From September 2022, we'll be introducing professional skills marks into the ACCA Strategic Professional Options exams. These changes will help prepare you for the role of finance professionals, your employability and ensure the ACCA Qualification continues to meet the needs of the profession.
The Options exams will have 20 marks awarded for professional skills which are demonstrated throughout the exam. The exam duration will remain the same allowing you to more effectively manage your exam time to answer the 80 marks allocated for showing mastery of your technical specialism.
These changes will be incorporated from September 2022 in the following exams:
And from June 2023 in the following exam:
*Changes to ATX-MYS variant will come into effect from the December 2023 exam session.
These will be the same as those currently assessed in Strategic Business Leader (SBL) but tailored to reflect the specialist content being assessed in each Options exam.
Each of the four professional skills has a number of leadership capabilities associated with it. The Strategic Professional Options examinations will use these capabilities to allocate marks in each exam question as appropriate.
The professional skills and capabilities are:
In summary, this means candidates have to express themselves clearly and convincingly through the appropriate medium, while being sensitive to the needs of the intended audience. This means responding in a professional manner and adhering to any specific instructions made.
In summary, this means candidates have to show awareness of the wider business environment and external factors affecting the business and use commercially sound judgement and insight to resolve issues, exploit opportunities and offer valid advice and realistic recommendations.
In summary, this means candidates firstly have to thoroughly investigate and research information from a variety of sources and logically process it with a view to prioritising activities and arriving at an appropriate conclusion or recommendation. This analysis should form part of a comprehensive evaluation of a matter where candidates have to carefully assess situations, proposals, and arguments in a balanced and cogent way, using professional and ethical judgement to predict future outcomes and consequences as a basis for sound decision-making.
In summary, this means candidates have to explore, question and challenge information and views presented to them, identifying if all information is available or whether there may be underlying bias, to fully understand business issues and establish facts objectively, based on ethical and professional values.
*Scepticism is being expanded to include judgement for Advanced Audit and Assurance only, as it is a defined requirement for auditors.
More guidance on how each of these professional skills are defined within the context of that exam can be found in the Professional skills options guidance document and in the exam-specific support pages below.
The syllabus and study guides and a specimen exam are now available for you to familiarise yourself with the new exam structure. Ahead of the changes being introduced into the September 2022 exams we'll be providing you with comprehensive support resources to prepare you for success. These will be announced through our usual communication channels and available here and within the Study Support Resources section.
All the professional skills assessed in the Options exam are fully explored and developed throughout the Ethics and Professional Skills module (EPSM). Students who complete EPSM in advance of sitting Strategic Professional exams have a 20% better success rate.
With these changes it is now more important than ever that you should aim to compete EPSM in advance of taking an Options exam.