By: Greg Thorpe

ACCA’s – examiner’s say…

ACCA students must answer all the required questions if they want to pass this June – simples!

Candidates cannot expect to pass if they don’t have knowledge of the whole syllabus. This is the harsh analysis of the people in the know –  the examiners.

F7 examiner Steve Scott revealed that too many December candidates answered only four out of the five compulsory questions set. There were also a significant minority of scripts with answers to only three of the questions. P3 examiner Steve Skidmore felt too many December sitters only answered two of his questions; the compulsory Q1 and the optional Q2. Skidmore suggested that this meant many students were unfamiliar with quality and project management, which are significant parts of the P3 syllabus.

However, P2 candidates seem to be bucking this trend, and the examiner Graham Holt noted that there was less evidence of candidates only answering two rather than three questions required.

* See the magazine published on 13 May for all our exam tips and lots more.

There are also lots of tips online now in the study zone at

College charters are back!

Charters were all the rage under PM John Major, and it appears that they are coming back in vogue. A working group co-chaired by the National Union of Students and Universities UK will be producing a student charter for all HE colleges and universities.

NUS President Wes Streeting said: “Too often vague promises are made in shiny prospectuses raising students’ expectations beyond what’s deliverable in practice.”

The new charters would detail the mutual obligations of students and their institutions, covering such issues as expectations about personal support from tutors, formal contact time and feedback on course work, as well as the responsibilities of students such as private study time.

The group will look at current best practice and will then provide a toolkit for institutions and students’ unions to use when developing institutional charters.

Streets stressed it had to be clear what students can expect from teaching, facilities and support while offering clear redress when it isn’t delivered.

CIMA student conference

The venue is booked – Chelsea Football Club! Now all you need to know is the date, and that has been confirmed as Saturday 26 June. The London CIMA student summer conference just needs one more thing – you the students. At £15, if you book before the 7 June, this is a Saturday well spent at a football club, when the football isn’t on! OK, you have a 4 o’clock kick off to get to if football is your bag, but if Chelsea are clever they would put the match on in the bar. That would almost make it worth turning up for.

Council member Alixe Bainbridge-Spring will be there handing out some of her famous advice. She is really worth the £15 alone. To book a place contact

Pre-seen dilemmas

CIMA students have a whole new world to conquer this May. The strategic level pre-seen is now out there. Darren Hodgson, of iCount told PQ magazine that everyone will be reading the pre-seen, but the trick is what you should be looking for. Company Aybe is a mid-sized company owned by institutional investors, supplying electronic components to 20 countries. Merged five years ago, Hodgson explains that the company had a rocky start and shows steady signs of financial improvement. Now the company is at a cross roads.

Hodgson stressed that the key issues stand out (read the headings, as these are clear markets). Increased profit seems paramount, said Hodgson, especially given the 55% stake of the patient but increasingly demanding institutional investors. There are already some suggestions to consider, but keep increased profit at the forefront of your mind.

The questions you could be ask are:

1) Is the structure appropriate and should you change it?

2) What will be the cost and benefit of a new IT system?

3) How much can we grow given the interest and gearing constraints?

4) How should we grow? New products and markets? Physical or virtual presence?

5) What further investment should we make?

6) Can we sue the quantity surveyor or who might have cost the company up to $1.0m .

Money = happiness

Sorry but despite what any says the monthly pay cheque is still the main motivator when it comes to getting the job done. If you want to be truly happy it isn’t the working environment or the people you work with that really matters – it is the money your employers put in your bank!

A recent poll found that some 11% of respondents didn’t like what they did. But that leaves some nine out of 10 people who ‘enjoy’, be it only sometimes, what they do!