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CHANGES TO THE ACCA QUALIFICATION

SKILLS MODULE, PROFESSIONAL LEVEL AND


FOUNDATIONS IN 2016-17

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This article explains the planned updates to the ACCA Qualification syllabuses taking
place as part of the process of continuous syllabus refreshment and improvement.
INTRODUCTION
The exam year runs from the 1 September to 31 August the following year, for all papers except tax*.
Therefore the next syllabus changes will be effective from 1 September 2016 and will include any changes to
examinable documents issued up until 1 September 2015.

* The exam year for most tax exams is 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017
(shortened for the UK tax papers from 1 September 2016 to 31 March 2017
due to the timing of Finance Acts in 2015), with Malaysia and Czech Republic
being exceptions. You should refer to the study guide and examinable
documents for details of what legislation is examinable in the tax papers.

For paper-based exams the updated syllabus will be examined for the first time in the September exam
session and for exams available by on-demand CBE (F1, F2, F3 and F4 ENG and GLO) the updated syllabus
will be examined from September 2016.
Also be aware that ACCA is now offering four exam sessions a year at the Fundamentals and Professional
level in all of our markets from March 2016.
With regard to the ACCA Qualification Skills module (exams F4, F5, F6 (UK), F7, F8 and F9) there are some
amendments to exam formats and syllabus updates from September 2016 to announce. ACCA are also phasing in
computer-based exams (CBE) for the Skills module exams (F4 to F9) from September 2016. The implications of these
changes will be discussed below.
At the Professional level there are also some syllabus changes to announce, mainly affecting the P4 and P5 Options
exams.
In all cases, please refer to the relevant study guides for full details of changes for the papers you are particularly
interested in. The summary of syllabus updates and changes for each exam is also included at the back of each study
guide.
All the changes to the ACCA Advanced Diploma and Professional level syllabuses are summarised below.

ACCA FUNDAMENTALS LEVEL (SKILLS MODULE)

STRUCTURAL CHANGES TO THE SKILLS MODULE EXAMS


(F5F9)
From September 2016, CBE versions of the Skills exams (including F6 UK only) are being phased in, in addition to
paper delivery. Further details relating to CBE will be released in April 2016. The paper exam structure will also
change in September 2016.
Section A will continue to be automatically marked but will make use of a wider range of objective test question types
in addition to multiple-choice currently available. A new section of OT cases will be introduced. Each case in this
section will be a single scenario against which there will be five objective test questions. There will continue to be a
long questions referred to as constructed response questions, but here CBE students will be using word processing
and spreadsheet tools in which to construct their responses instead of pen and paper. This constructed response
section will continue to be expert (human) marked.
The following is a summary of the current versus new format for F5 to F9 exams with effect from September 2016.

Current
paper format
F5
F7
F9

Future CBE and


paper format

20 x 2 mark MCQ
3 x 10 mark CR**
2 x 15 mark CR**

15 x 2 mark OT*
3 x 10 mark OT* case
2 x 20 mark CR

F6
(UK)

15 x 2 mark MCQ
4 x 10 mark CR
2 x 15 mark CR

15 x 2 mark OT*
3 x 10 mark OT* case
1 x 10 mark CR
2 x 15 mark CR

F8

8 x 2 mark MCQ
4 x 1 mark MCQ
4 x 10 mark CR
2 x 20 mark CR

3 x 10 mark OT* case


1 x 30 mark CR
2 x 20 mark CR

* Paper exams will only use MCQ objective test items


** The current F7 CR question section has two questions of 15 marks each and one question of 30 marks

SYLLABUS CHANGES TO THE SKILLS MODULE EXAMS (F4F9)


There have been a number of changes to the syllabuses of the Skills module exams, which are detailed below.
F4, CORPORATE AND BUSINESS LAW
The main areas that have been clarified in the syllabus are shown in Table 1 below.
Table 1 Amendments to F4 (ENG)

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

B3b) Breach of contract and


remedies

The remedies available in common


law for breach of contract

B4c) The law of torts and


professional negligence

The concept of vicarious liability

C2f) Dismissal and redundancy

The operation of the rules relating to


redundancy

F1a) Company directors

Shadow directors

F1d) Company directors

The controls imposed by statute over


dealings between directors and their
companies, including loans

The areas where there have been additions to the syllabus are shown in Table 2 below.
Table 2 Additions to F4 (ENG)

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

D4c) The formation and


constitution of a company

The system of streamlined company


registration

D4d) The formation and


constitution of a company

The confirmation statement and the


register of people with significant
control

There have been no deletions from the syllabus.


