How ACCA changes benefit you?

How ACCA changes benefit you

One of the most prominent professional accountancy organizations in the world, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), has made some changes to its exam structure. These changes are an effort to help professionals maximise their potential in today’s business world. If you are an ACCA aspirant, we are here to help you understand the changes that have been introduced in the structure and how it affects you.

What are the new changes in ACCA exam papers?

From introducing new examinations to bringing about changes in certain exams, ACCA has made a huge shift. The changes that have been brought about by ACCA recently are as follows:

Strategic Professional

ACCA has introduced Strategic Professional – an innovative case study that includes – Strategic Business Leader exam and Strategic Business Reporting, to help students efficiently manage their exam time. Let’s find out more about this.

Strategic Business Leader Exam

  • This has replaced three ACCA Papers: P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics, and P3 Business Analysis exams;
  • If you have a valid pass for ACCA P1 and P3 exams, you will receive a converted Strategic Business pass;
  • The core competencies have been taken from the P1 and P2 ACCA papers and been inculcated in this exam.

This exam has been introduced to help students deal with real-world scenarios using an amalgamation of technical, ethical and professional skills. Students can use these skills to evaluate the situation and present the most accurate responses.

Strategic Business Reporting

  • It has replaced the P2 Corporate Reporting Exam;
  • If you have a valid pass for ACCA P2 exam, you will receive a converted Strategic Business Reporting pass;
  • The technical content of the P2 exams has been retained in Strategic Business Reporting.

This exam has been introduced to help students acquire skills that are essential to understanding business, analyse reports and explain the impacts of transactions, when necessary, to the stakeholders.


The four exams that were offered as options to students will remain the same. However, effective from September 2018, all questions within each of the Strategic Professional Exams will be compulsory.

These changes have been implemented to help students make optimal use of their time while answering questions, given that they can dedicate more time to it and enhance their chances of success.

Changes in time limit in ACCA exams

In 2016, ACCA had introduced a time limit that students were allowed for completing the exam component of ACCA qualification. While the rule of 2016 had put the time limit at 10 years, it has now been changed to 7 years.

Once students have passed their first Strategic Professional exam, they will have a time frame of 7 years to pass all the Strategic Professional exams. If students fail to do so, they will lose all passes achieved more than seven years ago and they will have to re-take the exams.

How does the time limit rule impact you?

Students who registered with ACCA before 31 December 2015 were awarded a last exam session date which was 10 years from the day they registered. However, since the rules have changed, this is no longer valid. A student will either be awarded a time limit of 7 years from the date of each individual Strategic Professional Pass or 10 years from their initial registration date, whichever is later.

Students who have registered with ACCA after 1st January 2016 will be awarded a time limit of 7 years from the date they pass their first Strategic Professional exam. Each Strategic Professional pass achieved after that will have an expiry date of 7 years later.

Why was the time limit for ACCA exams changed?

ACCA took feedback from employers and students and implemented the new changes. This is an effort to be fair and provide the same opportunities to all students. Time limits also reinforce the importance of staying up-to-date with knowledge and current work practices.

FAQs about ACCA changes 2018

1. How many exams are part of the ACCA syllabus now? How is it different from the previous syllabus?


The ACCA syllabus earlier consisted of five papers – 3 core exams (P1, P2, and P3) and 2 elective exams (you could choose any 2 out of the 4 options available). Now ACCA has combined the two professional exams, P1 and P3, into one exam – Strategic Business Leader. The P2 exam will also be reviewed, and will be called Strategic Business Reporting. The rules and subjects for the electives will remain the same. Hence, now there will be four exams in the Professional level.

2. What is the New Ethics Model in ACCA exams?


According to the changes introduced by ACCA, the Professional Ethics module will be replaced by a new Ethics and Professional Skills module. This module is aimed at developing a varied range of professional skills that are valued by employers. It will cover topics ranging from ethical behaviour to judgement skills, along with communications, analysis, evaluation and commercial innovation skills.

3. How will the ACCA changes 2018 affect my studies?


If you have completed only P1 or P3 exam, you will have to take the Strategic Business Leader exam. However, if you have cleared both, you will be granted an exemption for the Strategic Business Leader exam. Similarly, if you have already completed the P2 exam, the Strategic Business Reporting exam will be exempted. Otherwise, you will have to take the exam.

4. How will the ACCA changes 2018 benefit me?


Changes have been implemented in the ACCA in line with the changing work practices and customs. ACCA understands that professional accountants need to match their step with the changing technology and business dynamics. Moreover, the introduction of Strategic Professional exams in the curriculum will help you become conversant in professional as well as ethical skills, which will be instrumental in your career.

5. Going ahead, what should my study plan be?


Since the Strategic Business Leader (SBL) exam is different from what you might have taken with ACCA earlier, you need to be cautious about your study plan. Do not rush into taking the exam without proper training; taking a preparatory course offline or online could help you understand the details of the exam.

Plan ahead and give yourself enough time before you take the exam. While you are pursuing a preparatory course, you can try to complete the Ethics and Professional Skills module as it will help you to prepare for the SBL exam.

The ACCA qualification is globally recognized and is one of the most reputed qualifications. With the changing world dynamics, ACCA is aware that ACCA-qualified professionals should adapt to the modern work process. The exam changes brought about this year will contribute significantly to students’ growth and help them cope with the work culture and ethics in today’s business dynamics.

To help students clear the ACCA exam papers, reputed institutes are offering preparatory courses. One of the most prominent universities to offer a Preparatory course for ACCA Examination is Toronto School of Management.

If you too are planning to take ACCA exams, go ahead and read more about the ACCA changes 2018 here!