Technical articles

Technical articles

Time series and moving averages
This article looks at time series analysis, which can be used to analyse historic data and establish any underlying trend and seasonal variations within the data.

Regression and correlation
This article looks at how the relationships between variables can be analysed using the ‘line of best fit’ method and regression analysis, and how the strength of these relationships can be measured using correlation.

Pricing 1: Theoretical aspects
This article deals with the theoretical aspects of pricing and a second article deals with practical pricing.

Pricing 2: Practical aspects
This article deals with practical pricing approaches.

Balanced scorecard
For a profit-seeking company, sustained financial success and long-term shareholder value are the ultimate objectives and the balanced scorecard suggests how this might be achieved.

Big data 1: What is big data?
Big data is part of the Performance Management syllabus. But what exactly is big data?

Big data 2: How companies use big data
This article will describe some real life examples of the use of big data for performance management and measurement purposes.

Relevant costs
This article looks at relevant costs, which can be defined as any cost relevant to a decision. 

Information systems
Information systems (IS) is a topic you need to be ready for in all sections of the Performance Management exam. The examiner reports state that students regularly overlook this area of the syllabus, so make sure you cover it during your studies.

Tackling performance evaluation questions
Performance evaluation is a regularly examined requirement in the Performance Management exam, and is a topic that students tend to misunderstand and struggle with. This article provides advice on successfully tackling this type of question, working through an approach for planning and answering this requirement, looking at common mistakes and tips on how to avoid them.

Building blocks of performance management
Performance management – the processes that ensure organisations meet their objectives – is core to the Performance Management syllabus, and understanding modern performance measurement systems is an important area within this topic. This article reviews the importance of the modern approach to performance measurement, discusses the Building Block model, and applies this model to an exam-based scenario.

Decentralisation and the need for performance measurement
This article focuses on a classic performance measurement question, which involves a combination of financial and non-financial analysis.

Transfer pricing
The purpose of this article is to strip transfer pricing back to the basics and consider, first, why transfer pricing is important; secondly, the general principles that should be applied when setting a transfer price; and thirdly, an approach to tackle exam questions in this area, specifically the question from June 2014’s exam.

Activity-based costing
ABC undoubtedly requires an organisation to spend time and effort investigating more fully what causes it to incur costs, and then to use that detailed information for costing purposes.  

Target costing and lifecycle costing
An explanation of target costing and lifecycle costing, with examples as to how and when you would use these costing techniques. 

Throughput accounting and the theory of constraints – part 1
In the first of two articles, we look at the basic principles of the theory of constraints and throughput accounting.

Throughput accounting and the theory of constraints – part 2
A follow-up to the first part of this article featuring a discussion on the five focusing steps of the theory of constraints, with examples of how these steps might be applied in practice or in the exam. 

Environmental management accounting
Also available as a podcast on iTunes
Environmental management accounting is part of the Performance Management syllabus and requires students to describe the issues businesses face in managing environmental costs, and the different methods they may use to account for these. 

Cost-volume-profit analysis
Cost-volume-profit analysis allows a business to find its break-even point.

Linear programming 
A simple example to illustrate the decision-making technique of linear programming.

The risks of uncertainty
Decisions, decisions – risk, probability and potential outcomes unravelled.

Decision trees
The addition of decision trees to the Performance Management syllabus is a relatively recent one. This article provides a step-by-step approach to decision trees, using a simple example to guide you through.

All about budgeting - part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 This series of articles covers the budgeting approaches flexible budgeting, activity-based budgeting, rolling budgeting, zero-based budgeting, and beyond budgeting.

Comparing budgeting techniques (incremental v ZBB) in the public sector 
Also available as a podcast on iTunes
This article critically evaluates the two main methods for preparing budgets - the incremental approach and the zero-based approach.

The learning rate and learning effect
The purpose of this article is to summarise the history of the learning curve effect and help candidates understand why it is important, as well as looking at what past learning curve questions have required of candidates and to clarify how future questions may go beyond this.

Materials mix and yield variances
This article explains the theory behind mix and yield variances, and provides examples of how to use them in an exam.

Not-for-profit organisations – part 1
The first part of the article broadly describes the generic characteristics of not-for-profit organisations.

Not-for-profit organisations – part 2
The second part of the article takes a specific and deeper look at charities, which are one of the more important types of not-for-profit organisations.

Study support videos

Exam question 32 debrief
Our CBE question debrief video looks at question 32 from the Performance Management September 2016 exam. It covers limiting factor analysis.

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.
Cannot access Youtube? Watch it here (part 1 | part 2)

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.
Cannot access Youtube? Watch it here

Decision trees
Jo Ryan from BPP explains how to approach Performance Management 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 exam.
Cannot access Youtube? Watch it here

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.

Exam technique

Performance Management examiner's approach
Advice on how to prepare for the exam, and the best ways to achieve success.

Objective questions for session CBEs
What you need to know about the objective test questions for session CBEs for PM, TX, FR, AA and FM.

Top tips for the Performance Management exam
This article outlines the key skills considered essential to passing.

Approaching PM constructed response questions
This article identifies the reasons why sitting the F5 exam seems to cause such a problem for students.

F5 – A guide to using the examiner’s reports
Guidance to help you if you are taking the Performance Management exam for the first time as this takes you through how to use the examiner’s reports as part of your revision phase as directed by the study-support guides. This document will help you to understand how you should be using the examiner’s reports to make the best use of them.

F5 – A guide to reflection for retake students
Guidance to help you if you are retaking the Performance Management exam as this takes you through the process of reflection using the examiner’s reports as directed in the retake guides. This document will help you to understand how you should be using the examiner’s reports to make the best use of them.

Exam support resources

Return to the exam resource finder to locate other materials to help with your studies