Financial Accounting and Reporting
An exam of 2 halves
April 28, 2021
We are not sure if you are aware (or whether you really care) but the FAR exam is actually a combination of 2 different ACA papers from the pre-2013 syllabus (in case this comes up in a pub quiz (if you remember what a pub is), the previous papers were called Financial Accounting and Financial Reporting ... those crazy ICAEW examiners, eh?).
So FAR is in fact a result of a combination of 2 completely different papers (the old Financial Accounting paper was a pure calculations paper whilst the Financial Reporting paper was largely narrative in nature). Hence when the 2 papers were merged, we ended up with a bit of mess. Which is still in place nearly 10 years later.
As an example of this problem, in FAR Q1 you need to focus on calculations work almost exclusively: time spent on writing any narrative to explain what you are doing is almost certainly going to be a waste of time (and not just because your answers are rubbish, which they may well be) ... this is not an absolutely 100% guaranteed rule as sometimes the examiners may be very funky and expect perhaps 2 or 3 sentences on the treatment of a lease or some other exciting aspect. But, by and large, Q1 is numbers time.
Then when you do the IFRS-treatment question, things flip completely (and not only because you are using dreadful exam technique and flipping out about an annoying leases part in Q1 that was probably worth a whole 0.5 marks). In the IFRS-treatment question, if you focus on calculations then you are probably toast. Or at least FAR from the using the right approach. In this kind of question, almost all of the marks are for narrative content and you can pass the question very well without even including any numbers. It's true but don't put it to the test so at least include some calculations work, but not too much.
Then once the IFRS-treatment question is done, you are on the home stretch with just some exciting consolidation to do. Here it is back to numbers almost exclusively although there may be some narrative in there. And Ethics obviously cannot be answered in numerical format. You may be an accountant but you are not a robot. Not yet anyway.
Hopefully you will then pass FAR so the next tip is to keep your notes handy and remember how to do the IFRS-treatment kind of question as that is the type of question that you are most likely to see in Corporate Reporting at the Advanced Level.