Advanced Financial Management (AFM) essentials on one page

How to approach the Advanced Financial Management
(AFM) exam

This is an advanced level exam which builds upon the knowledge and skills examined in Financial Management.

AFM: abilities

You will be required to demonstrate your ability to:

  • Read and digest quickly, comprehensive and detailed questions
  • Apply relevant knowledge and skills
  • Exercise the professional judgement expected of a senior financial person
  • Make recommendations or financial management decisions that are likely to affect the entire business organisation.

Like a senior financial person at work, you will be expected to read a business brief and decide on a relevant methodical approach to meeting the brief’s objectives, making notes where necessary. Senior managers work under tight deadlines, and hence prioritising and managing your time is crucial to performing well under examination conditions.

AFM - A Senior Advisory Role

This strategic option exam is designed for candidates who work in or have ambitions to specialise in financial management. It builds on the assumed knowledge and demands advanced skills and techniques.

Illustration showing the role of the senior financial adviser in the multinational organisation.  There are two tiers to this diagram: top tier lists (side-by-side) advanced investment appraisal, acquisitions and mergers, reconstruction and re-organisation and treasury and advanced risk management. The bottom tier (directly below the four topics in the top tier) investment appraisal, business finance, business valuations and risk management.

Tips for success in the AFM exam

  • The key to exam success is question practice. Visit the past exams and question practice page for AFM for guidance on how to approach question practice, including using the ACCA Practice Platform
  • Break down requirements into all constituent parts to ensure every part is answered
    • Considering both financial and non-financial factors
  • Understand what matters to businesses and the viewpoints of stakeholders who are interested in the subsequent decisions based on the discussion and evaluation asked for
  • Use the information provided in the question scenario
  • Communicate findings and recommendations clearly and concisely with easy to follow numerical workings supported, where appropriate, by brief notes
  • Appreciate that professional skills underpin good performance throughout the exam.

Advice from the examining team

  • Supplement your studies with wider reading
  • Be aware that more than one topic area of the syllabus may be examined in a question
  • Relate any discussion or evaluation to the scenario in the question – context is very important
  • Use your exam time effectively – good time-management skills are essential
  • Structure your answers – presentation is critical
  • Apply a range of professional skills in addressing requirements within the exam.

Tackling the exam

Key resources

How to earn professional skills marks

The AFM exam has 20 marks for demonstrating professional skills

  • Communication
    Section A questions require briefing notes. Use appropriate headings and sub-headings, and clear, concise language. Ensure you answer the question asked!
  • Analysis and evaluation
    Analysis or evaluation must be relevant to the organisation and their situation.
  • Scepticism
    Have a questioning mindset that challenges information, evidence and assumptions.
  • Commercial acumen
    Demonstrate your understanding of what is appropriate in different types of organisation and different contexts. Draw appropriate conclusions and make properly informed decisions which are appropriate to the scenario.