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Professional Level

The Professional level is divided into two modules; Essentials and Options. Both of the modules at Professional level have been set at the same ability level as a Masters degree.

This level builds on the technical knowledge you will already have. It will also explore more advanced professional skills, techniques and values. These are required at a senior level by accountants working in an advisory or consultancy role.
 
All students have to pass the three papers in the Essentials module. The Options module contains four papers, but you only need to complete two.

Governance, Risk and Ethics

The syllabus for Paper P1, Governance, Risk and Ethics, acts as the gateway syllabus into the professional level. It sets the other Essentials and Options papers into a wider professional, organisational, and societal context. 
 
The syllabus assumes essential technical skills and knowledge acquired at the Fundamentals level where the core technical capabilities will have been acquired, and where ethics, corporate governance, internal audit, control, and risk will have been introduced in a subject-specific context. 
 
The GRE syllabus begins by examining the whole area of governance within organisations in the broad context of the agency relationship. This aspect of the syllabus focuses on the respective roles and responsibilities of directors and officers to organisational stakeholders and of accounting and auditing as support and control functions. 
 
The syllabus then explores internal review, control, and feedback to implement and support effective governance, including compliance issues related to decision-making and decision-support functions. The syllabus also examines the whole area of identifying, assessing, and controlling risk as a key aspect of responsible management. 
 
Finally, the syllabus covers personal and professional ethics, ethical frameworks – and professional values – as applied in the context of the accountant’s duties and as a guide to appropriate professional behaviour and conduct in a variety of situations.

Corporate Reporting (International Variant)

The syllabus for Paper P2, Corporate Reporting, assumes knowledge acquired at the Fundamentals level including the core technical capabilities to prepare and analyse financial reports for single and combined entities.

 
The Paper P2 syllabus takes the subject into greater depth and contextualises the role of the accountant as a professional steward and adviser/analyst byinitially exploring the wider professional duties and responsibilities of the accountant to the stakeholders of an organisation.
 
The syllabus examines the financial reporting framework within which the accountant operates and examines detailed financial reporting requirements for entities leading to the preparation of group financial reports in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice and relevant standards.
 
The syllabus then deals with the nature of reporting for specialised entities including not-for-profit and small and medium-sized enterprises.
 
The final sections of the syllabus explore – in more depth – the role of the accountant as financial analyst and adviser through the assessment of financial performance and position of entities, and the accountant’s role in assessing and advising on the implications of accounting regulation on corporate reporting.
 
Finally, the syllabus covers the evaluation of current developments and their implications for financial reporting.

Business Analysis

The syllabus for Paper P3, Business Analysis, is primarily concerned with two issues. The first is the external forces (the behaviour of customers, the initiatives of competitors, the emergence of new laws and regulations) that shape the environment of an organisation. The second is the internal ambitions and concerns (desire for growth, the design of processes, the competences of employees, the financial resources) that exist within an organisation. This syllabus looks at both of these perspectives, from assessing strategic position and choice to identifying and formulating strategy and strategic action. It identifies opportunities for beneficial change that involve people, finance and information technology. It examines how these opportunities may be implemented through the appropriate management of programmes and projects.
 
The syllabus begins with the assessment of strategic position in the present and in the future using relevant forecasting techniques, and is primarily concerned with the impact of the external environment on the business, its internal capabilities and expectations and how the organisation positions itself under these constraints. It examines how factors such as culture, leadership and stakeholder expectations shape organisational purpose. Strategic choice is concerned with decisions which have to be made about an organisation’s future and the way in which it can respond to the influences and pressures identified in the assessment of its current and future strategic position.
 
Strategic action concerns the implementation of strategic choices and the transformation of these choices into organisational action. Such action takes place in day-to-day processes and organisational relationships and these processes and relationships need to be managed in line with the intended strategy, involving the effective coordination of information technology, people, finance and other business resources.
 
Companies that undertake successful business process redesign claim significant organisational improvements. This simply reflects the fact that many existing processes are less efficient than they could be and that new technology makes it possible to design more efficient processes. Strategic planning and strategy implementation has to be subject to financial benchmarks. Financial analysis explicitly recognises this, reminding candidates of the importance of focusing on the key management accounting techniques that help to determine strategic action and the financial ratios and measures that may be used to assess the viability of a strategy and to monitor and measure its success.
 
