ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Alternative modules

To ensure that the ACA syllabus remains relevant - meeting employer requirements, changing business models and the skills needed of staff - we are introducing alternative modules for financial reporting and business planning. Each of the alternative modules are based on common syllabus structures, skills and technical frameworks, but are designed to examine different contexts.

The introduction of alternative modules will give employers and their students, the opportunity to select the module most relevant to the workplace. Alternative modules to the ACA qualification, offer a unique way of gaining in-depth understanding across accountancy, finance and business as well as subject and sector specific knowledge. Students will continue to build the technical knowledge, professional skills and practical experience needed to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant throughout the ACA qualification.

The quality, structure and academic rigour of the ACA will remain unchanged and the final designation of ICAEW Chartered Accountant and the ACA designatory letters will also remain the same for all ICAEW members.

Financial reporting

The introduction of alternative financial reporting modules will provide students with two different contexts, either UK GAAP or IFRS. This means that students can study the financial reporting framework most beneficial to their employer and clients.

Driven by the recent clarification of the future of UK GAAP with the publication of FRSs 100, 101 and 102, by the UK Financial Reporting Council, the introduction of financial reporting alternative modules will affect two ACA modules – the Professional Level Financial Accounting and Reporting (from March 2017) and Advanced Level Corporate Reporting (from July 2018) modules.

The learning materials for each module will continue to cover the fundamental differences between UK GAAP and IFRS. This will ensure that alongside a detailed understanding of a student’s chosen framework, they will also develop an awareness of the other framework.

The issues and scenarios in both the exams will be the same. Students will be expected to respond to the questions using their selected financial reporting framework.

As a consequence of introducing these alternative modules, additional UK GAAP content has been added to the Accounting learning materials, to ensure that students are prepared for the subsequent Professional Level Financial Accounting and Reporting exam, whether that be the UK GAAP or the IFRS version. No changes have been made to the content or structure of the Accounting exam as a result of these changes.

Sample paper

Study webinar

Download the Financial Accounting and Reporting: UK GAAP webinar which introduces this new module and provides an overview on how to approach the exam.

Business planning suite

The introduction of alternative business planning modules to include banking and insurance, in addition to the existing Business Planning: Taxation module, will provide students with the opportunity to gain subject and sector specific knowledge while studying for the ACA. The suite of business planning modules will be based on the same syllabus structure and skills frameworks, but will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their learning and use this in the context of taxation, banking or insurance.

Each module will be academically the same and students will only need to sit and pass one business planning module as part of the ACA qualification.

The banking and insurance modules are being introduced at a time when there is much scrutiny over the quality of financial statements and audits of banks and insurance companies. The banking and insurance business planning module exams will be available from June 2016.

Sample papers

Module overviews

Module Overview
Business Planning: Banking This module will cover the business planning aspects of risk management, reporting and assurance issues relevant to banks. Students will need to use their technical knowledge and professional skills to identify appropriate products, advise on risk mitigation strategies and formulate appropriate financial reporting treatments.
Business Planning: Insurance This module will cover the business planning aspects of risk management, reporting and assurance issues relevant to insurance companies. Students will need to use their technical knowledge and professional skills to identify appropriate products, advise on risk mitigation strategies and formulate the appropriate financial reporting treatments.
Business Planning: Taxation This module will cover the business planning aspects of UK tax in relation to business transactions. Students will need to use their technical knowledge and professional skills to identify and resolve tax issues and to advise on tax-efficient strategies for businesses and individuals.

Syllabus

View the 2016 syllabus and technical knowledge grids for the new Business Planning alternative modules: