Related Links

This article explains the planned updates to the ACCA Qualification syllabuses taking place as part of the process of continuous syllabus refreshment and improvement.

Introduction

The exam year runs from the 1 September to 31 August the following year, for all papers except tax*. Therefore the next syllabus changes will be effective from 1 September 2016 and will include any changes to examinable documents issued up until 1 September 2015. 

* The exam year for most tax exams is 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 (shortened for the UK tax papers from 1 September 2016 to 31 March 2017 due to the timing of Finance Acts in 2015), with Malaysia and Czech Republic being exceptions. You should refer to the study guide and examinable documents for details of what legislation is examinable in the tax papers.


For paper-based exams the updated syllabus will be examined for the first time in the September exam session and for exams available by on-demand CBE (F1, F2, F3 and F4 ENG and GLO) the updated syllabus will be examined from September 2016.

Also be aware that ACCA is now offering four exam sessions a year at the Fundamentals and Professional level in all of our markets from March 2016.

With regard to the ACCA Qualification Skills module (exams F4, F5, F6 (UK), F7, F8 and F9) there are some amendments to exam formats and syllabus updates from September 2016 to announce. ACCA are also phasing in computer-based exams (CBE) for the Skills module exams (F4 to F9) from September 2016. The implications of these changes will be discussed below.

At the Professional level there are also some syllabus changes to announce, mainly affecting the P4 and P5 Options exams.

In all cases, please refer to the relevant study guides for full details of changes for the papers you are particularly interested in. The summary of syllabus updates and changes for each exam is also included at the back of each study guide.

All the changes to the ACCA Advanced Diploma and Professional level syllabuses are summarised below.

ACCA Fundamentals level (Skills Module)


Structural changes to the Skills module exams
(F5–F9)

From September 2016, CBE versions of the Skills exams (including F6 UK only) are being phased in, in addition to paper delivery. Further details relating to CBE will be released in April 2016. The paper exam structure will also change in September 2016.

Section A will continue to be automatically marked but will make use of a wider range of objective test question types in addition to multiple-choice currently available. A new section of OT cases will be introduced. Each case in this section will be a single scenario against which there will be five objective test questions. There will continue to be a long questions referred to as constructed response questions, but here CBE students will be using word processing and spreadsheet tools in which to construct their responses instead of pen and paper. This constructed response section will continue to be expert (human) marked. 

The following is a summary of the current versus new format for F5 to F9 exams with effect from September 2016.

 

Current
paper format

Future CBE and
paper format

F5  

F7  

F9  

• 20 x 2 mark MCQ

• 3 x 10 mark CR**

• 2 x 15 mark CR**

• 15 x 2 mark OT*

• 3 x 10 mark OT* case

• 2 x 20 mark CR

F6 (UK)

• 15 x 2 mark MCQ

• 4 x 10 mark CR

• 2 x 15 mark CR

• 15 x 2 mark OT*

• 3 x 10 mark OT* case

• 1 x 10 mark CR

• 2 x 15 mark CR

F8 

• 8 x 2 mark MCQ

• 4 x 1 mark MCQ

• 4 x 10 mark CR

• 2 x 20 mark CR

• 3 x 10 mark OT* case

• 1 x 30 mark CR

• 2 x 20 mark CR



* Paper exams will only use MCQ objective test items
** The current F7 CR question section has two questions of 15 marks each and one question of 30 marks
 

Syllabus Changes to the Skills module exams (F4–F9)

There have been a number of changes to the syllabuses of the Skills module exams, which are detailed below.

F4, CORPORATE AND BUSINESS LAW
The main areas that have been clarified in the syllabus are shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1 – Amendments to F4 (ENG)

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

B3b) Breach of contract and
remedies

The remedies available in common law for breach of contract

B4c) The law of torts and
professional negligence

The concept of vicarious liability

C2f) Dismissal and redundancy

The operation of the rules relating to redundancy

F1a) Company directors

Shadow directors

F1d) Company directors

The controls imposed by statute over dealings between directors and their companies, including loans



The areas where there have been additions to the syllabus are shown in Table 2 below.

Table 2 – Additions to F4 (ENG)

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

D4c) The formation and
constitution of a company

The system of streamlined company registration

D4d) The formation and
constitution of a company

The confirmation statement and the register of people with significant control



There have been no deletions from the syllabus.