F5, PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
These are the changes to the syllabus and these are summarised in Table 3 below.
Table 3 Changes to the F5 exam

Section and subject area


C1 Budgetary systems and types of
budget

Syllabus content
C1 is now combines the previous C1
and C2 and as a result the learning
outcomes have been re-ordered
Learning outcomes C1g and C1h

Section and subject area

Syllabus content
were previously C8d and C8f
C1f is a new learning outcome
focused on beyond budgeting

C2 Quantitative analysis in budgeting

Previously was C3 but no change to


content

C3 Standard costing

Previously was C4 but no change to


content

C4 Material mix and yield variances

Previously was C5 but no change to


content

C5 Sales mix and quantity variances

Previously was C6 but no change to


content

C6 Planning and operational


variances

Previously was C7 but no change to


content

C7 Performance analysis

Previously was C8 and titled


Performance analysis and
behavioural aspects. C8d and C8f
have been moved to C1 and as a
result the learning outcomes have
been reordered

F6 (UK), TAXATION
The main additions to the F6 syllabus are given in Table 4 below.
Table 4 Additions to F6 (UK)

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

B2 Income from employment

New part (j) on the circumstances in


which real time reporting late filing
penalties will be imposed on an
employer and the amount of penalty
which is charged added

B2 Income from employment

The reduced charge applicable to

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

Excluded topics

zero emission company vans

B3 Income from self-employment


Excluded topics

Knowledge of the new annual


investment allowance limit of
200,000 from 1 January 2016
The additional ISA allowance for a
surviving spouse or registered civil
partner

B4 Property and investment income


Excluded topics
Help-to-buy ISAs
B5 The comprehensive computation
of taxable income and income tax
liability Excluded topics

The higher personal allowance


available for people born before 6
April 1938.

B5 The comprehensive computation


of taxable income and income tax
liability

New part (c) on the transferable


amount of personal allowance for
spouses or civil partners added

B6 National insurance contributions


for employed and self-employed
persons Excluded topics

The exemption from employers class


1 NIC in respect of employees aged
under 21
The anti-avoidance annual allowance
limit of 10,000 for pension
contributions

B7 The use of exemptions and reliefs


in deferring and minimising income
tax liabilities Excluded topics

E4 The comprehensive computation


of corporation tax liability Excluded
topics

F2 The computation of VAT liabilities

The transitional rules affecting the annual


allowance for pension contributions for the
tax year 201516

The tax rates applicable to periods


prior to financial year 2015
Marginal relief

New part (a) on the calculation of the


amount of VAT payable/recoverable
added for clarity

The main areas that have been deleted from the syllabus are shown in Table 5 below.

Table 5 Deletions from F6 (UK)

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

B2 Income from employment

The exemption where an employer


pays for medical treatment removed
from excluded topics as now
examinable.

E4 The comprehensive computation


of corporation tax liability

The implications of receiving franked


investment income removed from the
syllabus

E5 The effect of a group corporate


structure for corporation tax purposes

The definition of an associated


company and the effect of having
associated companies for corporation
tax purposes removed from the
syllabus

The main areas that have been amended the syllabus are shown in Table 6 below.
Table 6 Amendments to F6 (UK)

Section and subject area

B4 Property and investment income

Syllabus content
'Individual savings account (ISA)'
substituted for 'New individual savings
account (NISA)' in part (g)

F7, FINANCIAL REPORTING


Note of significant changes to F7 study guide
The main areas to be added or deleted from the syllabus from that date are shown in Table 7 and 8 below.
Table 7 Additions to F7

Table 8 Deletions to F7

A3a)

Distinguish between the primary aims of


not-for profit and public sector entities and
those of profit oriented entities

A3b)

Discuss the extent to which International


Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) are
relevant to specialised, not-for-profit and
public sector entities

This learning outcome


is now incorporated in
section C4 of the F7
syllabus

F8, AUDIT AND ASSURANCE


The main areas that have been changed in the syllabus are shown in the Table 9 below.
Table 9 Amendments to F8

Section and subject area

New A3d) New outcome covering


evaluation of corporate governance
practices and recommendations for
improvements

A6b) and A6c) Outcomes regarding


outsourcing have been combined

B1a) Outcome extended to


specifically refer to continuance
decisions

New B1e) New outcome covering


quality control procedures as ISA
220, Quality Control for an Audit of
Financial Statements will now be an
examinable document for F8

Syllabus content
A3d) Evaluate corporate governance
deficiencies and provide
recommendations to allow
compliance with international codes
of corporate governance (2)

A6b) Explain outsourcing and the


associated advantages and
disadvantages of outsourcing the
internal audit function (1)

