ICFE Guidelines

How to Design a Teaching Course for ICFE Examination Preparation

ICFE Guidelines
How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Contents
Page Workshop Aim Introduction 1. CONTENT 1.1 Subject Content 1.2 Language 1.2.1 Language level 1.2.2 Language syllabus Skills 1.3.1. Receptive skills: reading and listening 1.3.2 Productive skills: writing and speaking 3 3 4





MATERIALS 2.1 Subject-based Materials 2.1.1 Specialist texts 2.1.2 Texts for non-specialists 2.1.3 Finance/accounting-related websites 2.1.4 Journals 2.1.5 Podcasts 2.2 Language materials 2.2.1 Finance/accounting-related language textbooks 2.2.2 Finance/accounting-related language websites 2.2.3 English language materials 2.2.4 Dictionaries




COURSE DESIGN 3.1 Hours 3.2 Course Structure 3.3 Sample Lesson Plan EXAMINATION PREPARATION TIPS 4.1 General 4.2 Reading 4.3 Writing 4.4 Listening 4.5 Speaking




Appendix A Topics in international finance and accounting Appendix B Can Do Summary for C1 and B2 CEFR Appendix C Ideas for an ICFE Preparation Course

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ICFE Guidelines
How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation
Workshop Aim • • • • • to familiarise trainers with the content and skills required to be successful in the Cambridge International Certificate in Financial English (ICFE) to explore course design principles for an ICFE preparation course to work through content-specific elements and relevant language skills as outlined in the ICFE Course Design Manual to set up the framework of a training session for providers who wish to offer preparation courses for ICFE to ensure trainers are aware of their roles and responsibilities when representing Cambridge ESOL in this ICFE programme

Introduction What is ICFE? The Cambridge ESOL International Certificate in Financial English (ICFE) is an examination set at Levels B2 and CI of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It assesses language skills in the context of finance and accounting. ICFE assesses whether candidates whose first language is not English have an adequate level of English to function effectively in the international finance and accounting environment. ICFE is a Cambridge ESOL examination, produced and assessed by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations in collaboration with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). It has four papers: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. ICFE examinations are held each year in May and November. Further detailed information about the background to ICFE can be found in the ICFE Handbook for Teachers pp 1-6. The Handbook is also available online at the ICFE website: www.financialenglish.org

NB: These guidelines have been written by an independent consultant to help tuition providers to prepare courses for candidates who are preparing for ICFE. Nothing in this document constitutes official advice or instruction on behalf of University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations or ACCA. This document is provided for information only and neither University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations nor ACCA can be held liable for any consequences arising from its use.
© UCLES 2008


It will be necessary to select from and develop further the materials and course ideas in these Guidelines to suit individual situations. ii) There may be numbers of language teachers approaching this professional area for the first time. however. have the language skills to work effectively in this field and this is what the preparation course must focus on for them. It does not assess candidates’ knowledge of this subject area but their language skills in the context of finance and accountancy. They will need additional support in finding out about the topic areas and specialist terminology. These Guidelines make the following assumptions where preparing for ICFE is concerned: Learners: i) Many learners will be studying finance and accounting so the topics will be familiar to them. no one model that fits all. therefore. ii) Some learners may be unfamiliar with some finance and accounting topics and will need support in learning more about them as well as developing their language knowledge and skills in this subject area. There is.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 1. CONTENT ICFE tests language skills in the context of international finance and accounting. 4 . Teachers: i) Teachers experienced in teaching English for finance and accounting will need support in ICFE-specific skills. They may not yet.

The topics have been grouped in terms of how easily they might be dealt with in a preparation course. ICFE tests receptive skills (reading and listening) and productive skills (writing and speaking) in the context of international finance and accounting.2 Language syllabus There is no ICFE paper testing grammar or knowledge of the language systems in English but candidates need a sound grasp of the basic verb tenses including passives and conditionals. page 29.2 Language content 1.1 Subject Content A list of the main topic areas in ICFE can be found on page 4 of the ICFE Handbook. none. ICFE candidates need to reach a language level of at least B2 (upper intermediate) to be successful in ICFE. every. 1. modals. The following outlines the skills tested in ICFE. Starting level: the suggestions for course work in these Guidelines assume a minimum starting language level of good intermediate i. Each ICFE examination tests any number of these topics and no reference is made to any grouping of topics under headings such as those in these Guidelines. Vocabulary: in addition to finance/accounting-specific vocabulary and terminology. candidates will need a good knowledge of work-related vocabulary.3 Language skills Whenever possible.1 Language level On completion of the exam. This is equivalent to the start of a general English course leading to the Cambridge First Certificate in English examination.2. it will be useful to practise the key skill of paraphrasing to ensure that candidates can describe and explain ideas clearly as well as being able to understand paraphrase in texts and when used by others in speaking situations. In Appendix A there is a check-list which is not exhaustive but which gives an overview of the main areas within each topic which it is useful to cover in an ICFE preparation course. each. please refer to the Can Do statements in Appendix B. For a summary of what successful ICFE candidates can do at levels B2 and C1.g. quantifiers and determiners (e. several) and linking words. 1. Collocations are very important and are tested across the 4 ICFE papers.e. some. the start of level B2. 5 . 1.2. successful candidates are awarded either a B2 or C1 grade.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation CONTENT (cont) 1.

prepositions. functions and opinions. it is also important in ICFE since the timing of the Reading Test does not allow for detailed reading of all the texts in full. topic. attitude. Listening (Paper 3) • • • Listening for gist. Listening to identify gist in a number of texts on a theme and identifying speakers. collocations. knowing the purpose of reading a text before reading it and employing relevant reading skills. purpose. topics. 6 . detail. auxiliaries etc (Focus on structure). (Focus on vocabulary) Reading for general meaning and scanning to locate specific information.g. (Focus on sentence completion) These skills need to be developed by listening to examples of formal and informal situations e. dependent → independence. Australian etc). a lecture (formal) or two accountants chatting about an aspect of their current workload (informal). (Focus on short monologues or dialogues / interacting speakers). feelings and opinions. Detailed reading and understanding: awareness and control of structural items such as conjunctions. North American. Detailed reading and understanding: supplying an appropriate word formed from a given base word e. Reading (Paper 1) • • • • • • • • • Detailed reading and understanding: precision of use of vocabulary. Listening for development of main points in a text and retrieving specific information. following meaning and argument in texts. linking words and shades of meaning.g. Reading for general meaning and detail: how texts are structured.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 1. function. (Focus on vocabulary and linking words). implication and referencing. phrasal verbs. This reflects what readers do in the real world.1 Receptive skills Learners need to develop skills in purposeful reading i.e. fixed phrases. Candidates also need to be familiar with varieties of English (UK.3. Intensive reading: understanding the detailed meaning of a text including opinions.

agreeing/disagreeing etc. expressing and justifying opinions etc. developing the topic. justifying opinions. Taking part in a discussion: responding appropriately to questions. describing. persuading etc 200-250 words Speaking (Paper 4) • • • Responding to questions about studies / work experience in finance and accounting. Sustaining a ‘long turn’: preparing and then giving information. • 7 . exchanging information.3. Taking part in a two-way conversation (with the second candidate) to work on a collaborative task: turn-taking. presenting and developing arguments. evaluating ideas.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 1. negotiating. expressing and justifying opinions.2 Productive skills Writing (Paper 2) • Writing a concise and clear formal letter based on input text and covering five specific content points: explaining. expressing and supporting opinions. refuting. suggesting etc 120-180 words • Writing a clear and well-structured report developing four specific content points: presenting and developing arguments. recommending.

g.C Drury. MATERIALS 2. Speaking skills: when preparing to discuss a topic.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 2.3 Finance/accounting-related websites There are thousands of websites with content related to finance and accounting. 2.2 Accountancy for non-accounting students – J R Dyson.1. Relevant for Speaking Test Part 4. Good practical examples to illustrate concepts and clear language of explanation. Relevant for Writing Test Part 2. The following attempts to categorise and evaluate different types of websites in terms of their usefulness for an ICFE preparation course. particularly with reference to level and length. these texts serve students as a useful reference point for collecting main points on a topic e. 8 .1 Specialist text-books The Meaning of Company Accounts .1. Thomson Learning (2005) Useful for: Clear and non-technical introductions to basic principles of financial and management accounting for students (and teachers) relatively inexperienced in the topic area. Writing skills: useful as source for collecting content for writing a report. Kogan Page (2006) Management Accounting for Non Specialists – C Gowthorpe. Also good practice in reading for main points and note-taking.Reid & Myddleton. investment appraisal methods (summarised in Accounting for NonAccountants pp.1 Subject-based Materials This section is about authentic materials on finance/accounting-related topics and issues. These materials are not designed for teaching English language purposes so the language is ungraded (though always clear). Thomson Learning (2004) Fundamentals of Corporate Finance – Brearley and Myers. 2. 210-219). Gower Publishing (2005) Management and Cost Accounting .1. Use of these materials brings variety to the classroom but they must be selected and used judiciously. Text-books for non-specialists 2. FT/Prentice Hall (2007) Accounting for Non-Accountants – G Mott. McGaw-Hill (2003) Useful for: Technical explanations of finance and accounting suitable for ICFE candidates already working in the field or studying at undergraduate/ MBA level.

training courses needed or attended. Professional accountancy bodies www. Websites for graduates and professionals looking for employment also contain job descriptions in the finance/accountancy sectors. new applicants for posts etc.ac. these.monster. www. money laundering. For example: The Public Interest section (Technical Areas) lists the technical areas of the profession ACCA is involved in with articles on. accordingly. Useful for understanding cohesion and coherence of texts and working on examination technique (gapped text). controller and financial analyst. neither. Relevant for Speaking Test Part 1. but. 400 words) contains a range of linking words and expressions (now.jobprofiles. e. Relevant for Listening Test Parts 1 & 4. Writing skills: awareness of how linking and referencing words function is relevant for Writing Test Parts 1 & 2.com contains profiles for accountant. corporate governance. either. 5 & 6. Reading skills: text can be gapped with the missing words listed under the text.g. Useful for: Factual texts with introductory paragraphs which can be gapped. in particular. budget analyst. Useful for understanding different roles in the sector.uk www. insolvency issues. Money Laundering Regulations 2007 First section (c. Listening skills: acquiring this vocabulary / terminology helps in understanding conversation / discussion between accountants describing aspects of their work. Speaking skills: preparing to answer questions about studies.monster. 9 .ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Job sites Large accountancy firm websites have sections relating to employment in their particular firms. work experience.accaglobal. auditor. among others. skills and qualifications required. career ambitions etc. For example: www. such).com ACCA’S website is a rich source of information about the profession and practical advice about taking examinations as well as being a good source of different types of text.prospects.com Useful for: Concise and relatively simple descriptions of job responsibilities. however. as well as) and reference words (this. sustainability issues etc.Jobprofiles. Relevant for Reading Test Parts 2.