F5, PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
These are the changes to the syllabus and these are summarised in Table 3 below.

Table 3 – Changes to the F5 exam

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

C1 Budgetary systems and types of budget

C1 is now combines the previous C1 and C2 and as a result the learning outcomes have been re-ordered

Learning outcomes C1g and C1h were previously C8d and C8f

C1f is a new learning outcome focused on beyond budgeting

C2 Quantitative analysis in budgeting

Previously was C3 but no change to content

C3 Standard costing

Previously was C4 but no change to content

C4 Material mix and yield variances

Previously was C5 but no change to content

C5 Sales mix and quantity variances

Previously was C6 but no change to content

C6 Planning and operational variances

Previously was C7 but no change to content

C7 Performance analysis

Previously was C8 and titled ‘Performance analysis and behavioural aspects’. C8d and C8f have been moved to C1 and as a result the learning outcomes have been reordered



F6 (UK), TAXATION
The main additions to the F6 syllabus are given in Table 4 below.

Table 4 – Additions to F6 (UK)

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

B2 – Income from employment

New part (j) on the circumstances in which real time reporting late filing penalties will be imposed on an employer and the amount of penalty which is charged added

B2 – Income from employment– Excluded topics

The reduced charge applicable to zero emission company vans

B3 Income from self-employment – Excluded topics

Knowledge of the new annual investment allowance limit of £200,000 from 1 January 2016

B4 Property and investment income – Excluded topics

The additional ISA allowance for a surviving spouse or registered civil partner

Help-to-buy ISAs

B5 The comprehensive computation of taxable income and income tax liability – Excluded topics

The higher personal allowance available for people born before 6 April 1938.

B5 The comprehensive computation of taxable income and income tax liability

New part (c) on the transferable amount of personal allowance for spouses or civil partners added

B6 National insurance contributions for employed and self-employed persons – Excluded topics

The exemption from employer’s class 1 NIC in respect of employees aged under 21

B7 The use of exemptions and reliefs in deferring and minimising income tax liabilities – Excluded topics

The anti-avoidance annual allowance limit of £10,000 for pension contributions

The transitional rules affecting the annual allowance for pension contributions for the tax year 2015–16

E4 The comprehensive computation of corporation tax liability – Excluded topics

The tax rates applicable to periods prior to financial year 2015

Marginal relief

F2 The computation of VAT liabilities

New part (a) on the calculation of the amount of VAT payable/recoverable added for clarity



The main areas that have been deleted from the syllabus are shown in Table 5 below.

Table 5 – Deletions from F6 (UK)

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

B2 Income from employment

The exemption where an employer pays for medical treatment removed from excluded topics as now examinable.

E4 The comprehensive computation of corporation tax liability

The implications of receiving franked investment income removed from the syllabus

E5 The effect of a group corporate structure for corporation tax purposes

The definition of an associated company and the effect of having associated companies for corporation tax purposes removed from the syllabus



The main areas that have been amended the syllabus are shown in Table 6 below.

Table 6 – Amendments to F6 (UK)

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

B4 Property and investment income

'Individual savings account (ISA)' substituted for 'New individual savings account (NISA)' in part (g)



 

F7, FINANCIAL REPORTING

Note of significant changes to F7 study guide
The main areas to be added or deleted from the syllabus from that date are shown in Table 7 and 8 below.

Table 7 – Additions to F7 

tab7

Table 8 – Deletions to F7 

A3a)

Distinguish between the primary aims of not-for profit and public sector entities and those of profit oriented entities

This learning outcome is now incorporated in section C4 of the F7 syllabus

A3b)

Discuss the extent to which International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) are relevant to specialised, not-for-profit and public sector entities

 



F8, AUDIT AND ASSURANCE

The main areas that have been changed in the syllabus are shown in the Table 9 below.