B1a) Discuss the requirements of


professional ethics and ISAs in
relation to the
acceptance/continuance of audit
engagements (2)

B1e) Explain the quality control


procedures that should be in place
over engagement performance,
monitoring quality and compliance
with ethical requirements (2)

D1. Financial statement assertions


and audit evidence

D1a) amended to reflect the new


assertions as per ISA 315 (Revised)
as detailed in IAASBs Addressing
Disclosures in the Audit of Financial
Statements Revised ISAs and
Related Conforming amendments

a) Explain the assertions contained in


the financial statements about: (2)
(i) Classes of transactions and events
and related disclosures
(ii) Account balances and related
disclosures at the period end

Section and subject area

E4a) Outcome amended to refer to


overall review to ensure sufficient
appropriate evidence
E5a) Outcome amended to better
reflect the new requirements of ISA
700, Forming and Opinion and
Reporting on Financial
Statements and ISA
701, Communicating Key Audit
Matters in the Independent Auditors
Report

Syllabus content
E4a) Discuss the importance of the
overall review in ensuring that
sufficient, appropriate evidence has
been obtained (2)

E5a) Identify and describe the basic


elements contained in the
independent auditors report (1)

F9, FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT


There have been no syllabus changes planned to F9 from September 2016.

ACCA PROFESSIONAL LEVEL


There have been few changes planned at the Professional level from September 2016. The main changes have been
made to the Options exams P4, Advanced Financial Management and P5, Advanced Performance Management.
The planned changes from September 2016 are detailed below:
P1, GOVERNANCE, RISK AND ETHICS
There have been no changes planned to P1 from September 2016.
P2 (INT), CORPORATE REPORTING
There have been no changes planned to P2 (INT) from September 2016, other than some changes to update the list
of examinable documents.
P3, BUSINESS ANALYSIS
There have been no changes planned to P3 from September 2016.
P4, ADVANCED FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
There are changes to the syllabus to reflect the latest business and educational developments affecting this exam.
These are summarised in Table 10 below.
Table 10 Amendments/additions/deletions to P4

Section and subject area


A role of the senior financial adviser
in the multinational organisation

Syllabus content
This syllabus area contains outcomes
from the role and responsibility
towards stakeholders, economic
environment for multinationals and

Section and subject area

Syllabus content
emerging issues sections of the
previous syllabus.
Some outcomes from these old
section have been deleted whilst
other have been amended or
simplified.
A2h) on behavioural finance is a new
syllabus outcome
A3g) is an amended outcome relating
to environmental issues and
sustainability.
Most of the conflicting stakeholder
interests learning outcomes have
been removed, only the new A3c)
remains.
A4f) and A4g) are amended
outcomes and have altered the scope
of the outcome relating to
international financial institutions.
Section A6 was also previously part
of the treasury and risk management
section.
EVA has been removed from the
syllabus and is no longer examinable
in P4.

B1avi)

New outcome added to test duration


in terms of project appraisal in
addition to debt finance.

B1b

Outcomes relating to the design and


distribution underlying a simulation
model have been removed.

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

C1f)

New outcome added to evaluate the


use of reverse takeovers.

C2 Valuation for acquisition and


mergers

Outcomes in this section have been


simplified by the removal of
references to types 1, 2 and 3. C2c)
and C2d) are amended outcomes
from the previous syllabus

Financial reconstruction

The third outcome under this heading


has been removed as it duplicated
other outcomes.

Emerging issues

This syllabus area no longer exists


separately and instead the learning
outcomes have been moved to the
relevant syllabus area. These
outcomes are now A4d), A4e) and
B3b).

There are other minor wording changes which have been made to several outcomes.
These outcomes are A2a), A4e), B3b), D1a), E3a iv).
P5, ADVANCED PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
Changes to the P5 syllabus are detailed below in Table 11.
Table 11 Changes to the P5 syllabus effective from September 2016

Section and subject area


A Strategic planning and control

Syllabus content
There are still 5 subject areas,
however these have been reordered.
A1b has been changed to Discuss
the role of performance
measurement
A1d has been deleted and the
subsequent learning outcomes
reordered
A1e now includes the models from

Section and subject area

Syllabus content
E2a
A1g was formerly F2a
A2 was formerly D1
D1b, c, e and f have been deleted
and the remainder reordered under
A2
A3 was formerly A2
A3b is now focused on the use of
variance analysis in performance
measurement
The former A2c has been deleted
A4 was formerly A3
There have been some deletions,
additions and reordering
A4b was A4a from the previous
syllabus
A4f was A4e from the previous
syllabus
A4e was F2c
A4g was C1e
The former A3c and A3e have been
deleted
The former A4b and A4c have been
deleted
A5a has been rephrased
A5b has been rephrased

