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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. Though SBR syllabus has no significant change from P2, exam requirements are different so your study and preparation should be 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.


ACCA Strategic Business Reporting pass rates are ranged between 48% and 52% in the past sessions.

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Someone would like to know whether practicing P2 past papers can help them to pass SBR exam. Sadly, the answer is no. In terms of technical knowledge, P2 past papers are probably valid but the requirements are significantly different between two exams.

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. 

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Course Highlights

  • Tuition and revision videos (50 hours)

  • Study and revision notes

  • Tutor support (reply within 24 hours)

  • Mock exam with feedback

Want to get more SBR exam tips & guidance? Check our technical articles
SBR Technical Articles
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 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 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.


One question in Section B is based on a modern business scenario and will require the application of accounting standards to those scenarios.


Another question in Section B contains any element of the syllabus but is likely to be scenario based and mainly focused on current issues, investor issues or interpretation.

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:

Do you want to join online course to pass the exam? Check Online Course details.

Why spreadsheet skill is important to you?


Firstly, ACCA starts Computer Based Strategic Professional exam (CBE). It means you need to work your exam on a spreadsheet with some commonly used formulae. 

Next, a lot of accounting jobs require good spreadsheet skills as it improves efficiency.


Are you confident of your spreadsheet skills? 

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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.

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There are 6 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

As described in exam format, you should pay attention on how the examiner sets the questions and plan your study.  Question 1 usually covers group reporting and some of financial performance reporting included. It means Area C and D is the focus. Question 4 usually covers current issues and interpreting financial statements to different stakeholders. Therefore, Area E and F is considered to study in a sequential order.

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 1.8 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 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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A lot of students ask whether they need Paper SBR textbook and some tutors said it's their own choice.

If your answer to either of question below is yes, buy the book:

  1. Are you doing self-study with some popular tutor's notes? 

  2. Do you commit to ACCA study?

Draft your study plan, buy a textbook and follow the plan strictly is the path to success.

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Exam Tips

From the past SBR exams, the pass rates are below 50% which is slightly lower than P2. It is found some students’ approach to SBR questions are no change from P2 which means they did a lot of computation but very little on narrative discussions.

ACCA SBR examiner claims the approach to SBR questions is very different from P2. Students cannot pass SBR exam by only working well in computation part.

I find examiner put a lot of comments on the following areas in the past exams –

  • Many students were able to produce consolidated financial statements but not in explanatory note;

  • Ethical questions were fairly attempted;

  • Performance on applying accounting standards and conceptual framework were generally poor;

  • Another concern is not many students are able to discuss current issues and interpretation.


Linkage’ is one of many features in SBR exam.


What I mention ‘linkage’ is the sub-requirement in the questions. For example, an accounting issue is asked in Question 3a. Then, more information is given to you for Question 3b and it asks you to extend your discussion about the accounting issues in Question 3a.


In this case, this ‘sub-requirement’ is better to be answered after the first question you answered. You are advised to plan your time before answering all the requirements in a question.


As the exam structure is disclosed, I suggest you to plan how to answer in your final preparation. Probably answering Question 1 first and then Question 2, followed by Question 3 and Question 4 is most suitable to your study buddy but it’s not for you.


You need to practice mock exam before so that you know which approach is the best to you.

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ACCA SBR Useful links:
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