ACCAS syllabus and exam pattern

ACCA Course Syllabus & Exam Pattern 2024: Guide to Acing Your ACCA Certification


If you wish to work in accounting or finance, the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is one of the most well-known certifications available. It is internationally recognized and respected, allowing access to a plethora of options. However, understanding the ACCA syllabus and exam structure can be difficult. This manual provides the ACCA syllabus, giving you a better understanding of what to expect on your ACCA journey.

The ACCA qualification is intended to provide you with the skills, knowledge, and ethics needed to succeed in finance and accounting. The ACCA syllabus consists of three main stages which are applied knowledge, applied skills, and strategic professional. Each level builds on the previous one, increasing complexity and depth. Candidates should go through the ACCA course structure to ensure they are well versed with what the ACCA course is all about. 

ACCA Syllabus & Exam Pattern

ACCA Applied Knowledge Level Syllabus

The Applied Knowledge level is the starting point. It provides the groundwork by explaining fundamental ideas in accounting and business. Consider it the foundation for all of your future knowledge. The ACCA syllabus for Applied Knowledge exam is given below:

Business and Technology (BT)How businesses runVarious business forms
Management responsibilities
The value of innovation and change
Technology impact on business
Management Accounting (MA)Fundamentals of management accountingPlanning processes
Controlling processes
Decision-making processes
Financial Accounting (FA)Principles of financial accountingPreparation of financial statements
Interpretation of financial statements

ACCA Applied Knowledge Level Exam Structure

  • Format: The exam will consist of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and objective test questions (OTQs).
  • Duration: The exam will be conducted for 2 hours. 
  • Frequency: Exams are on-demand, meaning you can take them at any time throughout the year.

ACCA Applied Skill Level Syllabus

Once you have mastered the principles, you will progress to the Applied Skills level. This stage expands on the knowledge learned at the Applied Knowledge level while introducing more difficult topics. The ACCA syllabus for Applied Skill Level is given in the table below:

Corporate and Business Law (LW)Legal framework within which businesses operateContract law
Employment law
Company law
Performance Management (PM)Advanced management accounting techniquesPerformance measurement
Performance evaluation
Performance improvement
Taxation (TX)Principles of taxationPersonal tax
Corporate tax
Tax planning
Financial Reporting (FR)Understanding financial accounting and reporting standardsPreparation of financial statements
Interpretation of financial statements
Audit and Assurance (AA)Principles and practices of auditingAudit process
Internal controls
Professional ethics
Financial Management (FM)Management of financial resourcesInvestment decisions
Financing decisions
Dividend decisions

ACCA Applied Skill Level Exam Structure

  • Format: A mix of MCQs, OTQs, and longer, more complex questions that test your ability to apply knowledge in practical scenarios.
  • Duration: Each exam lasts 3 hours.
  • Frequency: Exams are held four times a year – March, June, September, and December.

ACCA Strategic Professional Level Syllabus

The third level of the ACCA Syllabus is Strategic Professional, focuses on advanced professional skills, strategic thinking, and leadership capacity. This level is divided into two modules: essentials and options. The ACCA syllabus for Strategic Professional Level can be seen in the table below:

Essentials (Compulsory Subjects)Strategic Business Leader (SBL)Strategic management
Leadership skills
Analysis of complex business situations
Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)Financial reporting standards
Business analysis
Options (Choose Two)Advanced Financial Management (AFM)Advanced financial management strategies
Risk management
Mergers and acquisitions
Corporate restructuring
Advanced Performance Management (APM)Strategic planning
Performance control
Decision-making processes
Advanced Taxation (ATX)Complex taxation scenarios
International tax
Tax compliance
Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)Advanced audit skills
Application of professional judgment

ACCA Strategic Professional Level Exam Structure:

  • Format: A mix of case studies, practical tasks, and theoretical questions that require in-depth analysis and strategic thinking.
  • Duration: Each exam lasts 3 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Frequency: Exams are held four times a year – March, June, September, and December.

Ethics and Professional Skills Module (EPSM)

In addition to the three levels, ACCA requires you to complete the Ethics and Professional Skills Module (EPSM). This course is designed to help you enhance your ethical judgment and professional skills, both of which are essential in the accounting profession. The ACCA syllabus for Ethics and professional skills modules is given below:

Ethical principles and decision-makingOnline, interactive module with case studies and real-world scenarios
Professionalism and ethics in accounting
Effective communication and interpersonal skills
Can be completed at any stage during your studies, but it’s recommended to do it early

Practical Experience Requirement (PER)

To become a fully qualified ACCA member, you must also meet the Practical Experience Requirement (PER). This involves gaining relevant work experience in a finance or accounting profession.


  • Complete at least 36 months of supervised experience.
  • Achieve the ACCA performance targets that are related to the skills and knowledge you acquired while studying.

Tips for Success

  1. Develop a study approach and stick to it. Use calendars and apps to organize your study time and notes.
  2. ACCA offers a variety of study materials, practice exams, and online forums.
  3. Initiate a joint group with your peers, who will be appearing for the same ACCA exam, and study the ACCA syllabus together.
  4. Don’t be afraid to approach tutors for assistance or to join online support groups.
  5. The EPSM is significant. Understanding ethical concerns will benefit you intellectually and professionally.


The ACCA qualification is a journey that requires dedication, endurance, and patience. The structure, which includes the Applied Knowledge, Applied Skills, and Strategic Professional levels, as well as the Ethics and Professional Skills Module and the Practical Experience Requirement, prepares you to deal with the complexities of the financial and accounting fields. Understanding the ACCA Syllabus and pattern, as well as being committed to your studies, will enable you to successfully travel this path and secure a rewarding position as a professional CA.

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