icaew.g. e. details.org www.uk Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Chartered Institute of Management Accountants Institute of Internal Auditors Association of Certified Public Accountants (USA) International Accounting Standards Board Financial Reporting Council 2. Useful for: Longer texts with a focus on opinion and attitudes of the writers. this site has a section with free web broadcasts. attitude.uk www. The Concept of Corporate Risk. Some editing needed as broadcasts are up to one hour in length. Student accountant includes technical articles.4 Journals Many finance and accountancy journals are available online. opinion.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation The Students & affiliates section (Publications) has an archive of articles on different aspects of the profession. Useful for: Extended discussion and interaction.co.iia.com In addition to a wide range of texts. current issues. Relevant for Reading Test Part 4. www.g. Listening skills: listening for gist. Students could watch remaining parts as follow-up work on their own. justifying etc.co.1. Speaking skills: useful for oral practice (agreeing / disagreeing).student accountant and accounting & business are available for public access.accaglobal. clarifying.frc. www. career development and business features.co.accountancyage. Useful language input for agreeing/disagreeing.aicpa. main points. Other professional accountancy and regulator bodies sites include: www.org. How to Measure the Value of IT. Useful for: accounting & business addresses critical issues in international accountancy and business and contains the latest in news analysis and features. e.uk www.uk www.iasb. The Future of the Accountant by Sarah Perrin Reading skills: each paragraph has a different opinion and can be used for skimming and scanning practice. 10 .com Archived issues of ACCA student and member magazines .org www.cima.

financialdirector. venture capital. Speaking skills: useful material for collaborative task.accountantsworld.5 Podcasts There are a number of sources for free finance/accountancy. consisting of interviews.accountancymag. Writing skills: good input for report writing on seminars attended. KPMG. auditing.com A series of 50 podcasts on Accounting Best Practices.uk www.uk www.co.com A range of topics from around the world including speakers from Australia. it is important to focus closely on finance and accounting issues rather than broader business issues.com Some other publications may have relevant texts in their business pages: www. Relevant for Speaking Test Part 3.com Financial Times www.uk www.economist.related podcasts on the internet.co.co. 11 .com www.deloitte.ft. some of the interviews are conducted with people over the telephone. Some podcasts are a convenient length for use in class (under 5 minutes) but many need to be used only in part.org Journal of Accountancy (USA) www.aicoa. for example: www. South Africa. insurance. Ernst & Young. Relevant for Writing Test Part 2.businessweek. discussing training needed for your firm. Deloitte etc) are also good sources of course information. The websites of large accountancy firms (PricewaterhouseCoopers. Canada and the USA. deciding which course to take / organise.1. Useful for: Course outlines highlight issues related to different topics (tax. www.com However.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation The site also has outlines of web seminars available. Some of the speakers are Americans. company valuations etc. 2. Other similar websites include: www.managementtoday. Large accountancy firm websites also have podcasts.cpapodcasts.

com/itunes/store The iTunes store has a range of podcasts from BBC radio programmes. Relevant for all 4 parts of the Listening Test. telephone interviews. www.carol. Business Risk. many of which include business topics. more usefully. International Tax etc. etc) and ways of measuring company performance (ratios etc). New Forecasts for 2008. for example Is the M & A boom over? Speakers have UK and USA accents. Useful for: An alternative way of introducing a topic or new lexical items (rather than using text).com Ernst and Young have a directory of podcasts on their website which can be accessed by date of release or. UBS Economics podcasts A range of finance topics including reference to figures and trends. Some of the speakers are non-native speakers of English.ey. Useful illustration material for report writing and discussion of company performance. prediction markets.co.g. main points. for example. Accounting Technical.6 Company reports Company reports can be accessed online via an individual company’s website or via a site such as: www. Useful for teaching how to refer to numbers and describe trends. detailed information. the rise of shareholder activism. P & L etc).apple. The site also has an easily accessed page of the FTSE 100 share prices.1. by topic e. Useful for: Support material when teaching basic accounting terms (balance sheet. 12 . attitude and opinion. monologues. Listening to interviews. understanding facts & figures. LBS finance programmes and their content etc. updated every minute.uk Registration is free and gives access to the annual reports of listed companies in Europe and USA. McKinsey on Finance podcasts Mostly monologues on a range of financial topics. Listening skills: listening for gist. Understanding agreement/disagreement. 2. financial concepts (going concern. for example. Useful for developing a range of listening skills and notetaking skills. Some are quite technical with reference to figures and trends.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation www. Most useful for ICFE preparation are the following: London Business School podcasts Interviews with LBS staff on.

J Pratten.g. New vocabulary is introduced and there are exercises to practise the items learnt. webquests. using the internet) as well as teaching ideas and lesson plans.uk British Council A wide range of resources including articles for teachers on classroom ideas (e.businessenglishonline.1 Finance/accounting-related language text-books Professional English in Use – Finance I MacKenzie CUP (2007) Useful for: Suitable as a core text as it covers a number of basic ICFE topics under headings of Accounting. Other books to consider: Market Leader: Banking and Finance – C Johnston.2 Language materials 2.g. word combinations. Financial English – I MacKenzie.org. Pearson Longman (2000) Market Leader: Business Grammar and Usage – P Strutt. Thomson Heinle (1995) Useful for: Further language practice in accounting/finance vocabulary and terminology. depreciation. www. The exercises include gap-fill. www. CUP to be published May 08 2. Pearson Longman (2000) Banking English . Delta Publishing (1998) English for the Financial Sector – I MacKenzie. Emphasis is on learning vocabulary.com MacGraw Hill publishers In the section on Accounting / Advanced Accounting there is a set of 25 quite concise case studies on different topics together with study guides e.2.2 English language teaching websites Websites with teaching resources relevant to finance and accounting include: www. Useful pronunciation activities with audio files. completing tables and true/false questions. using authentic materials. This book does not develop listening. Also contains a mini-dictionary of finance terms. writing or speaking skills. matching exercises and word formation (all relevant for Reading Test) as well as sentence completion. Corporate Finance.2. Economics and Trade. Banking.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 2. cash flow etc.teachingenglish.net Macmillan publishers Sets of worksheets on business topics. 13 .glencoe. The Business Dilemma section has a case study with audio file on takeovers with multiple choice questions.

