Accountant in Business
The syllabus for FAB/F1, Accountant in Business introduces students who may not have a business background, to the business, which as an entity is made up of people and systems which interact with the environment and with each other. The syllabus begins with examining the purpose and types of business which exist, the key stakeholders and the rights and responsibilities that businesses have in connection with them, exploring the external influences that affect the business in its environment, including economic, legal, social and technological factors.
The syllabus then examines the structure and functions of business, focusing on corporate governance and the specific accounting related roles in this process, particularly in financial reporting, assurance, control and compliance. The syllabus then introduces key leadership, management and people issues such as effective individual and team behaviour, motivation and personal effectiveness.
The final section of the syllabus examines how behaviour at all levels within business should be underpinned by accepted professional ethics and professional values.
The syllabus for Paper FMA/F2, Management Accounting, introduces candidates to elements of management accounting which are used to make and support decisions.
The syllabus starts by introducing the nature, the source and purpose of cost accounting and the costing techniques used in business which are essential for any management accountant.
The syllabus then looks at the preparation and use of budgeting and standard costing and variance analysis as essential tools for planning and controlling business costs. The syllabus concludes with an introduction to measuring and monitoring the performance of an organisation.
The syllabus for Paper FFA/F3, Financial Accounting, introduces the candidate to the fundamentals of the regulatory framework relating to accounts preparation and to the qualitative characteristics of useful information. The syllabus then covers drafting financial statements and the principles of accounts preparation. The syllabus
then concentrates in depth on recording, processing, and reporting business transactions and events.
The syllabus then covers the use of the trial balance and how to identify and correct errors, and then the preparation of financial statements for incorporated and unincorporated entities. The syllabus then moves in two directions, firstly requiring candidates to be able to conduct a basic interpretation of financial statements; and secondly requiring the preparation of simple consolidated financial statements from the individual financial statements of group incorporated entities.
Corporate and Business Law
Corporate and Business Law Global is divided into eight areas. The syllabus starts with an introduction to different legal systems, different types of law and those organisations which endeavour to promote internationally applicable laws. It also introduces arbitration as an alternative to court adjudication. It then leads into an examination of the substantive law as stated in United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, which relates to the formation, content and discharge of international contracts for the sale of goods. The syllabus then covers a range of specific legal areas relating to various aspects of international business of most concern to finance professionals.
These are the law relating to the financing of international transactions, and the various legal forms through which international business transactions may be conducted. Particular attention is focused on the law relating to companies. Aspects examined include the formation and constitution of companies, the financing of companies and types of capital, and the day to day management, the administration and regulation of companies and legal aspects of companies facing difficulty or in crisis.
The final section links back to all the previous areas. This section deals with corporate governance, ethics and ethical behaviour relating to business including the criminal law.
Corporate and Business Law (SA Variant)
Corporate and Business Law is divided into eight areas. The syllabus starts with an introduction to the overall South African legal system such as the court system and sources of law, including human rights legislation. It then leads into the area of the
law of obligations including contract and delict, which underpin business transactions generally.
The syllabus then covers a range of specific legal areas relating to various aspects of business of most concern to finance professionals. These are the law relating to employment and the law relating to companies and close corporations. These laws include the formation and constitution of companies and close corporations, the financing of companies and types of capital, and the day to day management, the administration and regulation of companies and legal aspects of companies facing difficulty or in crisis.
The final section links back to all the previous areas. This section deals with corporate governance, ethics and ethical behaviour relating to business including criminal law.
The syllabus for Paper F5, Performance Management, builds on the knowledge gained in Paper F2, Management Accounting. It also prepares candidates for more specialist capabilities which are covered in P5 Advanced Performance Management.
The syllabus begins by introducing more specialised management accounting topics. There is some knowledge assumed from Paper F2 – primarily overhead treatments. The objective here is to ensure candidates have a broader background in management accounting techniques.
The syllabus then considers decision-making. Candidates need to appreciate the problems surrounding scarce resource, pricing and make-or-buy decisions, and how this relates to the assessment of performance. Risk and uncertainty are a factor of real-life decisions and candidates need to understand risk and be able to apply some basic methods to help resolve the risks inherent in decision-making.
Budgeting is an important aspect of many accountants’ lives. The syllabus explores different budgeting techniques and the problems inherent in them. The behavioural aspects of budgeting are important for accountants to understand, and the syllabus includes consideration of the way individuals react to a budget. The preparation of fixed, flexible and incremental budgets is assumed knowledge from F2.
