How to Choose ACCA optional papers

how to choose acca optional papers

One of the most globally-recognised qualifications, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) certification gives students the opportunity to work anywhere across the world. With a student base of over 500,000 and 208,000 members spread across 178 countries, ACCA has earned the reputation of a global professional accounting body.

Students who want to pursue the ACCA qualification have to acquire a deep understanding of the course structure in order to choose the right combination of subjects. Here’s where the need to have proper knowledge about ACCA optional papers becomes important. This article is focused at guiding students on what optional papers are right for their choice of career. Read on to find out more.

What are the ACCA optional papers?

The optional papers are listed under the Strategic Professional exams. Students are given four professional exam options to choose from which are:

  • P4 – Advanced Financial Management (AFM): The areas covered in this paper are Corporate Finance, Risk Management and Investment Appraisal. The AFM paper tests students’ financial management skills and presents problems which have more than one solution. The P4 exam requires students to be well-versed in calculations as well as discursive methods. Students who want to pursue a career in commerce, business or financial advising can choose this optional paper.
  • P4 – Advanced Performance Management (APM): This paper focuses on areas such as management accounting, performance management and business analysis. Hence, before taking this optional paper, it is advised that you go through the fundamentals of ACCA papers – F2, F5 and P3. The P4 paper is a combination of discursive and computational elements. This optional paper is most suitable for students who want to work in management accounting.
  • P6 – Advanced Taxation (ATX): Technical skills are the point of emphasis in the Advance Taxation paper. Students must have in-depth knowledge about inheritance tax, corporation tax, VAT, National Insurance, capital gains tax and current income tax rules. In this paper, students will have to use discursive and computational techniques to solve questions that pose real-life multi-tax scenario. Students must have analytical skills, computational skills and sound technical knowledge in taxation. Students who desire to work in the tax department of an organisation can take this paper.
  • P7 – Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA): Students who want to take up this optional paper must have in-depth knowledge about ACCA paper F8 (Audit and Assurance) and P2 (Corporate Reporting). This paper is completely focused on testing students’ discursive abilities. Students who wish to work in the auditing department of an organisation can take this paper.

Which ACCA optional papers are best?

Optional papers help students work towards a specialization. This will decide which sector of accounting you start your career in, and hence, holds great value. The chances of you becoming an ACCA member depends on how you fare in the ACCA papers, hence you must choose carefully. You might be wondering what factors you should take into account before choosing the combination of professional and optional papers. Well, here’s a list:

  • Ensure that your fundamental concepts are in check;
  • Pick the optional papers that are in line with the specialised area you want to work in after becoming an ACCA-qualified professional.

No ACCA optional paper can be categorised as “good” or “bad”, however, you can decide which is a better option for you. Let’s see how!

  • The optional papers are an advanced version of the Applied Knowledge papers that you have already taken. Hence, you can take a cue from your performance in the Applied Knowledge exams to decide which optional papers to choose.
  • Having prior experience in the paper you are choosing can be helpful in successfully clearing the exam. While this is not a mandatory requirement, it will play to your advantage to have real-life work experience in the field.
  • Since you have taken the Applied Knowledge papers before, you should have an idea about which exam technique works for each of the papers. Moreover, you can also weigh which technique works the best for you and choose the optional papers accordingly.
  • The best combination of ACCA professional papers is the one that assists your career goals. However, if the optional paper which is most relevant to your career is a difficult one, you can choose to pursue it after becoming ACCA-qualified. For example, if AAA is the most relevant optional paper but it is also difficult, you can decide to choose two optional papers that are easy and take up the AAA optional exam paper as part of the CPD (Continuing Professional Development) offered by ACCA.
  • TheACCA professional qualification is a time-consuming and tedious course of study. Hence, you must ensure that among the options available, you choose the paper that you like.

Since the path to becoming an ACCA-qualified professional is not easy to tread, more universities are offering preparatory courses to acquire the qualification.

Toronto School of Management (TSOM) offers a Preparatory Course for ACCA Examination, wherein, students can prepare for 13 of the ACCA papers.

With highly experienced tutors and 24/7 online support, students can get the best training for the qualification at TSOM.

Moreover, TSOM has been licensed as a Computer Based Exam (CBE) centre for the ACCA global body. So if you want to become an ACCA-qualified professional, enrol for the course now!

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