org The ICFE website has a link to the Cambridge ESOL website Teaching Resource section with classroom activities and skills development ideas. Books to consider: English Grammar in Use – R Murphy.4 Dictionaries A Dictionary of Accounting A & C Black Publishers (2007) Penguin Dictionary of Accounting Penguin (2006) A Dictionary of Accounting OUP (2005) CIMA Dictionary of Finance and Accounting Bloomsbury (2003) Penguin International Dictionary of Finance Penguin (2003) Online learner dictionaries Cambridge University Press Oxford University Press www. www.com A wide range of support material including an ESP Bank with sections on Banking and Finance and a Skills section with worksheets (and audio files for pronunciation exercises) for the classroom.english. CUP (2004) Practical English Usage – M Swan. A small selection from the wide range on offer: Business Reports in English English for International Negotiations Essential Telephoning in English Business Opportunities Reward Business Resource Packs Negotiating / Meetings / Writing Skills Cambridge University Press CUP CUP Oxford University Press Macmillan Suummertown www.edu (USA) Online Writing Lab 2.dictionary.Owl.3 English language materials Grammar reference / practice It is useful for students to have a grammar reference / practice book to supplement their ICFE preparation.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation www. 2. OUP (2005) Skills development There are skills books available from all the major ELT publishers.2. Additional homework exercises can be given and individual students’ weaknesses targeted.2. Most are businessrelated rather than specifically finance/accountancy but they provide useful language practice in work situations.oup.cambridge.org www.purdue.com/elt/catalogue/oald 14 .onestopenglish.financialenglish.

the learners should be able to: • • • • • • understand and use financial/accounting concepts and terminology in English use a range of reading skills to understand different types of texts on finance/ accounting topics write clear. well-structured letters and reports in a range of financial/accounting contexts understand conversations. and have a good grasp of appropriate examination techniques. working with texts or listening material. interviews etc on finance/accounting topics participate effectively in discussions on financial/accounting topics and issues related to working in this field perform well in examination tasks specific to ICFE. 3. practising the use of new and familiar language in reading texts. introducing new language in context. Each numbered session contains approximately 3 hours’ work. Each session includes: • • • • work on financial/accounting concepts and terminology i.e.2 Course Structure At the end of an ICFE Preparation course.e. language skills development i. examination focus : working on an examination-specific skill or task.1 Hours These Guidelines contain ideas for a course of approximately 45 hours. discussions. It could be delivered in extensive mode (15 weeks x 3 or 30 weeks x 1. The outline is intended as an indication – not a fixed programme . COURSE DESIGN 3. some suggested follow-up work.of how ICFE topics might be covered and how authentic and teaching materials might be combined to cover the skills required in the examination. 15 . written tasks and speaking situations.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 3.5 etc) or as an intensive module.

1 in pairs Check answers Matching exercise 3. Explain how links to exam.3 Timetable Aims To practise talking about job/studies and ambitions To develop reading skills (scanning) To practise listening for main points and note-taking Unit 3 Professional English in Use – Finance I MacKenzie 3 x course descriptions ESOL web activity worksheet etc LBS podcast Procedure / Material(s) Outline aims of session.2 20 mins How important is further training for accountants? Ambitions: what do you hope to do in the future / in 5 years’ time etc? Revise use of 1st / 2nd conditionals + future tenses Give out course descriptions to each group. Elicit from class information about their jobs/studies Write job titles (accountant/finance manager/auditor) on board & elicit job responsibilities.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 3. List stages on board. Check understanding of basic terms Unit 3 (Accounting/Auditing) Students ask each other about: • what they enjoy about their work/studies • ways of qualifying as accountants in their countries • laws relating to accounting in their countries Feedback Students read Unit 3 p. 12 Matching exercise 3. Feedback Scanning exercise: which course lasts one day? etc Pairwork Interaction Teacher → whole class Sample Lesson Plan Materials Timing 5 mins 15 mins 10 mins 5 mins 15 mins Teacher → whole class Individual Pairwork Teacher → whole class Small groups 10 mins Teacher → whole class Break 16 . Group discusses advantages/disadvantages/usefulness etc and then ranks 3 in order of usefulness.

50 what to consider before deciding whether to take course Feedback and answers.50-06. dealing with unknown words. 17 .50 -07. Feedback in next session. lectures.50 who is typical student 05.50 what kind of feedback (3 examples) 06.50 benefits of course to students (3) focus on comparative language 04. presentations etc) Why is prediction important? ESOL web activity: Focus on Predicting Students check answers in pairs Give correct answers.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Timetable (cont) 20 mins Listening skills: elicit what accountants have to listen to (meetings. 00. how many students 02.50-05. Did prediction help? Small groups Teacher → whole class Small groups Teacher → whole class 10 mins 10 mins Discussion: would you choose this course? Working and studying or taking time out to study – which is best? Setting homework Long texts: how to read them.35-04.35 why was course developed.00-02. using highlighter/underlining etc. Hand out ‘The Future of the Accountant’ (ACCA website): ask students to list main opinions and decide if they agree or not. Did predicting help? Useful in reading? Teacher → whole class Pairwork 30 mins Qualifications: London Business School Master’s in Finance (MiF) and who is it for? Prediction task: what will Dean say about the course and its participants? iTunes podcast Finance Courses Students take notes.

ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation This is a blank timetable you might like to use for lesson planning: Aims Materials Timing Procedure / Material(s) Interaction 18 .

Work on improving a weak answer / explaining what assessment criteria are in play etc. 2. 19 . Take another topic area and groups draw up session components Give out another unit of the course programme and groups draw up lesson plans Focus on writing tasks (since level and assessment will be of interest) with letter and/or report and sample answers from Handbook. 3.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation POSSIBLE EXTENSIONS to workshop: 1.