Standard costing and variances are then built on. All the variances examined in Paper F2 are assumed knowledge in F5. Mix and yield variances, and planning and operational variances are explored here and the link is made to performance management. It is important for accountants to be able to interpret the numbers that they calculate and ask what they mean in the context of performance.
The syllabus concludes with performance management systems, measurement and control. This is a major area of the syllabus. Accountants need to understand how a business should be managed and controlled and how information systems can be used to facilitate this. They should appreciate the importance of both financial and non-financial performance measures in management. Accountants should also appreciate the difficulties in assessing performance in divisionalised businesses and the problems caused by failing to consider external influences on performance. This section leads directly to Paper P5.
All of the subject areas covered in this syllabus could be examined in either a public sector or private sector context.
The syllabus for Paper F6, Taxation, introduces candidates to the subject of taxation and provides the core knowledge of the underlying principles and major technical areas of taxation as they affect the activities of individuals and businesses.
Candidates are introduced to the rationale behind – and the functions of – the tax system. The syllabus then considers the separate taxes that an accountant would need to have a detailed knowledge of, such as income tax from self-employment, employment and investments, the corporation tax liability of individual companies and groups of companies, the national insurance contribution liabilities of both employed and self employed persons, the value added tax liability of businesses, the chargeable gains arising on disposals of investments by both individuals and companies, and the inheritance tax liabilities arising on chargeable lifetime transfers and on death.
Having covered the core areas of the basic taxes, candidates should be able to compute tax liabilities, explain the basis of their calculations, apply tax planning techniques for individuals and companies and identify the compliance issues for each major tax through a variety of business and personal scenarios and situations.
Taxation (SA Variant)
This syllabus introduces candidates to the subject of taxation and provides the core knowledge of the underlying principles and major technical areas of taxation, as they affect the activities of individuals and businesses.
In this syllabus, candidates are introduced to the rationale behind and the functions of the tax system. The syllabus then considers the separate taxes that an accountant would need to have a detailed knowledge of, such as income tax relating to employment, independent trades and investments, the tax liability of companies, the value added tax liability of businesses; and chargeable capital gains arising on disposals of assets by both individuals and companies.
Having covered the core areas of the basic taxes, the candidate should be able to compute tax liabilities, explain the basis of their calculations, apply tax planning techniques for individuals and companies and identify the compliance issues for each major tax through a variety of business and personal scenarios and situations.
The financial reporting syllabus assumes knowledge acquired in Paper F3, Financial Accounting, and develops and applies this further and in greater depth.
The syllabus begins with the conceptual framework of accounting with reference to the qualitative characteristics of useful information and the fundamental bases of accounting introduced in the Paper F3 syllabus within the Knowledge module. It then moves into a detailed examination of the regulatory framework of accounting and how this informs the standard setting process. The main areas of the syllabus cover the reporting of financial information for single companies and for groups in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and relevant accounting standards.
Finally, the syllabus covers the analysis and interpretation of information from financial reports.
Audit and Assurance
The Audit and Assurance syllabus is essentially divided into seven areas. The syllabus starts with the nature, purpose and scope of assurance engagements, including the statutory audit, its regulatory environment, and introduces professional ethics relating to audit and assurance.
It then leads into internal audit, including the scope of internal audit as well as the differences between internal audit and external audit. The syllabus then covers a range of areas relating to an audit of financial statements. These include planning and risk assessment, evaluating internal controls, audit evidence, and a review of the financial statements.
The final section then deals with reporting, including statutory audit reports, management reports, and internal audit reports.
The syllabus for Paper F9, Financial Management, is designed to equip candidates with the skills that would be expected from a finance manager responsible for the finance function of a business. The paper, therefore, starts by introducing the role and purpose of the financial management function within a business. Before looking at the three key financial management decisions of investing, financing, and dividend policy, the syllabus explores the economic environment in which such decisions are made.
The next section of the syllabus is the introduction of investing decisions. This is done in two stages - investment in (and the management of) working capital and the appraisal of long-term investments.
The next area introduced is financing decisions. This section of the syllabus starts by examining the various sources of business finance, including dividend policy and how much finance can be raised from within the business. Cost of capital and other factors that influence the choice of the type of capital a business will raise then follows. The principles underlying the valuation of business and financial assets, including the impact of cost of capital on the value of business, is covered next.
The syllabus finishes with an introduction to, and examination of, risk and the main techniques employed in the management of such risk.