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ACCA Advanced Audit & Assurance
Quick Guide to Study and Exam
ACCA AAA (Advanced Audit and Assurance) is one of option papers in Strategic Professional Module. Since September 2018, the exam structure of all papers in Strategic Professional Module have been changed. P7 is its predecessor and the syllabus hasn’t been changed a lot.
However, exam structure is changed and all questions are compulsory to answer now.
The syllabus states its aim is to analyse, evaluate and conclude on the assurance engagement and other audit and assurance issues in the context of best practice and current developments.
ACCA Advanced Audit and Assurance pass rates are ranged between 32% and 35% in the past five sessions, which is considered to be one of the lowest pass rate papers.
In examiner’s report, it highlights some areas that many students performance can be improved such as audit of component financial statements, audit of group financial statements, application of ethical principles, concept of the calculation of materiality, understanding of the proper use of audit opinions and contents of the auditor’s reports.
It is important to stress that an good understanding of the knowledge and skills in Strategic Business Reporting is important to pass AAA exam. If you are familiar with SBR knowledge, you are an advantage to take AAA exam.
All questions are compulsory. The 3 hours and 15 minutes exam will assess professional competences within the business reporting environment.
Section A comprises a Case Study, worth 50 marks, testing planning stage of the audit, for single company or group of companies or potentially several audit clients. Four professional marks will be available in Section A and will be awarded based on the level of professionalism with which a candidate’s answer is presented, including the structure and clarity of the answer provided.
Section B contains two compulsory 25-mark questions, with each being predominately based around a short scenario which may relate to more than one client.
One questions will always come from syllabus section E, Completion, Review and Reporting. Though there are a number of formats in this question could adopt, you can find them in past papers and get well prepare of it.
Another question in Section B can be drawn from any other syllabus section, including A, B, C, D and F.
ACCA will roll out Strategic Professional CBE in selected countries from March 2020, here is the link you can find Strategic Professional CBE Specimen exams:
The Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA) exam builds upon the skills and knowledge examined in the Audit and Assurance (AA). At this stage candidates will be expected to demonstrate an integrated knowledge of the subject.
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.
It then covers the audit of financial statements, including planning and evidence gathering. It then covers the completion, evidence evaluation and review and reporting on an audit of historical financial information. The next section moves onto other assignments including prospective financial information, due diligence and forensic audit as well as the reporting of these assignments.
Last but not the least, the syllabus covers current issues and developments relating to the provision of audit-related and assurance services.
There are 7 sections in the syllabus, which are –
A Regulatory environment
Recognise the legal and regulatory environment and its impact on audit and assurance practice
B Professional and ethical considerations
Demonstrate the ability to work effectively on an assurance or other service engagement within a professional and ethical framework
C Practice management
Assess and recommend appropriate quality control policies and procedures in practice management and recognize the auditor's position in relation to the acceptance and retention of professional appointments
D Planning and conducting audit of historical financial information
Identify and formulate the work required to meet the objectives of audit assignments and apply the International Standards of Auditing
E Completion and reporting
Evaluate findings and the results of work performed and draft suitable reports on assignments
F Other assignments
Identify and formulate the work required to meet the objectives of non-audit assignments
G Current issues and development
Understand the current issues and developments relating to the provision of audit-related and assurance services
It is a section sharing with you on ACCA Advanced Audit & Assurance (AAA, was P7) technical articles to help you understanding of complex concepts in simple way. In addition, you can find exam tips in our examiner review report on ACCA exam.
With 195 minutes available in AAA exam, I still recommend you to use the “Golden Rule” in time management for each question, that is 1 mark per 1.8 minute. And why?
In Strategic Professional exam, you need to spend time in scanning the questions to get feel for them. In addition, you need to plan how to put your points in each question.
Other than “Golden Rule”, the risk in AAA exam is many students too much time on Section A which consists of 50 marks but insufficient time on two 25-mark questions in Section B.
You should practice ACCA AAA past exam on how to write valid points with details required before exam. It is very critical to pass AAA with adequate practice on how to make your answers meet examiner’s requirements.
A lot of students ask whether they need Paper AAA textbook and some tutors said it's their own choice.
If your answer to either of question below is yes, buy the book:
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Draft your study plan, buy a textbook and follow the plan strictly is the path to success.
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I always consider AAA is the most challenging paper in ACCA professional exam. The knowledge demanded is from Audit & Assurance (AA) to Strategic Business Reporting (SBR).
The majority of marks derive from the application and understanding of that knowledge rather than the knowledge itself.
In other words, you are required to answer the questions by addressing the scenario presented to pass.
To better prepare for the exam, you are not only studying text books and past exams but also need to read through a series of technical and exam articles on ACCA website.
Examiner highlights the most common weaknesses in AAA which should be studied well by future candidates taking this exam –
Lack of basic double entry skills, such as confusing assets and liabilities or assuming that if assets are overstated profit must be understated;
Lack of underlying knowledge of financial reporting;
Unable to make an appropriate materially judgement;
Failure to understand the impact of issues on the auditor’s report.
As the exam structure is disclosed, Section A is about audit engagement planning and one of questions in Section B is on Completion of Audit. You can read through past papers on these questions and understand what are commonly required. You can then practice mock exam before so that you know which approach is the best to you.