The exam format for Financial Accounting (FA/FFA) is a computer-based exam (CBE).
The exam will comprise two sections: Section A containing 35 objective questions for two marks each and Section B containing two multi-task questions for 15 marks each. As stated in the syllabus the multi-task questions will test consolidations and accounts preparation. If you are well prepared and understand the key areas of the syllabus you will be able to tackle all these questions with confidence.
As with any exam, however, it is important that you understand how the style of question works and any particular techniques which you need to use in answering them. Due to the nature of the topics examinable in the FA/FFA exam's multi-task questions it is likely that these will involve producing financial statements (for example a statement of profit or loss, a statement of financial position or statement of cash flows) either in full or extracts. You should bear in mind the following points when attempting this style of question.
Own figure rule – will not apply in the CBE
The CBE multi-task questions are computer marked so the questions are designed so that each response is independent – ie it is not reliant on your answer to an earlier part of the question.
This is demonstrated in this example from the sample exam, where candidates are asked to produce a consolidated statement of profit or loss. The calculation of profit attributable to the owners of the parent company is examined by asking candidates to select the correct formula from a drop-down box. The answer to this is not dependent on any of the other number entry responses included in the consolidated statement.
For candidates sitting the CBE exam, proformas will be provided as necessary. You should be aware of a number of conventions involved when completing these.
The proformas will include the terms ‘less’ and ‘add’ as illustrated in this proforma statement of profit or loss.
This means that you do not need to show any minus figures in the number entry boxes (for example for cost of sales).
- The basis on which numerical information is expressed will be made clear. Make sure that you have noted the terms in which the information is expressed. In the illustration above the answer column is headed up with $000. This means for example that $200,000 would simply be entered as 200. If the answer was expressed in $ (rather than $000) $200,000 would be entered as 200000. (Notice that the full figure is entered but a comma is not required.)
- Use of positive and negative responses. Care must be taken when entering positive and negative responses. This issue is particularly relevant to CBE multi-task questions on the statement of cash flows where the requirement extends to a two-step process. An illustration is given here.
As you can see the calculation of cash from operating activities involves a series of number entry responses followed by the selection from a drop-down box which indicates whether the balance would be added or subtracted. As the requirement has been extended to include this second step there is no need to show balances which would be subtracted as negatives. The same principle would also apply where the question asks candidates to differentiate between cash inflows and cash outflows.
A sample exam and additional multi-task questions for the FA/FFA exam are available on the ACCA website. It is strongly recommended that you should work through these questions as part of your preparation for your exam.