ACCA FM (Financial Management)
Notes, Courses, Practices & Mock Exams

ACCA FM (Financial Management, F9) is one of paper in Applied Skills Module.  They syllabus states its aim is to develop students’ knowledge and skills, relevant to investment, financing and dividend policy decisions, to qualify as a finance manager.

ACCA Financial Management, or ACCA FM, pass rates performed quite stable which ranged between 43% and 50% from the last 5 sessions.  For ACCA FM pass rates and examiner's comments, please click HERE to read.

There is no significant change in the syllabus between September 2019 to June 2020 and September 2020 to June 2021.  Past paper questions seen in last year are still very good in preparing the exam.

In examiner’s report, many students cannot pass the exam because they are lack of understanding of the whole syllabus. You should keep in mind that covering the whole syllabus is important for ACCA Financial Management.

 

In this section, we share with you on study text, online courses, past papers questions review, technical articles and mock exam to help you to pass the exam.

Course Highlights

  • Tuition and revision videos 

  • Study and revision notes

  • Tutor support 

  • Mock exam with feedback

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Exam Structure

All questions are compulsory. The exam will contain both computational and discursive elements. Some questions will adopt a scenario/case study approach.

Computer-Based Exam (CBE)

CBE time allowed is 3 hours and 20 minutes.  The extra 20 minutes provided is for additional content in the exam.  Prior to the start of exam, extra 10 minutes are given to students to read exam instructions.

Section A

Objective Test Questions

Section A of CBE includes 15 objective test questions of 2 marks each plus additional content as described below^.

Section B

Case Base Objective Test Questions

Section B of CBE comprises 3 cases and each case includes 5 objective test questions of 2 marks each plus additional content as described below^.

Section C

Constructed Response Questions

Section C of CBE comprises TWO 20-mark constructed response questions.  These TWO questions mainly come from working capital management, investment appraisal and business finance areas of the syllabus.

^ Note:  Students take CBE will be given an extra 10 marks of objective test questions (either 5 single OT questions [in Section A] or 5 questions based a single case [in Section B]), for which they are given an extra 20 minutes. 

The purpose of extra questions is to ensure fairness, reliability and security of exams.  These questions do not directly contribute towards in your score and you cannot differentiate between the questions that contribute to the result and those that do not.

Section A and Section B questions come from any area of the syllabus.

You are provided with a formulae sheet and tables of discount and annuity factors.

Syllabus

From the information provided by ACCA, some knowledge learnt from Management Accounting (MA) paper should bring forward to Financial Management, such as ratio analysis.

More important for you to know is ACCA FM is the cornerstone of ACCA AFM (Advanced Financial Management, P4).  An in-depth knowledge and understanding of investment appraisal, business valuation and risk management will be seen in AFM exam.

If you aim to pursue your career in commercial financial management, the knowledge learnt from ACCA FM and ACCA AFM are suitable.

There are 7 sections in the syllabus, which are –

A          Financial Management Function

Understand the key elements of financial management function, conflict between financial objectives and non-financial objectives, agency theory and not-for-profit organization objectives

B          Financial Management Environment

You are expected to know the economic environment impact on business, such as government policy, regulations and competition rules.  Next, nature and role of financial markets and institutions, and the nature and role of money market are another key topics.

C         Working Capital Management

The key principle in working capital management is to manage between profitability and liquidity as they are mutually conflicting with each other.  You are probably asked on funding needs and management of inventories, account receivables and account payables.

D         Investment Appraisal

The techniques for both non-discounted cash flow (DCF) and DCF model in investment appraisal are required.  In addition, understanding of net present value (NPV) calculation with different assumptions, such as inflation, taxation, risk, uncertainty and specific situations. 

E          Business Finance

Four major areas include sources of finance, estimating cost of capital, capital structure theories and financing for Small-and-Medium-sized Entities (SME).  This topic is highly linked to investment appraisal especially on cost of capital.

F          Business Valuation

Understanding of valuation for both equities and debt is required.  Methodologies covered in this topic include Price-to-Earnings Multiple, Dividend Growth Model (DGM) and Net Asset Valuation Model (NAV) for equity valuation while option premium calculation required for convertible debt.

G         Risk Management

Foreign exchange rate and interest rate management are two major areas in exam.  Understanding different risk exposures and causes of fluctuations are needed.  You are also expected to know different hedging techniques and instruments for both foreign exchange rate risk and interest rate risk.

Perhaps you find the topics above are separated, however, they are linked together in real business world as well as the syllabus design.  DCF techniques are important in investment appraisal while cost of capital is one of key parameters in the calculation of NPV.

A manufacturing or trading company working with overseas suppliers or customers, they do not only take care on their working capital items on funding needs but also foreign exchange rate risk.

Financial management objective is to optimize shareholders’ wealth while the business valuation models are the way to measure whether the wealth is optimized.

Time Management

The general principle in ACCA Applied Skills Module exam is 1 mark per 1.8 minute which means you have 100 marks to complete an exam within 180 minutes.

However, you have to know the secret behind or else, you cannot complete on time even you try to do so especially in Section A.

An article published by ACCA “Financial Management – Examiner Approach” states “Candidates are advised to allocate time to this section as a whole, rather than trying to allocate time to each individual question.”

Click to read more

You are advised to bear in mind how to allocate time wise and smart in Section A so that you can complete all objective test questions within the time limit.

More about syllabus and time management:

ACCA FM textbook.JPG

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Exam Tips

From all published data, FM pass rates are between 46% and 48% in the latest 5 attempts.

Section A is objective test questions while you have to study whole syllabus for the questions in this section.  Both narrative and numeric questions are equally important. 

My advice is focusing on the published exam papers questions and practice them as many as possible.  Try them and you can easily handle the questions in exam.

 

But please make sure you have study buddy so that a discussion of correct answers can be followed.

Published Papers

Section B highlights 3 areas –

  • Investment Appraisal

  • Business Valuation

  • Risk management

Many of you probably focus your study in investment appraisal, however, the key to success in exam is covering all areas. 

Business Valuation and Risk Management are not easy, honestly, especially Risk Management.

 

Since they are not easy, you have to spend more time to do them well.  From my experience, less than 20% of students can do right in Risk Management questions. 

Section C covers three areas -

INVESTMENT APPRAISAL

Investment appraisal in Section C is usually asking you about NPV calculation with tax and inflation assumptions behind while in Section B requires your knowledge in specific investment appraisal, risk and uncertainty and so on.

BUSINESS FINANCE

Business finance is about cost of capital estimation, capital structure theories, financial risk and business risk discussion.  Calculation is generally with good answers but many students are weak in discussing this topic.

WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

Working capital management performance varies a lot in different attempt.  My tips to you are understanding several key concepts such as profitability vs liquidity, cash operating cycle, treasury model application and management of inventories and account receivables.

If you are interested to know more about exam techniques and tips, our Examiner Report review video is very good for you to grasp just in few minutes.  Click to watch!

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