2 • • • • Reading Think about the time. C or D) If you have any gaps at the end. B.the answers to the questions appear chronologically in the text In Part 6 read the stem of the question and look for the answer in the text . 4. especially words like ‘however’ (which impacts on meaning) and ‘such’ (which refers back to something) Cross out each sentence as you select it but remember you may have to reconsider an answer and change it In Part 6 read the text systematically . Here are a few more hints: 4. There is a set of DOs and DON’Ts on the ICFE Teaching Resource website.1 EXAMINATION PREPARATION TIPS General The most important advice of all: be prepared! Candidates should: • know the format of ICFE (how many papers.g. whether it is negative or past tense In Part 4 use the technique that works well for you – some prefer to read each question and then scan the text. guess as there are no marks deducted for incorrect answers. how much time) • be familiar with the task types in ICFE • understand the marking system (e. You may get a few of the answers as you read and that is a good start In Parts 1-3 read carefully around the gap – what comes before and after can impact on the word required e. they are likely to be distracted and not use the time profitably. more marks for Writing Part 2 means allow more time to spend working on Part 2) • read every question carefully If candidates are unfamiliar with the practical aspects of the examination.when you find a possible answer. Check the construction of sentences. some prefer to read the first text and scan the questions In Part 5 read the text carefully paragraph by paragraph.g. see if it matches any of the options (A. • • • • • 20 . You might prefer to work on the longer texts first but be careful to leave time for Parts 1-3 In Parts 1 -3 read the text through first for general meaning.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 4.

move to the next question and use the second listening to find the missing answer In Part 3 there is time to write your answers while you listen – remember to read the sentence through after you have written your answer to make sure it is grammatically correct and that you have not included any words in your answer that are already on the page In Part 4 there are two questions for each speaker Copy your answers carefully onto the answer sheet at the end and make sure that you have kept the correct numbering If you have any gaps at the end.4 Listening • Remember you will hear everything twice so don’t worry if you do not get the answer first time . guess as there are no marks deducted for incorrect answers.as you write.3 • • Writing Allocate time carefully . • • • 4.g. explain or give details) . they do not have to be developed equally but each must be addressed When you have finished.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 4. • • • • 21 . remember to check that you have addressed the function – is there an explanation in your answer? Be sure of the correct ways to begin and end formal letters In Part 2 check the 4 content points – make a plan of what you will include in each point and remember.Part 1 has 40% of the marks and Part 2 60% so you need to spend more time planning and writing the Part 2 task In Part 1 check the 5 content points and highlight or underline the functional verb or expression (e. read through your work and check it carefully especially for spelling and singular/plural agreements – also check that any long sentences are punctuated correctly to help the reader follow your answer.

if possible – using examples gives you the opportunity to describe or explain something It is important to look interested – it gives you and your partner confidence 22 .ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 4.5 Speaking • • • • • • Be ready to speak – but be sensitive to your partner when you are working together In Part 1 make sure you are ready to describe your work or studies clearly – add some information but don’t produce a long rehearsed answer In Part 2 indicate how you have planned your talk – say how many points you are going to make and refer to them during your talk In Part 3 involve your partner but don’t ask him/her questions all the time – say what you think first and then let your partner speak – be sure to take turns In Part 4 develop your answers with examples.

loan providers. intangible. cash / bank balances).ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Appendix A Topics in international finance and accounting. suppliers. management. government. gross/net profit margin) Understanding the role of efficiency ratios (e.g. tax not yet due. Financial Accounting Financial Reporting Functions of key financial statements: • Income statement • Financial position statement Relationship with cash flow statement Value added statement (sales less all bought-in goods & services) and how it is distributed (to employees. The list is not exhaustive.g. shareholders. borrowed capital. employees etc 23 . current ratio) and long-term solvency (debt ratio) Measuring a company’s performance: benchmarking (internal. lenders.g. investments) & current assets (inventories. external. reinvested) Difference between long-term assets (tangible. suppliers. receivables. goodwill and the financial position statement How depreciation of assets works Categories of payables (e. dividends awaiting payment date etc) Reasons for leasing vs hire purchase Profit: understanding role of financial ratios (return on equity. shareholders. customers. return on capital employed. turnover of capital. This grouping has no significance in terms of the content of ICFE examination papers. inventories turnover etc) Examining a company’s short-term liquidity (quick ratio. best practice) Users of accounting information and decisions they take: e. The topics have been grouped in terms of how easily they might be dealt with in a preparation course.

make decisions: e. sales area. cost data.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Cost and Management Accounting Cost and management accounting Financial information allowing management to plan. to calculate profit at given selling price. profit margin. why profit margins vary.g.g. pricing. invoicing etc) to identify overhead costs with products that incur them Break-even analysis and its limitations Understanding product profitability: • profit margins: key accounting ratios (return on capital. measure performance. budgeted costs Difference between direct/indirect costs (overheads). product costs. markets. compatible with longer term aims Difference between revenue budgeting (forecasts of sales revenue & operating costs) and capital budgeting (plans for capital expenditure on projects or assets) For capital budgeting see under Financial Management below Budget preparation: who is involved. control. months) Production budget (products. which departments. turnover of capital). cost control) Ways of costing products / services including marginal costing and standard costing Ways of charging overheads to different product lines Activity-based costing: analysis of overhead costs into activities (e. materials handling. when. how companies set their targets • contribution analysis (sales less variable costs) and how products contribute towards fixed costs Pricing: financial factors and strategies involved in the pricing process Advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing Budgetary processes Main purpose of budgetary control: short-term financial plans to meet objectives in coming accounting year. cost of labour & materials) Departmental overhead budgets Cash budget & budgeted cash flow statement 24 . between fixed/ variable costs Importance of knowing total cost of a product / service (for inventory valuation. different budgets • • • • Sales budget (customers. price.

