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BPP’s guide to the CIMA 2015 syllabus changes

A handy guide outlining the changes CIMA are making to the syllabus from 2015 and our advice on the steps you should take to ensure you are in the best position.

we think you will benefit by having an easy to digest overview of the new syllabus. The most significant change is around the exams themselves. Here at BPP we recognise how important it is for you to be able to plot your way through the qualification in a way that meets all your needs. You will see that CIMA are taking big steps to bring their assessment style up to date and. This is going to directly impact the majority of you as your studies progress through 2014 into 2015.so please rest assured that BPP will provide you with exactly what you need to confidently pass your newstyle exams in 2015 and beyond. Head of CIMA Programme Passing professional exams is a significant challenge. At this relatively early stage.” . So. using a PC is replacing pen and paper. help and support you need to ensure your route to Chartered Management Accountant status is as smooth as possible. five years have nearly gone by and the next new CIMA syllabus is on the horizon. although there are quite a few topics moving between papers. as well as some simple to follow advice on how best to direct your studies during 2014. We are constantly evolving to ensure we stay one step ahead of the professional education market . as in today’s office. You will see that the syllabus content itself isn’t changing vastly. so we’re going to provide all the information.Introduction by Steve Malpass. and how your learning will be assessed. and one that needs innovative solutions.

1. which used to happen at Strategic Level. as these have proven to be a success in the 2010 syllabus. The current names of the papers don’t really tell you what they cover clearly enough – so you’ll see a move away from the convention whereby a paper name is derived purely from the pillar and level it is in. the T4 exam that used to represent the final hurdle in the qualification. CIMA have taken steps to make the progression up each pillar more defined. As you’ll see in the detailed syllabus changes. You will see within the detailed assessment changes that this has been replaced with an integrated Strategic Level Case Study exam (which is pretty much what T4 used to be if you think about it). However. The new names will be much more meaningful in the wider business environment. bar your Practical Experience Requirements. as opposed to moving between them.e. with core topics being examined within a single pillar. Member of CIMA Practical Experience Strategic Level E3: Strategic Management P3: Risk Management F3: Financial Strategy Practical Experience CIMA Adv Diploma in Management Accounting Management Level E2: Project & Relationship Management P2: Advanced Management Accounting F2: Advanced Financial Reporting CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting Operational Level E1: Organisational Management P1: Management Accounting F1: Financial Reporting & Taxation CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting C1: FMA C2: FFA C3: FBM C4: FBE C5: FBL . The most obvious change here is the absence of T4 Part B – i. CIMA have recognised two areas that could be improved and taken action accordingly.How are the papers changing in the new syllabus? The three levels and the three pillars are remaining. Please note that CIMA Certificate Level is unaffected by any of these changes. 2.

as is some of the human capital section. moves from E3B. from external and internal perspectives. considers ethical issues. and from E2C. same weighting Stays the same. Managing the Finance Function New section on the purpose of the finance function. but introduces big data and digitisation (20% to 15%) Operations Management Marketing What does this mean compared to the old one? Going out Emerging markets. but introduces the role of big data in marketing (20% to 15%) Coming in Managing Human Resources From E1E (20% to 15%) E2 Paper A Strategic Management and Assessing the Global Environment Some of this is from E1A. and the impact of big data on areas like marketing and IT. enabling them to create the vision and direction for the growth and long-term sustainable success of the organisation.What does this mean for the papers I’ll be studying in 2015? E1 Paper A B C D E F Introduction to Organisations New section.but expanded and updated 15% Coming in . which are covered in E2 and E3. More on ethics. Evaluation of Strategic Position and Strategic Options Leading Change Stays the same. Brand new topics around the purpose of the finance function. same weighting Implementing Strategy Stays the same. plus expanded coverage of the role of information systems in operational strategy (some of which used to be in P3). level of detail reduced (to be covered in CPD) Coming in E3 Paper A B C D Interacting with the Organisation’s Environment Stays the same. political. Managing Change Through Projects Comes from E2B. Stays the same. economic and social factors – moving to E2. partly from E1A. It lays the foundation for gaining further insight into both the immediate operating environment and long-term strategic future of organisations. regulation and professional behaviour Here’s CIMA’s description of the new E1 paper 25% 15% 15% 15% 15% 15% E1 focuses on the structuring of organisations. Emerging markets. B C D The Human Aspect of the Organisation Managing Relationships Follows on from E1F. This involves successfully managing and leading change within the process of strategy formulation and implementation. It builds on the understanding of organisational structuring gained from E1 and is centred on the concept of strategy and how organisational strategy can be implemented through people. people. It provides the basis for developing further insights into how to formulate and implement organisational strategy. moves from 30% to 15% What does this mean compared to the old one? Going out Nothing significant has been removed from this paper. which is covered in E3. otherwise stays the same as E2A Here’s CIMA’s description of the new E2 paper 30% E2 syllabus emphasises a holistic. integrated approach to managing organisations. process. their efficient management and effective interaction in enabling the organisation to achieve its strategic objectives. and how it supports other areas and strategies. as well as covering structure. processes and relationships. as is some of the human capital section. political. and comes partly from E1E. Managing Technology and Information Stays the same. E3 aims to develop the skills and abilities of the strategic leaders of organisations. from E1C (20% to 15%) Stays the same. It covers the structure and principles underpinning the operational functions of the organisation. E The Role of Information Systems in Organisational Strategy New topic combined from areas previously covered in E1B and P3D . Old topic E2C now covered in E2B & C (overall weighting similar) 20% 20% 20% What does this mean compared to the old one? Going out Some of the detail around project management is leaving the syllabus altogether. projects and relationships. moves from E2C. projects. same weighting Here’s CIMA’s description of the new E3 paper 20% 30% 20% 15% The E3 syllabus builds on the insights gained from E1 and E2 about how organisations effectively implement their structures by aligning their structures. economic and social factors – coming from E1.

