues in the June exam – you should ensure you brush up on these too.
Kaplan tips
•Corporate governance: external factors – stock exchanges & Company secretary
•Normative / instrumental stakeholder views
•Ethical Decision making – Tucker/AAA
•Risk perception and ALARP
•Directors Performance Evaluation
First Intuition
50 mark scenario question, to include: TARA risk model, ethics, absolutist v relativism, chairman and CEO powers need to be separate, also corporate social responsibility, ISO 14001
Optional questions to include: importance of internal control, NEDs and remuneration committee, business risks, Grays Owens and adams
•Transaction cost versus agency theories
•Board committees
•Risk management and the role of internal audit
•Controlling organisational risks
•Absolutist versus relativist ethical theories
•Professional ethics
History shows that the ‘well prepared candidate’ stands by far the highest probabiliuty of passing exams.
Exam Tip
Being well prepared means at the very least:
* Working through all of the sessions within your study (on the basis that a good study system covers the whole syllabus and not just a ‘best guess’ 70%.
* Working through all past exam questions and completing all monitoring/progress tests and mock exams under full exam conditions.
* Reading all the examiner’s and other subject articles – they do not write for fun. Note that examiners no longer write articles for the forthcoming exam – so articles that are at least six months old could be very relevant.
* Careful study of the examiner’s reports on past exams. These contain excellent tips of what students should NOT be doing.
* Ignoring ‘exam tips’ that are just a list of somebody’s favourite topics.
* Regularly visiting
I have read various social pages, discussion of which tuition provider is the best at ‘tipping’ – none of us are! It is a myth – as this is P1, is it morally and ethically acceptable for a provider to mislead students into thinking that if they ‘go for’ the tips, they will pass?
At the 2011 ACCA Teachers Conference all examiners while understanding the desperation of students for exam tips, clearly ststed that such tips were a danger to a student’s ability to pass and MUSt be ignored.If you are not prepared to become a ‘well prepared student’ then I suggest you buy a Euro Lottery ticket. You will have a 1 in 75m chance of winning the jackpot and never needing to be a well prepared for any further ACCA exam – good luck!
The examiner – David Campbell
The examiner has now settled into his style and format. No changes are expected. Therefore attempting the last 4 real exams under exam conditions and then reviweing your answer along with the relevant examiner’s report is an essential pre-exam exercise.
David has made it perfectly clear that follwoing ‘exam tips’ is a sure way to fail the exam. He stresses the importance of covering the whole syllabus but even then students should not expect a pass just from being able to rote learn theory. Far too many students, for example, are able to list and describe ethical theories, but then completely fail to apply such theories to a practical scenario. Without real world thinking, exam tips are totally irrrelevant.
Do not be surprised to see a scenario within at least one of the questions, especially Q1, that you may recognise from a past corporate event. the examiner makes it clear that he bases his questions on real life – and the credit crunch/banking crisis of the last few years provides plenty of sources to cover just about every area within the syllabus!
Exam Technique
The diffreence between passing and failing is only one mark. Ensure you attempt ALL parts of Q1 and of the 2 questions you select from section B.
* Corpporate governance concepts, underlying fundamentals and arrangements.
* CG in other organisations eg public services, NGOs.
* Types and forms of CG, eg rules based, principles based, insoder, outsider systems, UK Corporate Governance Code, SoX (not sex – concentrate!)
* Agency theory, stakeholders, Mendelow.
* Board striuctures, CEO/chaiorman, directors, NEDs, committees.
* Internal control and business risk, Turnbull.
* Ethical theories and business codes – Kohlberg, Gray, Owen and Adams, Tucker, AAA.
* Professions and the public interest.
* Corporate social responsibility, corporate citizen, footprints and sustainability.
* Social and environmental auditing.
That just about covers the syllabus.
• Agency problem and agency monitoring costs.
• The harm to reputation that can be done by lack of transparency / openness.
• Absolutist/ relativist ethics
• Benefit of separation of chairman and CEO -possibly during a period of crisis (the chairman should deal with the public relations while the CEO manages the detail of the crisis)
• Balancing stakeholder claims.
• Corporate social responsibility perspectives.
• Risk and control –including internal control assessment.

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