internal rate of return Role of taxation (payments & savings) and inflation in investment appraisal Managing working capital. diversification. cost saving. profit centre.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Increasing role of forecasting in budget preparation Budget reports: comparing actual results with budget Financial responsibility centres: investment centre. accounting/true rate of return. replacing machinery. net present value. cost centre Flexible budgets: purpose and use Financial Management Company financial strategy Companies as wealth creators (definition of value added) Raising & deployment of finance Cost of capital and role of risk Investment proposals: reasons (expansion. finding balance between liquidity & profitability Managing cash: • cash budget • budgeted cash flow statement Managing payables Managing inventories (physical inventories / salaries & overheads = work-in-progress) 25 . purchasing vs leasing. new product. comparing similar investments etc) Investment appraisal (comparing benefits with costs) Advantages & disadvantages of different methods: payback.

helping companies to raise capital • representing companies in mergers & acquisitions Other services (consulting. legal action Advantages of factoring & invoice discounting arrangements Raising capital Sources of new capital for new investments: • new borrowings • retained profit • share issues Cost of borrowed capital & cost of equity capital Capital gearing (relationship between borrowed capital and owners’ capital) Advantages & disadvantages of loans vs overdrafts Investment banking The role of investment banks as: • intermediaries between companies & investors. warnings. research etc) Venture capital companies: specialists in finding venture capital (funds for new enterprises) Risk assessment & analysis Specific risk (applies to particular business) Systematic risk (effect of global or macro-economic events) Ways of reducing risk in investment appraisal Bankruptcy and insolvency Examining a company’s short-term liquidity (quick ratio.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Debt recovery & Credit Policy Checking creditworthiness of customers. any cash discounts for early payment etc Dealing with late payers: reminders. stopping supplies. trade indemnity insurance against bad debts Terms of sale: length of credit period. current ratio) and long-term solvency (debt ratio) (see under Financial Reporting above) Ways of restructuring debt Winding up an insolvent business 26 .

ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation The Stock Market Barometer of business confidence & source of investors for companies Factors affecting share prices include: • economic indicators • changes in government. dividends • changes in management • industry-specfic issues • new share issues Reasons why companies go public Company dividend policy & role of shareholders Mergers and acquisitions Difference between a merger / a take-over or acquisition / a management buy-out / a management buy-in Reasons for mergers and takeovers Hostile / friendly takeovers Types of integration and their purpose: vertical / horizontal / lateral Assets and company valuations Valuing a business: • value of assets (role of goodwill) • earnings per share • stock market value (if public company) International trade: the role of exchange rates in overseas transactions and their effect on bookkeeping procedures Why exchange rates change Other risks associated with exchange rates and ways of minimising risk (forward buying of foreign currency. forward contracts etc) Foreign exchange & currency 27 . international events • announcement re profits.

ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Further accounting and finance-related areas Auditing Function of the audit report Possible areas of qualification (e. financial advice etc Taxation (Non jurisdiction specific in ICFE) Positive & negative aspects of company taxation Role of capital allowances Maximising gain from taxes and allowances Economic conditions affecting business performance (employment. retail sales. employer liability. inflation. productivity. building societies. level of consumer borrowing etc Economic conditions and forecasts 28 . professional liability. keeping inadequate records. property etc) Other services insurance companies offer including investment and risk analysis. private banks.g. central banks etc) Types of insurance companies and their business: • • • general insurance life insurance reinsurance Banking Insurance Types of insurance needed by businesses (e. growth (general economy & specific industries). interest rates. money supply etc) Forecasts which impact on business strategic planning including GDP. overvaluation of stock etc) and their impact on company concerned Differences in roles of external auditors and internal auditors Accounting Software packages Key role of software in complex transactions: • handling cost data / cost coding • budget preparation and financial modelling • investment appraisal What makes a good accounting software package Banking products and services Roles of other types of financial institutions (investment banks. earnings.g.

bribery. insurance claims. banking. ethical behaviour The role of corporate governance in detecting / preventing fraud Internal controls within businesses. creative accounting. insider trading. relations Professionalism with shareholders. career development and continued training How accountancy firms are structured and operate. dealing with clients Careers in related fields (insurance. independence of auditors. fund management.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Environmental and sustainability issues Climate change / energy issues / transportation / waste disposal / new technologies / resources / pollution etc. How such issues impact on business decisions – what financial benefits can green policies bring companies? Ethics and The company in society: corporate social responsibility. business analyst etc) Forensic accounting 29 . career planning. fraud etc. a responsible Board. money laundering. disclosure and transparency. WorldCom Corporate governance Regulation and supervision of companies to ensure accountability of individuals Principles include fair treatment of shareholders. taxation. recovering proceeds of crime. bankruptcy. avoidance of conflicts of interest Sarbanes-Oxley 2002 The role of a forensic accountant and areas in which they are involved (e.g. political activity etc Identifying irregular accounting procedures: misleading financial information. Ref Enron. fraud etc) The skills needed by forensic accountants Professional practice Accountancy as a career.

etc. within a reasonably short time.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Appendix B Can Do Summary levels C1 Listening and Speaking Can follow discussion with only occasional need for clarification Can deal with unpredictable questions Reading and Writing Can understand the general meaning of more complex reports Can. write a report that communicates the desired message Can write most correspondence he / she is likely to be required to do Can argue their case effectively and specify needs precisely Can engage in an extended conversation with colleagues and clients on matters within their authority/competence Can Do Summary levels B2 Listening and Speaking Can ask for factual information and understand the answer Can ask questions. understand most reports that they are likely to come across Can. advise. given enough time. Can write non-routine correspondence where this is restricted to matters of fact 30 . while following a lecture. and present arguments to a limited extent Can give a simple. talk or presentation Can express own opinion. prepared presentation on a familiar topic Reading and Writing Can understand the general meaning of non-routine correspondence Can understand the general meaning of a report even if the topic is not predictable Can write a simple report of a factual nature and begin to evaluate. for example for clarification.

