Tackling the ACCA Syllabus with Confidence

Below we introduce you to the ACCA syllabus and give you an idea of what you can expect to cover in individual courses.

As you embark on gaining a qualification with one of the world’s most prestigious accounting bodies, we're here to guide you as an award-winning accountancy tuition provider on some of the key practical considerations when it comes to the ACCA syllabus. 

In this article, we introduce you to the ACCA syllabus and give you an idea of what you can expect to cover in individual courses. We also give you some recommendations on which courses to combine and what you can to do prepare for your exams. 

ACCA Syllabus Snapshot

We won’t spend too much time on this matter other than to explain that there are different levels to the ACCA qualification, which are illustrated below:

Further readingWhy ACCA and is ACCA Worth It?

Individual Courses

Foundation in Accountancy is the entry level into the ACCA qualification. The majority of ACCA students gain exemptions for this level because they come to ACCA with existing qualifications.

At VIVA, we offer course materials and support beginning at the Applied Knowledge Level all the way to the Strategic Professional Options. You can take each course one at a time, as a stand-alone exam. Let’s start there. 

Applied Knowledge Level 

Compulsory for every student who doesn’t have an approved exemption from ACCA Global. 

1. Financial Accounting (FA)

Covering topics such as preparation of basic financial statements and interpretation, double-entry accounting methods, corporate taxation, accruals, receivables and recording of transactions to ensure audit compliance. 

2. Management Accounting (MA)

Basic costing principles are discussed here, along with the tools to use to apply these principles.

3. Business and Technology (BT)

This comprehensive course covers different aspects of business technology and managing a business and looks at relevant issues like economic impact, internal controls and team effectiveness and performance in an organisation.

Applied Skills Level 

Compulsory for every student who doesn’t have an approved exemption from ACCA Global. 

4. Audit and Assurance (AA)

Delving into the concept of auditing and governance, this course takes you through key auditing principles and processes. Students will understand how to conduct an audit and handle an independent auditor’s report.

5. Performance Management (PM)

Performance Management provides you with the skills required to apply management accounting techniques to information for planning, decision-making, performance evaluation and internal control procedures. 

6. Taxation (TX UK)

Thoroughly covering the ins and outs of the UK tax system, such as investment income, property income, self-employment taxes, partnerships and capital gains tax, this course prepares the student to deal with individual and corporate tax returns. 

7. Financial Reporting (FA)

Looking into the conceptual and regulatory frameworks for reporting, students will learn how to prepare important financial statements and reports. The interpretation of financials and its limitations will also be discussed. 

8. Financial Management (FM)

Company financial objectives provide students with an in-depth look at the following topics:

  • Financial management environment
  • The business economic environment
  • Inventory controls
  • Investment appraisal
  • Sources of finance
  • Management decision making processes

9. Corporate and Business Law (LW)

An essential course covering the fundamentals of law pertaining to accounting and finance. Students are prepared for working with contracts, dealing with employment law, and looking at the inner workings of company directors and other company officers. 

Strategic Professional Level - Essentials

Compulsory Courses for every ACCA student. 

10. Strategic Business leader (SBL)

Leadership, professionalism, strategic development, sound corporate governance and effective management structures are held up as key to business structure in this course.  Best practices are examined and put forth as solutions for current economic challenges.

11. Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)

The student is led into the role of investors and stakeholders as fundamental to business success.  Key elements of the course are outlined below:

Courtesy of ACCA Global

Notes for all students:  The SBR Exam format is changing in September 2023.  Be prepared for these changes.

Strategic Professional Level - Options

Students are asked to complete two of these courses to complete the qualification.

12. Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)

For those students that want to specialise in auditing, this course offers a look at money laundering, fraud, ethics, quality management, forensic audits, and auditing in the public sector.  Greatly expanding on the material in the first course (AA), this course prepares students for real-life situations.

13. Advanced Performance Management (APM)

The Advanced Performance Management syllabus further develops key aspects introduced 

in Performance Management at the Applied Skills level. It introduces students to the strategic role of management accounting as a discipline for planning and controlling performance. 

14. Advanced Taxation (ATX)

Corporation tax liabilities are heavily discussed in this course, along with measures that can be taken to reduce these liabilities.  Leaning on the fundamentals of the business taxation system, this module is suitable for students that want to specialise in taxation in the UK and do so in a corporate context.

15. Advanced Financial Management (AFM)

This syllabus develops upon the core financial management knowledge and skills covered in 

the Financial Management syllabus. It prepares candidates to advise management and/or 

clients on complex strategic financial management issues facing an organisation. Some topics covered are working capital risk analysis, multinationals - emerging issues, legal implications of mergers and business environmental factors. 

This makes a total of 13 exams that ACCA students must write. It is sometimes said that there are 14 exams. However, most sources here are referring to the additional Ethics and Professionalism module that is compulsory for all students. 

Exam Combinations

Having looked at the syllabus, we now cover recommended combinations for writing your exams. By combining these courses, you can save time, money and effort because you won’t need to study the same material twice. 

- PM and FM

By studying these two courses together, you will be able to focus on management accounting techniques for decision-making and FM for financial management concepts. For example, in PM, you will learn how to create a budget and with FM, you will need to analyse the created budget and find areas for cost reductions.

- FR and AA

The essential knowledge of financial reporting standards (FR) will help you with AA because you will already be able to understand the data in a financial statement easily. This is critical during auditing procedures. 

- LW and TX

LW will give you foundational knowledge about the legal and regulatory aspects of a business, which will greatly enhance your understanding of TX. Together, they will help you to navigate through the case study work presented in the exams. 

Award-winning tuition at a fraction of the cost

How can VIVA help you?

VIVA Financial Tuition has a track record of delivering premium online tuition at scale, allowing us to make award-winning tuition available to students worldwide at a fraction of the cost of traditional providers. If our prices make you sceptical about quality standards - you don’t have to worry. VIVA has been recognised by ACCA as an official Silver Learning Partner. Add to that our awards/nominations and 4.9 out of 5 student rating on Trustpilot, and you know you're in safe hands.

The reason we've been able to achieve this groundbreaking value is because we care about the finance and accounting industry and the professionals that enter it. So, along with other benefits, we’ve made our premium learning material available from as little as £149 per course.  

When you register with us (which takes no time at all), you will be able to start learning immediately. Here is what you can look forward to:

  • Video lectures by subject experts with backgrounds at the highest levels of academia and practice. Among your lecturers are tutors with decades of experience leading university classes, former senior auditors and tax managers from the "Big 4", managing directors, and more.  
  • Integrated exam scenarios and solutions modelling how to answer on exam day
  • Downloadable lesson notes for every chapter
  • And more coming soon, at no extra charge!

Is ACCA too hard?

We repeatedly hear this question asked by prospective students.   

ACCA is not too hard for students to get qualified. But it does take work and dedication and a bit of resilience, like most things that are worth it. 

Over 10,000 students have trusted us to get them through their accountancy exams and they’re now filling some of the most prestigious positions in accounting and finance. We think that says a lot.

Also, our lectures have been viewed over 1,000,000 times online and our YouTube channel is fast growing in expertise and popularity. Our passion for accounting has been infectious and this passion is growing by the day.  

Get started today and allow VIVA to help accelerate your ACCA journey.

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