Table 9 – Amendments to F8

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

New A3d) New outcome covering evaluation of corporate governance practices and recommendations for improvements

A3d) Evaluate corporate governance deficiencies and  provide recommendations to allow compliance with international codes of corporate governance (2)

 

A6b) and A6c) Outcomes regarding outsourcing have been combined

A6b) Explain outsourcing and the associated advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing the internal audit function (1)

 

B1a) Outcome extended to specifically refer to continuance decisions

B1a) Discuss the requirements of professional ethics and ISAs in relation to the acceptance/continuance of audit engagements (2)

 

New B1e) New outcome covering quality control procedures as ISA 220, Quality Control for an Audit of Financial Statements will now be an examinable document for F8

B1e) Explain the quality control procedures that should be in place over engagement performance, monitoring quality and compliance with ethical requirements (2)

 

D1a) amended to reflect the new assertions as per ISA 315 (Revised) as detailed in IAASB’s Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements – Revised ISAs and Related Conforming amendments

D1. Financial statement assertions and audit evidence

 

a) Explain the assertions contained in the financial statements about: (2)

(i) Classes of transactions and events and related disclosures
(ii) Account balances and related disclosures at the period end

 

E4a) Outcome amended to refer to overall review to ensure sufficient appropriate evidence

E4a) Discuss the importance of the overall review in ensuring that sufficient, appropriate evidence has been obtained (2)

 

E5a) Outcome amended to better reflect the new requirements of ISA 700, Forming and Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements and ISA 701, Communicating Key Audit Matters in the Independent Auditor’s Report

E5a) Identify and describe the basic elements contained in the independent auditor’s report (1)

 



F9, FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
There have been no syllabus changes planned to F9 from September 2016.

ACCA Professional Level

There have been few changes planned at the Professional level from September 2016. The main changes have been made to the Options exams – P4, Advanced Financial Management and P5, Advanced Performance Management.

The planned changes from September 2016 are detailed below:

P1, GOVERNANCE, RISK AND ETHICS
There have been no changes planned to P1 from September 2016.

P2 (INT), CORPORATE REPORTING
There have been no changes planned to P2 (INT) from September 2016, other than some changes to update the list of examinable documents.

P3, BUSINESS ANALYSIS
There have been no changes planned to P3 from September 2016.

P4, ADVANCED FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
There are changes to the syllabus to reflect the latest business and educational developments affecting this exam. These are summarised in Table 10 below.

Table 10 – Amendments/additions/deletions to P4

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

A role of the senior financial adviser in the multinational organisation

This syllabus area contains outcomes from the role and responsibility towards stakeholders, economic environment for multinationals and emerging issues sections of the previous syllabus.

Some outcomes from these old section have been deleted whilst other have been amended or simplified.

A2h) on behavioural finance is a new syllabus outcome

A3g) is an amended outcome relating to environmental issues and sustainability.

Most of the conflicting stakeholder interests learning outcomes have been removed, only the new A3c) remains.

A4f) and A4g) are amended outcomes and have altered the scope of the outcome relating to international financial institutions.

Section A6 was also previously part of the treasury and risk management section.

EVA has been removed from the syllabus and is no longer examinable in P4.

B1avi)

New outcome added to test duration in terms of project appraisal in addition to debt finance.

B1b

Outcomes relating to the design and distribution underlying a simulation model have been removed.

C1f)

New outcome added to evaluate the use of reverse takeovers.

C2 Valuation for acquisition and mergers

Outcomes in this section have been simplified by the removal of references to types 1, 2 and 3. C2c) and C2d) are amended outcomes from the previous syllabus

Financial reconstruction

The third outcome under this heading has been removed as it duplicated other outcomes.

Emerging issues

This syllabus area no longer exists separately and instead the learning outcomes have been moved to the relevant syllabus area. These outcomes are now A4d), A4e) and B3b).



There are other minor wording changes which have been made to several outcomes.

These outcomes are A2a), A4e), B3b), D1a), E3a iv).

P5, ADVANCED PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
Changes to the P5 syllabus are detailed below in Table 11.

Table 11 – Changes to the P5 syllabus effective from September 2016

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

A Strategic planning and controlThere are still 5 subject areas, however these have been reordered.

