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Using real options when making financial strategy decisions
This article considers how an individual traditional project could be reassessed using option valuation and how option valuation could assist when assessing a portfolio of projects. It then concludes with a brief discussion regarding inter-dependent projects.

Investment appraisal and real options
This article looks at how real options can be incorporated into investment appraisal decisions. It discusses real options and then considers the types of real options calculations which may be encountered in P4, through three examples. The article then considers the limitations of the application of real options in practice and how some of these may be mitigated.

Securitisation and tranching
Securitisation became a topical issue during the credit crunch, and still remains a relevant issue for financial management and P4 students.

Exchange traded foreign exchange derivatives
This article considers both foreign exchange futures and options using real market data, as well as focusing on other areas of significant importance.

Interest rate risk management
This article explains how to maximise marks on a topic that has caused students significant difficulty.

Conditional probability
Management decision making in both financial and performance management involves making choices based upon what may happen in the future. This article looks at how to consider all possible outcomes that may arise, together with their associated chances of occurring.

Business valuations
The primary purpose of this article is to demonstrate how to tackle a Paper P4 business valuation question. The detailed understanding of this topic will be gained from your P4 studies, whichever mode you choose to use.

Myopic management
Also available as a podcast on iTunes
For many years, managers of large businesses have been accused of focusing on short-term rather than long-term performance. In this article we explore the causes of management short termism and the remedies available.

International project appraisal – part 1
International project appraisal is an integral part of the Paper P4 syllabus. This article suggests a methodical approach to answering any exam question that may arise on this topic, with the first article of two looking at how to tackle a Section B, 25-mark question using materials from your P4 studies.

International project appraisal – part 2
Part 1 underlined the importance of international project appraisal within the P4 syllabus with a demonstration as to how to tackle a Section B question worth 25 marks. This follow-up piece looks at how to methodically approach an international project appraisal question that may arise in Section A, worth 50 marks.

Aspects of Islamic finance
This article provides a general overview of the different aspects, issues and developments of Islamic finance and extends the explanations provided in the article ‘Islamic finance – theory and practical use of sukuk bonds’.

Islamic finance – theory and practical use of sukuk bonds
From 2013, Islamic finance becomes part of the P4 syllabus, following its introduction to F9 two years ago. This article looks at Islamic finance as a growing and important source of finance, including the success and failure of the use.

The European debt crisis
Professional accountants should have an understanding of how the European debt crisis came about and what has been – and is being – done to resolve it. This article brings us up to date on the situation so far.

Economic value added versus profit-based measures of performance – part 1
In the first part of two articles, we look at an alternative performance measurement system, Economic Value Added – or EVA – which has gained widespread use among companies such as Siemens, Coca Cola and Herman Miller.

Economic value added versus profit-based measures of performance – part 2
The second part of an article on Economic Value Added (EVA focuses on how to interpret the calculated EVA and its use as both an organisational and divisional performance measure.

Determining interest rate forwards and their application to swap valuation
A look at how interest rate forwards may be determined from the spot yield curve, before considering what they mean and showing how they may be used in determining the value of an interest rate swap valuation.

Bond valuation and bond yields
In the first of two related articles, we consider how bonds are valued and the relationship between the bond value or price, the yield to maturity and the spot yield curve.

Risk management
This article explores the circumstances where the management of risk may lead to an increase in the value of a corporation.

Cost of capital, gearing and CAPM – part 1
Discounted cash flow techniques (DCFs), and in particular net present value (NPV), are generally accepted as the best ways of appraising projects. This article looks at how a suitable discount rate can be calculated.

Cost of capital, gearing and CAPM – part 2
This article continues the focus on equity finance.

Being an angel
A look at the role that business angels play in providing finance, the way in which they approach making an investment, and the financial and non-financial returns that may be expected.

Modified internal rate of return
This article investigates an even better measure which keeps the benefits of internal rate of return without the drawbacks.

Study support videos

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 P4.
Cannot access Youtube? Watch it here

Professional marks – the difference between a pass and a fail
Julie Corkish, education technical adviser at ACCA, provides some hints and tips around ensuring you get those professional marks which could mean the difference between a pass and a fail in your exam.

Advice for students retaking exams
This video is about turning your exam fail into a pass at your next attempt. It suggests ways to reflect on where you went wrong, how to draw up an effective study plan, and practising exam questions.

Syllabus updates

Changes to the ACCA Qualification skills module, Professional level and Foundations in 2016–17
This article explains the planned updates to the ACCA Qualification syllabuses taking place as part of the process of continuous syllabus refreshment and improvement.

Changes to the ACCA Qualification and Foundation level in 2015–16
This article explains the planned updates to the ACCA Qualification syllabuses taking place as part of the process of continuous syllabus refreshment and improvement.

ACCA embeds integrated reporting
Gareth Owen, ACCA qualifications development manager, outlines how the ACCA Qualification embraces the underlying principles of integrated reporting (IR). IR is a different way of presenting information about the business to its stakeholders and, as such, is a new and exciting development in financial reporting.

Making the best Options choices 
The Options papers are the final exam hurdle. Peter Redfern, ACCA qualifications manager, explains how choosing Options papers which you are most comfortable with will, hopefully, improve your chances of success.

Exam technique

Stepping up from F9 to P4
This article provides candidates with some insight into the ways in which knowledge and skills gained at previous levels can be examined at the final professional level.

How to earn professional marks
This article explains what professional marks are, how they are awarded at the Professional level and to remind potential candidates how best to achieve these additional, and often crucial, marks.

Examiner approach for P4 – update
An outline of the aim of the paper, its structure and how the syllabus will be tested in the exams from June 2013.

How to tackle exams – from a marker's perspective
A lack of knowledge is not the only thing that can lead to exam failure – poor technique could also let you down. This article highlights some common errors all ACCA students need to avoid.

Passing the Professional level papers
This article outlines what candidates can do to ensure they are well prepared for Professional level exams.

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Last updated: 15 Apr 2016