I ….. jobs of the future * Units 11 + 12 Balance sheets from UK / USA companies Key vocabulary & terms Expressing opinion Agreeing and disagreeing ESOL web Reading Activity Financial Word Building ESOL web Speaking Activity Formal Job Interview Follow-up work: * Unit 13 Liabilities ICFE Sample Reading paper Part 1B (use key to check) 31 . . After –ing . not as good / challenging as . agreeing / disagreeing. have plans to . hope to . Reading: skimming & scanning Reading: longer text for main points and opinions Listening: for main points ESOL web Listening Activity Focus on Predicting LBS podcast re finance courses * Unit 3 Descriptions of courses & seminars (internet – accountancy firms) Follow-up work: Reading text about future of profession (internet) Source a balance sheet for session 2 2 ICFE topic(s) Financial Reporting: basic terms Language Comparing (UK & USA) Skills Reading: word combinations and word formations (suffix.. CUP 1 ICFE topic(s) Accountancy as a profession Roles in profession Qualifications Study and training opportunities Differences internationally Language I’m a … responsible for . prefix etc) How to record vocabulary effectively Speaking: expressing opinion.. In the future I’d like to . In the past I used to ..ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation Appendix C Ideas for an ICE Preparation Course * Professional English in Use – Finance I MacKenzie... but now ... explaining Speaking: giving information Balance sheet/Financial position statement Assets What are company’s most valuable assets? Future of profession (text from session 1).. etc Skills Speaking: answering questions & talking about job / professional studies including training opportunities Reading: matching exercises in * Unit 3.. better than . Language of comparison: ..

apologising Roleplay re company cashflow problems e. Speaking & Listening: working with a partner Formal letter language Writing: structure of formal letters and formulaic expressions Functions in writing: declining. declining * Unit 14 Short case study on cash flows (Glencoe nr 13) Newspaper article or short report(s) on companies currently in difficulty Follow-up work: read article on writing for N American business audience (conciseness. movements (* Unit 38) Skills Reading: handling matching exercises Listening: understanding detail and sentence completion. 150 words) 4 ICFE topic(s) Measuring company performance: ratios. refusing.g. Decisionmaker (CUP) A Year in Fashion ESOL web Writing Activities Formulaic Expressions Paragraphing a Text 3 Language for being polite. trends. apologising. Summarising decisions taken. liquidity Who uses company financial information Role of shareholders Language Language of referring to figures.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation ICFE topic(s) Financial Reporting: basic terms & concepts P&L Role of cash in business Reasons for company failures Language Key vocabulary & terms Describing and assessing Summarising Language for turntaking / initiating / asking for opinion / agreeing & disagreeing Skills Reading: handling gapped texts and reading for main points Speaking & Reading: evaluating & problemsolving. understanding figures and trends Speaking: preparing a long turn ESOL web Speaking Activity Discourse Management Skills ICFE Sample Listening Paper Part 3 (Talk to Shareholders) or LBS Podcast (Shareholder activism) How to organise discourse * Units 15 & 16 + 31 Glencoe Case Studies nr 12 Analysing and interpreting financial statements UBS podcast (New forecasts for 2008) Follow-up work: ICFE May 07 Reading Paper Part 3B Shareholders Draft ideas for answering ICFE May 07 Writing paper Part 2 32 . clarity etc) and make notes Draft a letter from bank to owner of fashion business (c.

ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 5 ICFE topic(s) Auditing Role of auditor and purpose of audit report Process of auditing (sampling / evidence) Differences between internal / external auditing Accounting software packages: draft answer to May 07 Part 2 * Unit 3 Language Key vocabulary and terms Skills Language for describing process Language for illustrating arguments & opinions Language for structuring a report. linking words Speaking: describing a process Speaking & listening: working with a partner. recognising function (handling matching tasks) Writing: referring to figures & trends. linking and developing ideas IIA website FAQ on internal auditing ICFE Sample Speaking paper part 3 Auditing Plain English website: reports. giving business advice Language for giving advice Language for describing and referring to figures and indicators Language of comparing and contrasting ICFE Sample Listening paper Part 4 ICFE Sample Writing paper Part 2 task Follow-up work: Report on airline expansion (200-250 words) 33 . fixed/variable costs Overheads Break-even analysis Advantages & disadvantages of outsourcing Unit 17 Onestopenglish ESP Bank Skills (Outsourcing) Language Key vocabulary and terms Skills Listening: interpreting context. Q & A Writing: how to structure a report.doc Business Writing Basics on onestopenglish website Follow-up work: Report on software accounting packages (200-250 words) 6 ICFE topic(s) The role of the Management Accountant Cost & Management Accounting: cost accounting Direct/indirect.

