ACCA MA (Management Accounting)
Notes, Practice, Mock Exam & Guides
ACCA MA (Management Accounting, was F2) or Foundation in Accountancy (FMA) is one of papers in Applied Knowledge Module. The syllabus states its aim is to introduce knowledge and understanding of:
Nature, source and purpose of cost accounting;
Applying cost accounting techniques;
Preparing budgets for planning and control;
Comparing actual costs with standard costs and analyse any variances;
Performance measurements and monitor business performance.
ACCA Management Accounting pass rates are generally good and stable which ranged from 64% to 67% in the past five sessions.
Even though there is a minor change in ACCA MA syllabus between 2019 and 2020, past paper questions seen in last year are still very good in preparing the exam.
In examiner’s report, it highlights some areas that many students performance can be improved such as calculation of abnormal gain, interpretation of ratios, net present value calculations and standard cost variances calculation.
It is found that students are better performed in narrative questions rather than numeric questions.
Even we note there is about half of the questions in exam is narrative, you need to fully understand all topics including both concepts and calculations in order to ensure you pass it.
All questions are compulsory. The 2-hour computer-based exam will assess all parts of the syllabus and will test knowledge and some comprehensive or application of this knowledge.
Section A includes 35 two-mark objective test questions covering all areas in the syllabus.
Section B comprises 3 ten-mark multi-task questions and each of which will Budgeting, Standard costing and Performance measurement sections of the syllabus.
In other words, Section A contributes 70% of total marks while Section B shares another 30%.
ACCA MA (was F2) is one of the fundamental papers to begin with your ACCA professional qualification journey.
Its syllabus introduces to management accounting techniques to support management in planning, controlling and monitoring performance in a variety of business contexts.
ACCA MA is the fundamental to ACCA PM (Performance Management, was F5) especially on budgeting, costing techniques and performance measurement methodologies. An edge to ACCA PM if you master these techniques in ACCA MA.
In addition, the capital budgeting concepts, such as discount cash flow analysis, internal rate of return, net present value and payback period, are critical in your study on ACCA FM (Financial Management, was F9).
There are 5 sections in the syllabus, which are –
In the exam, you will see questions from every section in the summary above. There is no one area you can ignore as all of them will be in your exam. Perhaps you find the topics above are separated, however, they are linked together in real business world as well as the syllabus design.
Section A introduces the general ideas and purposes of management accounting. You have to know why do we need management accounting and what’re the differences between financial accounting and management accounting. In addition, your skills on presenting information in different types of charts are needed.
Section A is the base for all the areas covered in other sections.
Section B explains statistical techniques used to analyse data.
Section C is cost accounting techniques while marginal costing and absorption costing are shared. These cost accounting techniques are the core in budgeting, standard costing and performance measurement.
The syllabus also share with you on the management accounting operation cycle.
First of all, you need to set up a budget (Section D) while different types of budget introduced.
Next, you would like to focus on finding out why and actual and standard costs are different. It is covered in Section E.
Last but not the least, you need to measure the business performance and understand what kind of tools to apply in your performance measurement. It is the purpose of Section F.
The general principle in ACCA Management Accounting Paper exam is 1 mark per 1.2 minute which means you have 100 marks to complete an exam within 120 minutes.
But you should be careful that the time spent on the case-based questions in Part B of the exam. It is probably more than what you need to work on objective test questions.
It is wise for you to practice mock exam to train your time management skills before you need to attempt the paper.
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ACCA Management Accounting paper pass rate is the lowest among all Applied Knowledge module papers (which are AB, MA and FA). It is generally less than 70% of students passing the exam.
The difficult part to students are numeric questions. As shared, it is about half of total marks in calculations and another half is conceptual questions.
The exam tries to simulate the real world management accounting operation. So, it designs to tell you the purpose of management accounting and introduction of cost accounting techniques before going into budgeting, standard costing and performance measurement.
You need to study the whole syllabus, but pay special attention of the advices below.
Section A contains 35 2-mark objective test questions. It covers all areas in the syllabus.
However, as mentioned before, more marks are found in Costing Techniques (Part B) and Budgeting (Part C) from Specimen paper.
Latest Examiner’s Report discusses three examples. Usually, these examples are important as many students cannot do them well but the knowledge is considered to be core in the syllabus.
The examples shared by Examiner are:
Calculation of abnormal gain
Financial performance (profitability, liquidity, activity and gearing)
High low analysis
Among these examples, Examiner highlights financial performance question is the one students need to pay more attention.
Lowest Pass Rate Subjects
Calculation of abnormal gain
Interpretation of financial ratios
High low analysis
NPV, IRR and payback calculation
Standard cost and variances calculation
Residual income and return on capital employed calculation
Section B contains 3 MTQs from 3 areas in the syllabus which are areas C Budgeting, D Standard Costing and E Performance Measurement.
A general problem found is a number of students is difficult with questions presented in spreadsheet format.
Regarding to each area, the following summarize the issue:
Budgeting – An inability to calculate payback, NPV and IRR;
Standard Costing – An inability to calculate standard cost variances, difficulty in reconciling actual and budgeted figures via standard costing variances;
Performance Measurement – An inability to calculate residual income and ROCE.
Remember: Practice makes perfect!
Number entry questions can be improved by practicing as many questions as possible in different formats.
It really helps your performance and chance to pass!
In addition, remember to attempt all questions as there are no negative marks for incorrect answers.
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