Urgent help which option papers to take

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Urgent help which option papers to take

Postby danielmarkan@googlemail.com » Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:24 am

I have got to the stage in my ACCA studies where I need to choose 2 of the professional level option papers. I am currently working in a general management accounts assistant role for a local college and deal with monthly management accounts tasks and nominal functions.

I have a number of issues with the papers on offer to choose from and cant decide which of the two papers to choose from.

P4 Adavnced Financial Management would be a tough option as I only got 51% in F9 and struggled with some of the theory within the module. It was the balance of theory and computations that made tough for me

P5 Advanced Performance Management would be interesting because I am in a Management Accounts type role but I didnt do F5 as I did the old ACCA subject Information Technology. So it would require me to review the who F5 syllabus and get familar with it before I could do P5

P6 Adavanced Taxation - I did the F6 module nearly four years ago and have very vagure memory of some of the tax computations and got about 57%. To take the tax option I would have to become familar with the latest Finance Act as I dont have any tax experience

P7 Advanced Audit - I worked in a Audit support role over 5 years but it was a very junior role and didnt cover any Financial Reporting audit tasks. I do work with auditors for 2 weeks a year when they come in to do the External audit I got 64% in the F8 paper and found it challenging but enjoyable. I have read the examiners article on the ACCA website and she suggests you need to be working a audit role to stand any chance of passing this paper which would make it a tough option to take

So i have a number of issues to consider which make all of the option and really need some advise

Thanks
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Re: Urgent help which option papers to take

Postby LadyK » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:01 am

Hi there Daniel,

The main advice that I think that I can give you would be to pick those that you feel that you would benefit most from, as well as those which you think would assist you in wherever you want your career to take you.

This may seem blindingly obvious, but for me it really was as simple as that! I appreciate this isn't always the case for everyone, and so the following are my observations on various papers.

P7:
For instance, I used to work in audit many years ago, and realised this was not the route I wanted to take, which ruled out P7 for me. I'm really not a fan of audit, although I do see on some other forums that some studiers - particularly those who self-study - do choose P7 as a way of simply completing the qualification.

My reasoning for this is that many people (in my opinion) used to think that P7 was one of the easier options (this may not necessarily be the case given the latest pass rates for this paper). I can't back this up having not taken P7, but many self-studiers out there have not or do not work in an audit environment, yet still take this as an option and be successful in passing the paper.

My college friends have told me that P7 is very much F8 in a bit more depth, more opinions and obviously more emphasis on corporate governance and ethics. So I guess if you enjoyed F8, P7 would be a good choice. My personal opinion is that P7 is geared towards those working in audit in practice (where you clearly need an understanding of the audit tests, procedures and audit opinions formed etc) but isn't as relevant to someone working in industry where you only see the audit process once a year. Some may not agree with this.

P5:
I have very much a financial accounting bias, therefore P5 was not an option for me either. I don't enjoy the management accounts side of things, however I do appreciate that this area would be more relevant to many in their day-to-day working lives. Again, if F5 was good for you, perhaps P5 as an extension to the F5 knowledge would be more suitable - and more relevant to what you are currently doing work-wise.

I don't know if you are studying with, say, Kaplan or BPP - I studied with Kaplan and I was told that the Complete Texts were meant to include all of the underpinning F5 knowledge that is assumed by the examiner in the "expandable" parts of the text, so that you can refer back to it if you needed to. I would check with your study provider (if you have one) as to whether they have such information, or indeed would be able to advise how best to familiarise yourself with the F5 knowledge.

P4:
So that left me with P4 and P6! I personally wanted to take P4 as one of my options! Crazy? Yes, perhaps, but I really enjoyed F9, and I have an interest in the subject. I have never worked in a financial management role - nor do I have any intention in the near future of doing so - but again, it was the interest.

So, no practical relevance there, but I didn't see why that should mean that I should have to do a paper that I don't enjoy! I think that i enjoy the subject matter, I find that I can immerse myself in it and retain the information much more effectively. Many people are put off by this paper (understandably!!!!) and I won't lie to you, it IS tough, so if you feel the balance of the paper was tough, perhaps this one isn't the right choice.

P6:
P6 was obviously my other choice. Again, I have never worked in a tax-related role so like you I have no tax experience, but I would like to get into this area in the future. I enjoyed F6 (one of my better marks), and really enjoyed learning P6 as well.