org. Prepare short oral report (2 minutes) 34 . 184 Ca.07 article Language Key vocabulary and terms Skills Language of comparing & contrasting Speaking: comparing & contrasting ideas (with partner).com (careers in investment banking) Practise terms in role play Executive Decisions (Budget Cuts) p.150 Follow-up work: ICFE May O7 Part 1 letter Language Key vocabulary and terms Skills Reading for detailed understanding (strategies for handling long text + multiple choice questions) Reading: predicting content from headings (internet text) Listening to identify context and opinions Language for explanation Linking expressions and referencing words Writing: explaining Writing: writing a cohesive letter ICFE sample Reading paper Part 6 (Company budgets) ESOL web Reading Activity Why it’s right ICFE May 07 Writing paper Part 1 task (raising capital) ESOL web Writing Activity Punctuation ICFE May 07 Listening Part 4 (investing in a company) 8 ICFE topic(s) Investment appraisal methods: advantages & disadvantages of methods Risk assessment Environmental & sustainability issues: opportunities & threats (draft list in pairs) Green companies: what does it cost * Unit 20 Wwf. negotiating Reading: scanning for information. researches how green measures are reported in company accounts and how cost is measured.6.3 Independent Business i.courses-careers.uk report ‘To Whose Profit?’ chart on p.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 7 ICFE topic(s) The budgetary process: who is involved & why Role of forecasting Company financial strategy: expansion Raising capital Role of investment banks & venture capital companies Draft plan for letter * Unit 22 + 28 + 41 Budgeting process chart in Mott p. intensive reading to understand text cohesion and coherence ESOL web Reading Activity (vocabulary brainstorm) ICFE May 07 Reading Part 4 (Social responsibility accounting) Follow-up work: each takes one company.

revision of discourse markers Listening for detailed information and opinion. comparing and contrasting Speaking: interacting with partner to discuss. evaluate. rank ICFE May 07 Reading Part 2 (Debt costs rise) ICFE May 07 Listening Part 3 (collapse of chain) Follow-up work: Write a report for a client company in severe financial difficulty explaining the measures that have to be taken to avoid becoming insolvent. 35 .ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 9 ICFE topic(s) Mergers & acquisitions Types of integration Company valuations Language Key vocabulary and terms Skills Language for reporting. modals for speculating. checking. expressing degrees of certainty Language for agreeing / disagreeing. McKinsey on Finance podcast (Is the M & A boom over?) ICFE sample Speaking test Part 3 + 4 (Takeover bid) * Unit 39 + 40 Macmillan Business Dilemma ‘takeovers’ with audio file & MC questions Follow-up work: report outlining for a client company the opportunities and threats involved with acquisitions (with illustrative example) 200 – 250 words 10 ICFE topic(s) Debt recovery and credit policy: dealing with late payers Bankruptcy: causes and procedures when companies become insolvent Restructuring debt Forensic accounting: definition and comparison of services from accountancy forms * Unit 42 Accountancy firms’ outlines of forensic services from websites ICFE sample Reading paper Part 5 (Investigative due diligence) Language Key vocabulary and terms Skills Reading: grammatical knowledge Listening for detailed information (sentence completion) Language for describing services. negotiating Speaking: sustaining a long turn (report back on green companies).

advising Speaking: sustaining long turn (tax services) + answering follow-up questions Language for discourse management.com podcast (Regulators should intervene in banking) 12 ICFE topic(s) Taxation: positive & negative aspects of company taxation Capital allowances Foreign exchange & currency: role of exchange rates in international trade Why exchange rates change.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 11 ICFE topic(s) Banking: specialised banks and their functions Central banks and the money supply Insurance: types of company. 27 * Unit 47 Newspaper article about current issues in banking or onestopenglish ESP Bank material on bank products & services Follow-up work: write a report for a new client company explaining what types of insurance is needed and why (with illustrative example) 200 words Language Key vocabulary and terms Skills Listening for opinion and attitude Reading for understanding main ideas FT. 25. Students gap them in 2 groups and exchange. ways for companies to minimise risk in overseas transactions (draft ideas for letter task) * Unit 49 Accountancyage website News section: select 2 short texts about taxation news. warning. Web search: accountancy firms offering tax services Follow-up work: write a letter to a new client about to start exporting overseas about the role of exchange rates 36 . Language Key vocabulary and terms Skills Reading for detailed understanding and knowledge of grammar and cohesion (gapped texts) Writing: a formal letter explaining. categories of loss and types of coverage needed by businesses * Unit 21 + 23.

ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 13 ICFE topic(s) The business economy Inflation: how it is measured and what it is influenced by Historical cost & inflation accounting Interest rates: their impact on business * Units 7 + 48 + 50 Times online podcast (Marks & Spencer’s 5 point eco plan) Language Key vocabulary and terms Skills Listening for specific information and opinion Writing: making effective notes McKinsey on Finance podcast (preparing for the next downturn) ESOL web Writing Activity (Making notes) Follow-up work: write up notes into a report on the M & S eco plan. 37 . likely cost and cost benefits and your opinion of it. 30. 32 Select internet site with share prices and compare movements Working Lunch BBC2 (daily update on share movements) Follow-up work: complete language exercises in * Unit 44 BusinessWeek podcast: (blue chips in triple-digit jump) Set of 12 very short comments on stocks. 200 words 14 ICFE topic(s) The Stock market: role in business Factors affecting prices of shares Reasons why companies go public Language Language for describing movement of share prices and company reaction Skills Listening for main points. key words Writing: making effective notes Revise language for letter writing * Units 29. its contents.

org. explaining. Useful sites include: Language Key vocabulary and terms Skills Reading for specific information Revise language for report writing Speaking: asking questions. asking for clarification ESOL web Reading Activity Reading faster ESOL web Writing Activity (error correction activity) ESOL web Speaking Activity (Language review: language of accounting) www.com Skills – Pronunciation (worksheets and audio files) www.onestopenglish.ICFE Guidelines How to design a teaching course for ICFE Examination Preparation 15 ICFE topic(s) Corporate governance: financial regulation and supervision Internal controls within businesses and conflicts of interest Role of internal auditor in detecting / preventing fraud * Unit 5 Institute of Internal Auditors website FAQ on internal auditing / governance Article(s) about Enron Pronunciation practice needs to be targeted at specific issues of individual nationalities.teachingenglish.uk Audio bank (audio dialogues and stress patterns etc) 38 .

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