Throughout, the syllabus recognises that successful strategic planning and implementation requires the effective recruitment, leadership, organisation and training and development of people.

Advanced Financial Management

This syllabus develops upon the core financial management knowledge and skills covered in the F9, Financial Management, syllabus at the Fundamentals level and prepares candidates to advise management and/or clients on complex strategic financial management issues facing an organisation. 
 
The syllabus starts by exploring the role and responsibility of a senior executive or advisor in meeting competing needs of stakeholders within the business environment of multinationals. The syllabus then re-examines investment and financing decisions, with the emphasis moving towards the strategic consequences of making such decisions in a domestic, as well as international, context. Candidates are then expected to develop further advisory skills in planning strategic acquisitions and mergers and corporate re-organisations. 
 
The next part of the syllabus re-examines, in the broadest sense, the existence of risks in business and the sophisticated strategies which are employed in order to manage such risks. It builds on what candidates would have covered in the F9, Financial Management, syllabus and the P1,Governance, Risk and Ethics, syllabus. The syllabus finishes by examining the impact of emerging issues in finance.

Advanced Performance Management

The Advanced Performance Management syllabus further develops key aspects introduced in Paper F5, Performance Management, at the skills level and draws on aspects of the material covered from a more strategic and operational planning perspective in Paper P3, Business Analysis. 
 
The syllabus introduces candidates to the strategic role of management accounting as a discipline for planning and controlling performance so that strategic objectives can be set, monitored and controlled. It also covers the impact of external factors on strategic management issues, such as macro economic, fiscal, market and environmental impacts on performance. From appreciating the strategic context of performance management and the impact of wider factors, the syllabus examines, at an operational level, the issues relating to performance measurement systems and their design. 
 
The syllabus then moves from performance management systems and their design to the scope and application of high-level performance measurement techniques in a variety of contexts, including not-for-profit organisations and multinational businesses. Having covered the strategic aspects of performance management and operational systems for the measurement and control of performance in a variety of contexts, candidates are then expected to synthesise this knowledge in the role of an advisor to senior management or independent clients on how to assess and control the performance of an entity, including the recognition of whether a business is facing difficulties or possibly failure. 
 
Finally, the syllabus deals with current developments in performance management and with emerging issues as they might affect or influence the management of performance within organisations.

Advanced Taxation

The Advanced Taxation syllabus further develops the key aspects of taxation introduced in the compulsory Taxation syllabus within the Skills module and extends the candidates’ knowledge of the tax system, together with their ability to apply that knowledge to the issues commonly encountered by individuals and businesses, such that successful candidates should have the ability to interpret and analyse the information provided and communicate the outcomes in a manner appropriate to the intended audience.

The syllabus builds on the basic knowledge of core taxes from the earlier taxation paper and introduces candidates to stamp duty and stamp duty land tax. As this is an optional paper, aimed at those requiring/desiring more than basic tax knowledge for their future professional lives, the syllabus also extends the knowledge of income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax to encompass, further overseas aspects of taxation, the taxation of trusts and additional exemptions and reliefs. 
 
Computations will normally only be required in support of explanations or advice and not in isolation. 
 
Candidates are not expected to concentrate on the computational aspects of taxation. Instead this paper seeks to develop candidates’ skills of analysis, interpretation and communication. Candidates are expected to be able to use established tax planning methods and consider current issues in taxation. 

Advanced Audit and Assurance

The Advanced Audit and Assurance syllabus is essentially divided into seven areas. 
The syllabus starts with the legal and regulatory environment including money laundering, and professional and ethical considerations, including the Code of Ethics and professional liability.
 
This then leads into procedures in practice management, including quality control and the acceptance and retention of professional engagements. The syllabus then covers the audit of financial statements, including planning, evidence and review. It then covers other assignments including prospective financial information, and other assurance assignments, as well as the reporting of these assignments. 
 
The final section covers current issues and developments relating to the provision of auditrelated and assurance services.

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