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ACCA Strategic Business Reporting
Quick Guide to Study and Exam

ACCA SBR (Strategic Business Reporting) is one of papers in Strategic Professional Module.  Since September 2018, the exam structure of all papers in Strategic Professional Module have been changed. 

The syllabus states its aim is to discuss, apply and evaluate the concepts, principles and practices that underpin the preparation and interpretation of corporate reports in various contexts including the ethical assessment of managements’ stewardship and the information needs of a diverse group of stakeholders.

In examiner’s report, it highlights some areas that many students performance can be improved such as conceptual framework, accounting for investment, ethical topics and current issues such as Exposure Draft.


It is important to stress that the knowledge and skills in Strategic Business Reporting are partly relevant to Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA) exam. If you are familiar with SBR knowledge, it is no an advantage to take AAA exam. 

Exam Structure

3-hour 15-minutes 


All questions are compulsory. The 3 hours and 15 minutes exam will assess professional competences within the business reporting environment.

Section A comprises two scenario based questions that will total 50 marks.


The first question will be, worth 30 marks, on group financial statements from Syllabus area D but is also likely some consideration of financial reporting issues from Syllabus area C can be found.


The second question, will be worth 20 marks, mainly asks for ethical implications and reporting implications of specific events in a given scenario.


Section B comprises two questions, which may be scenario or case-study or essay based and will contain both discursive and computational elements.


In Section B, you will deal with any aspect of the syllabus that requires the evaluation of both financial and non-financial information provided.

Here is the link you can find Strategic Professional CBE Specimen exams:


Fundamental knowledge from Financial Reporting (FR) is assumed in SBR study and exam. SBR requires the knowledge not only on corporate reporting from preparer perspective but also from the perspective of a variety of different stakeholders.

In addition, SBR requires a cohesive understanding of the IASB’s Conceptual Framework and to use the framework in applying IFRS standards in corporate reports. One important point is SBR demands both principles and practices of IFRS standards in applying corporate reporting for both groups and single entities.


SBR goes further in more depth for IFRS standards. An example shows what the difference between SBR and FR is lease accounting, that is IFRS 16. In FR, lease accounting mainly focuses on lessee accounting but in SBR, the syllabus extends to include lessor accounting.


In Financial Reporting (FR), it is no need to worry about stakeholders other than financial reports. But SBR looks further while you are expected to develop in narrative reporting such as Integrated Reporting (IR).


Finally, the syllabus addresses current developments in corporate reporting and the implications of any potential changes. As pointed out by examiner, it is the weakest part in the exam, e.g. many students do not show their study covering Exposure Draft.

ACCA SBR relational diagram.jpg

There are 7 sections in the syllabus, which are –

A          Fundamental ethical and professional principles

Apply fundamental ethical and professional principles to ethical dilemmas and discuss the consequences of unethical behaviour.

B          The financial reporting framework

Evaluate the appropriateness of the financial reporting framework and critically discuss changes in accounting regulation

C         Reporting the financial performance of a range of entries

Apply professional judgement in the reporting of the financial performance of a range of entities

D         Financial statements of groups of entities

Prepare the financial statements of groups of entities

E         Interpreting financial statements for different stakeholders

Interpret financial statements for different stakeholders

F         The impact of changes in accounting regulation

Communicate the impact of changes and potential changes in accounting regulation on financial reporting

G         Employability and technology skills

Demonstrate employability and technology skills

Time Management

With 195 minutes available in SBR exam, I still recommend you to use the “Golden Rule” in time management for each question, that is 1 mark per 1.95 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 SBR exam is many students too much time on calculations and have insufficient time on narrative parts of answers.


However, the marks allocation between computation and discursive answer is 50:50 or discursive answer shares more than computation.


You should practice ACCA SBR specimen exam on how to write valid points with details required before exam. It is very critical to pass SBR with adequate practice on how to make your answers meet examiner’s requirements.

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