ACA Business Reporting Syllabus
The ACA Business Reporting syllabus is one of the Advanced Stage modules which are designed to provide candidates with the ability to apply what they have learnt throughout the lower ACA modules in a variety of business environments. This involves them integrating their technical, professional and ethical skills to each aspect of the accountant’s role.
The Business Reporting, Advanced Stage module, is structured to develop candidate’s analysis techniques, technical knowledge and professional skills to the point where they can confidently resolve real-life compliance issues experienced by businesses. Candidates will be able to demonstrate their ability to act as a preparer of financial statements, sustainability or corporate responsibility reports, as well as in an assurance capacity where there are corporate reporting implications.
The syllabus areas covered in the Business Reporting module and their weighting are listed below:
Ethics and law
Audit and assurance
The business reporting syllabus is described in terms of various business scenarios and learning outcomes.
The business scenarios outlined below relate to past or current events within a business and provide a view of the possible context in which the candidate’s technical knowledge and ethical awareness will be assessed. Business scenarios will be presented in individual, group and international contexts.
1. Business and ethical issues including situations of business risk in the process of stakeholder communication
2. Business and ethical issues in the process of tax compliance work including situations with corporate reporting implications
3. Current taxation and corporate reporting issues for businesses
4. Undertaking controls and systems process assurance projects – including review and testing of controls and reporting to management
5. Assessment of controls including IT and E-commerce controls
6. Breaches of laws and regulations that may require forensic accounting and investigation projects to assess risk and provide management with information to decide upon appropriate actions
7. Issues of earnings management, creative accounting and aggressive earnings management
8. Businesses undertaking major projects and/or organisational or process transformation
9. Issues arising from raising finance, including issues of compilation of financial information, production of prospective financial information and implications for corporate reporting
10. Issues arising from corporate transformations and group reorganisations
11. Issues arising from International corporate expansion including situations with taxation and corporate reporting implications
12. Issues arising from use of complex financial instruments in business finance and risk management
Integrated learning outcomes
Upon completing the syllabus candidates will have reached the level where they can competently:
1. identify and explain ethical issues and recommend appropriate actions to solve ethical dilemmas in a given business scenario
2. report objectively in a complex environment of business opportunities and threats within the legal, regulatory and compliance environment when:
- preparing and presenting corporate reports - including preparing and presenting financial statements, other information included in reports and interim financial reporting
- presenting corporate governance reports in accordance with the revised combined code
- presenting corporate responsibility, environment, sustainability and social reports
3. evaluate and apply appropriate corporate reporting treatments to given scenarios
4. evaluate and apply appropriate corporate reporting treatments, including corporate governance reports and sustainability and/or corporate responsibility reports
5. evaluate and apply auditing, assurance and related services standards in complex scenarios
6. analyse and evaluate business risks and their implications for corporate reporting and audit opinions
7. analyse and evaluate financial risks (Including financing, currency and interest rate risks) and their implications for corporate reporting and audit opinions
8. analyse, evaluate and calculate the tax consequences of given scenarios, including circumstances where overseas taxes affect national taxes
9. analyse, evaluate and assist entities in the adherence to regulations surrounding taxation
10. recognise opportunities to use alternative tax treatments arising from past events and transactions
11. analyse and evaluate controls, including IT and E-commerce controls
12. analyse and evaluate appropriate management actions where laws and regulations have been breached
13. recognise the implications for auditors of engagements in connection with investment circulars
14. evaluate and apply appropriate laws and regulations in situations of insolvency, administration, liquidation and bankruptcy
15. evaluate and advise on appropriate corporate governance mechanisms
16. recognise money laundering transactions and related offences and the reporting
responsibilities for accountants and auditors (Including proceeds of Crime Act)
17. analyse and evaluate controls over financial reporting (including in the context of COSA and S404(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act)
18. analyse and evaluate strengths and weaknesses of corporate governance mechanisms and processes
19. explain and communicate current issues in corporate reporting and assurance
20. undertake appropriate financial analysis to:
- develop an understanding of a business from financial and operational data and information, provided in draft or published format.
- assess the quality of such information, by reference to its truth, fairness, credibility and plausibility as a basis for a meaningful analysis of a business’s current position, future prospects and risks.
- apply suitable financial analysis techniques to analyse financial and operational data to bring out and explain a business’s position, prospects and risks.
- review the output of such analysis to identify key sensitivities and risks.
- communicate the results of such analysis, including any reservations regarding transparency and objectivity of data and information.
ACA Business Reporting Exam, Advance Stage, Past Question
A past exam question has been provided to give a brief insight into the standard of assessment normally found in an advance stage business reporting examination.
The Accounting Standards Board (ASB) has welcomed the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) project to revisit its conceptual framework for financial accounting and reporting. The goals of the project are to build on the existing frameworks and blend them into a common framework. The Accounting Standards Board is monitoring and contributing to the work of the IASB in an attempt to produce a common universally accepted framework for financial accounting and reporting.
a) Discuss why there is a need to develop an agreed universally accepted conceptual framework and the extent to which a conceptual framework can be used to resolve practical accounting issues.
b) Discuss the key issues which will need to be addressed in determining the basic components of a common universally accepted conceptual framework.
Appropriateness and quality of the above discussion
The first time pass rate for the Business Reporting advance module is 82.4%.