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

A5c has been replaced with the


former F1b and input/output analysis
has been deleted
Subject area B1 has been renamed
B1a has been deleted and
subsequent learning outcomes have
been reordered
Subject area B2 has been renamed
B External influences on
organisational performance

B2aiii has been deleted


B2b has been deleted
C1e has moved to A4g
C1g has been deleted
C2c has been replaced with a new
learning outcome
C3c was formerly A4d and the
previous C3c is now C3d

C Performance measurement
systems and design

C4b is a new learning outcome


focused on how data can be used to
misrepresent performance
C4c was formerly F2d

D Strategic performance
measurement

D1 has moved to A2 and the subject


areas have been consequently
reordered
The former D2b and D2f have been
deleted
D1bi has been added and the

Section and subject area

Syllabus content
subsequent list of performance
measures renumbered
D1e was formerly D2g and has been
rephrased
D3 was formerly D4
The former D4b and D4c have been
deleted
D3c was formerly F1c
D3d has been amended slightly to
include eg the use of targets
The former D5b and D5c have been
deleted
D5 was formerly D6
The former D6b and D6d have been
deleted
D5b has been amended to include
reference to the costs of quality
D6 is now the previous D7 and D8
combined
D6a and D6b are new learning
outcomes which link together a
number of the former learning
outcomes
D7 was formerly D9
The former D9b has been deleted
D7b has been added

E Performance evaluation

E1d has been deleted

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

E2a has been moved to A1e


and corporate failure

E3 has been reordered


Former syllabus area (F)
F1a, F1d, F2b have been deleted
F1b has been moved to A5c
F1c has been moved to D3c
F2a has been moved to A1g
F2c has been moved to A4e
F2d has been moved to C4c

P6 (UK), ADVANCED TAXATION


The main areas that have been changed or added to the syllabus are shown in Table 12 below.
Table 12 Additions to P6 (UK)

Section and subject area


A1f) The comprehensive
computation of taxable income and
the income tax liability Excluded
topics
A1g) The use of exemptions
and reliefs in deferring and
minimising income tax liabilities
Excluded topics

Amendment

The 10,000 anti-avoidance annual


allowance applicable to taxpayers
accessing their pension flexibly

The transfer of pension benefits on


death

A2b) The scope of the taxation


of capital gains

New part (vi) on the UK taxation of


gains on the sale of UK residential
property owned by non-residents
added

A4c) Taxable total profits

The disposal of residential property

Section and subject area

Amendment
by a company
Tax avoidance involving carry forward
losses

Excluded topics

Diverted profits tax

A5a) The scope of stamp taxes


Excluded topics

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax


(LBTT)

A6 Value added tax


Excluded topics

Special place of supply rules for


business to consumer supplies of
telecommunications, broadcasting
and e-services

A6 (b) Tax administration and


the UK tax system

New part (i) on the increased


penalties which apply in relation to
offshore matters added

P7 (INT), ADVANCED AUDIT AND ASSURANCE


The changes are introduced to the P7 (INT) syllabus to reflect the latest business and educational developments
affecting this exam. These are summarised in Table 13 below.
Table 13 Changes to the P7 (INT) exam effective from September 2017

Section and subject area

Syllabus content

D1h) Amended to clarify the need for


additional information to obtain an
understanding of the entity

h) Identify additional information that


may be required to assist the auditor
in obtaining an understanding of the
entity (2)

D2b) New learning outcome


specifically relating to additional
information required for planning

b) Identify additional information that


may be required to effectively carry
out a planned assignment (2)

e) Discuss the courses of action


available to an auditor if a material
D3e) Amended terminology to comply inconsistency or material
misstatement exists in relation to
with changes to ISA 720 The
other information such as contained in
Auditors Responsibilities Relating to
Other Information
the integrated report (2)

Section and subject area

F1a) New learning outcome to


introduce the new requirements of
reporting standards
ISA 700 and ISA 701

G1 Amendment to heading to
focus on developments

Syllabus content
a) Determine the form and content of
an unmodified audit report and
assess the appropriateness of the
contents of an unmodified audit report
(3)
1. Professional and ethical
developments

CHANGES TO THE FOUNDATIONS LEVEL AND


CAT SYLLABUSES
There are very few changes to the Foundations level or CAT syllabuses except for FTX,Foundations in Taxation.
For specific information about any changes to these syllabuses, please access the relevant syllabus and study guide
from the student resources on the ACCA website.
Last updated: 10 Mar 2016

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