You would need to learn the new Finance Act that is being examined in the next couple of sessions, but if it's any help, I did my F6 exam June '09 and P6 December '10 - although the exams were closer than yours, I did find that the computations etc came back to me!

For me, even if there was no chance of me working in tax in the future, it gives a lot more knowledge, since tax is an area that everyone will be affected by, regardless of whether they work in accountancy or not! Very useful knowledge in my opinion!


Anyway, apologies for rambling on - I just wanted you to see how the whole options decision was thought through by someone else - and other people will have very different viewpoints, decisions and opinions I am sure! But ultimately, I hope all of this will give you a better idea as to what you want to take.

I do hope this helps you! In any case, I wish you the very best of luck with your final studies.

LadyK.
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Re: Urgent help which option papers to take

Postby yvonnetobealone » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:51 pm

Hi Daniel,

You're in the same boat I was with these option papers! I also took the old 2.1 Info Tech paper and got a rubbish score on F9 (52%), I also passed F8 at only 53 so it was a bit of a question mark at to which options to then go on and take. I have never worked in Audit and being in a small company, have had no connection to Audit at all the last 7 years. However, even though it is clear that P7 is not 'easy' judging by the pass mark, it is as LadyK states, just an extension of the F8 syllabus but in a bit more depth. If you review the last 3 to 4 exams and compare to F8 I think you'd find it ok. As long as you expand on your answers and don't just put 'This is a financial statement risk' but also put why etc then there should be no probs, if you read the examiners report the same reasons for failure of this paper occur at every sitting.

As for the other option I am going with P5 as it seems the better one to 'pick' up on the old knowlegde required. My F6 was also passed in June 06 so again I can't imagine getting through the syllabus as easily, as apparently it is huge! At least P5 has crossover with P3 and the kind of topics that appear in F5 are not too off the beaten track from some stuff I've done, even if they're not my favourite!

In any event, good luck with what ever you choose to do...P5 is my last paper so let's hope we've made/make the right choice(s).

Yvonne :0)
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Re: Urgent help which option papers to take

Postby Starfish » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:47 pm


At least P5 has crossover with P3

Yvonne :0)


Isn't this being removed for the June exam?
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Re: Urgent help which option papers to take

Postby yvonnetobealone » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:27 am

Well judging by the examiner's articles, some elements of P5 are moving into P3 but will still have relevance in P5 and some elements of P3 will still be in P5, for example, Six Sigma with 2 major additions/updates to syllabus: Human Resource Management and Quality Management, so I think I'll just find it helpful that there should be some areas I am already either familiar with or already know (there's always hope!) :0)
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Re: Urgent help which option papers to take

Postby danielmarkan@googlemail.com » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:17 pm

Hi

Thanks for all the advise. I spent a lot of time thinking over which options to do and went through the ACCA website and the option paper syllabus in depth to see where I should go. I also decided to email a Kaplan tutor because I wanted to know from someone who teaches P7 whether it would be a good choice for me. She basicly said that because I got a reasonable mark in F8 and had some experience of dealing with auditors in my role it would help me in this paper. So after finding my old F8 notes in the loft I went through and tried to recap some of the basic points I decided to select P7 as my first option. I know its a bit of gamble particularly as from reading some recent examiner articles the style of the paper will be changing in June 11 to having the questions within the scenario as requestes from your audit manager. I was also concerned about the low pass rate in December 10 for this paper which would make me believe it was a tricky paper.

However none of the option papers are nice in my opinion and I did so badly at F9, it was only a choice of 3. So I will do P7 in June 11 and hopefully P5 in Dec 11 depending on how I get on.I felt P5 was a interesting paper and had some links to P3 which I enjoyed. I have managed to get some old F5 study books off Ebay to go through in the summer before I start P5 in September to give me a head start. As I understand from P5 you need to know F5 well

If anyone is interested in being a study budy for P7 please let me know as it would be really helpful to bounce ideas off.

Thanks
Daniel
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Re: Urgent help which option papers to take

Postby LadyK » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:39 pm

Hi Daniel,

I'm really glad you've been able to come to a conclusion about the options you want to take - for me it was quite s straightforward choice, but I completely get that for others it's not so simple! Also, it's good that you were able to speak with someone teaching the subject to get an overview of what it will entail given your past experiences.

All in all, best of luck with your future studies!!!

Regards.

Karen.
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