A1b has been changed to ‘Discuss the role of performance measurement’

A1d has been deleted and the subsequent learning outcomes reordered

A1e now includes the models from E2a

A1g was formerly F2a

A2 was formerly D1

D1b, c, e and f have been deleted and the remainder reordered under A2

A3 was formerly A2

A3b is now focused on the use of variance analysis in performance measurement

The former A2c has been deleted

A4 was formerly A3

There have been some deletions, additions and reordering

A4b was A4a from the previous syllabus

A4f was A4e from the previous syllabus

A4e was F2c

A4g was C1e

The former A3c and A3e have been deleted

The former A4b and A4c have been deleted

A5a has been rephrased

A5b has been rephrased

A5c has been replaced with the former F1b and input/output analysis has been deleted

B External influences on
organisational performance

 

Subject area B1 has been renamed

B1a has been deleted and subsequent learning outcomes have been reordered

Subject area B2 has been renamed

B2aiii has been deleted

B2b has been deleted

C Performance measurement
systems and design

 

C1e has moved to A4g

C1g has been deleted

C2c has been replaced with a new learning outcome

C3c was formerly A4d and the previous C3c is now C3d

C4b is a new learning outcome focused on how data can be used to misrepresent performance

C4c was formerly F2d
D Strategic performance
measurement
D1 has moved to A2 and the subject areas have been consequently reordered

The former D2b and D2f have been deleted

D1bi has been added and the subsequent list of performance measures renumbered

D1e was formerly D2g and has been rephrased

D3 was formerly D4

The former D4b and D4c have been deleted

D3c was formerly F1c

D3d has been amended slightly to include ’eg the use of targets’

The former D5b and D5c have been deleted

D5 was formerly D6

The former D6b and D6d have been deleted

D5b has been amended to include reference to the costs of quality

D6 is now the previous D7 and D8 combined

D6a and D6b are new learning outcomes which link together a number of the former learning outcomes

D7 was formerly D9

The former D9b has been deleted

D7b has been added
E Performance evaluation
and corporate failure
E1d has been deleted

E2a has been moved to A1e

E3 has been reordered

 

Former syllabus area (F)

F1a, F1d, F2b have been deleted

F1b has been moved to A5c

F1c has been moved to D3c

F2a has been moved to A1g

F2c has been moved to A4e

F2d has been moved to C4c



P6 (UK), ADVANCED TAXATION
The main areas that have been changed or added to the syllabus are shown in Table 12 below.

Table 12 – Additions to P6 (UK)

Section and subject area

Amendment

A1f) – The comprehensive computation of taxable income and
the income tax liability – Excluded topics

The £10,000 anti-avoidance annual allowance applicable to taxpayers accessing their pension flexibly

A1g) – The use of exemptions
and reliefs in deferring and
minimising income tax liabilities – Excluded topics

The transfer of pension benefits on death

 

A2b) – The scope of the taxation
of capital gains

New part (vi) on the UK taxation of gains on the sale of UK residential property owned by non-residents added

A4c) – Taxable total profits –
Excluded topics

The disposal of residential property by a company

Tax avoidance involving carry forward losses

Diverted profits tax

A5a) – The scope of stamp taxes –
Excluded topics

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT)

A6 – Value added tax –
Excluded topics

Special place of supply rules for  business to consumer supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting and e-services

A6 (b) – Tax administration and
the UK tax system

New part (i) on the increased penalties which apply in relation to offshore matters added


P7 (INT), ADVANCED AUDIT AND ASSURANCE
The changes are introduced to the P7 (INT) syllabus to reflect the latest business and educational developments affecting this exam. These are summarised in Table 13 below.

Table 13 – Changes to the P7 (INT) exam effective from September 2017

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

D1h) Amended to clarify the need for additional information to obtain an understanding of the entityh) Identify additional information that may be required to assist the auditor in obtaining an understanding of the entity (2)

D2b) New learning outcome specifically relating to additional information required for planning

b) Identify additional information that may be required to effectively carry out a planned assignment (2)

D3e) Amended terminology to comply with changes to ISA 720 The Auditor’s Responsibilities Relating to Other Information

e) Discuss the courses of action available to an auditor if a material inconsistency or material misstatement exists in relation to other information such as contained in the integrated report (2)

F1a) New learning outcome to introduce the new requirements of reporting standards –
ISA 700 and ISA 701

a) Determine the form and content of an unmodified audit report and assess the appropriateness of the contents of an unmodified audit report (3)

G1 Amendment to heading to
focus on developments

1. Professional and ethical developments

 



Changes to the Foundations Level and
CAT syllabuses

There are very few changes to the Foundations level or CAT syllabuses except for FTX, Foundations in Taxation.

For specific information about any changes to these syllabuses, please access the relevant syllabus and study guide from the student resources on our exam resources page.

Last updated: 1 Feb 2018