Managing Risks Associated with Capital Investment Decisions This content has transferred from F3 . Coming in P2 Paper A B C D Cost Planning and Analysis for Competitive Advantage Stays the same. It shows how to manage and control the performance of various units of the organisation in line with both short-term budgets and long-term strategy. Coming in P3 Paper A Identification. More on budgeting (from P2) and lots on short-term decision-making like relevant costing. It covers budgeting as a means of short-term planning to execute the strategy of organisations. In addition it provides competencies on how to analyse information on costs. P1 provides the foundation for cost management and the long-term decisions covered in P2. It provides the basis for developing deeper understanding of various types of risk affecting the strategy and operations of organisations (covered in P3). 20% to 30% Long-Term Decision Making Generally comes from P1C and P2A. Classification and Evaluation of Risk Responses to Strategic Risk Partly drawn from P3B. products and prices (also to P1). More on ethics and board responsibilities. evaluate and apply the techniques. Long-term project appraisal (from P1) and a new section on risk (to plug previous progression gap on risk between P1 and P3). P2 builds on the insights of costs and their drivers (from P1) to provide the competencies needed to analyse. volumes and prices to take short-term decisions on products and services and to develop an understanding on the impact of risk to these decisions. Short-Term Decision Making From P2A. evaluate and manage various risks that could adversely affect the implementation of the organisation’s strategy. P2 covers investment decision making and the risks associated with such decisions. but elevates ethics and board responsibilities Consolidation of risk from other pillars.P1 Paper A B C D Cost Accounting Systems Budgeting Stays the same. emphasising ethics and governance Here’s CIMA’s description of the new P3 paper 20% P3 shows how to identify. The time focus of P1 is the short-term. 25% to 30% Management Control and Risk New area of risk introduced in management level to link between risk at operational and strategic levels What does this mean compared to the old one? Going out Some budgeting (to P1) and anything relating to shortterm decision-making like relevant costing. from P2B. B C D E 20% 20% 20% 20% Internal Controls to Manage Risk Draws content from P3A-C Managing Risks Associated with Cash Flows Generally covers the same content as P3D What does this mean compared to the old one? Going out Coming in A small part on risk and control in information systems to E1. but with the focus on short-term product and pricing decisions Dealing with Risk and Uncertainty Stays the same. Control and Performance Measurement of Responsibility Centres Expanded coverage from P2D. more on strategic risk from other pillars. processes and internal control systems required to manage risk. same weighting as P1D What does this mean compared to the old one? Going out Project appraisal (going to P2). and working capital management (going to F1). 30% to 25% Here’s CIMA’s description of the new P2 paper 25% 30% 30% 15% Focusing primarily on the long-term. overall weighting comparable Here’s CIMA’s description of the new P1 paper 30% 25% 30% 15% P1 stresses the importance of costs and the drivers of costs in the production. analysis and use of information for decision making in organisations. plan and manage costs to support the implementation of the organisation’s strategy. This insight is then used to show how to manage the risks associated with both cash flows and capital investment decisions – two important areas of organisational life for which the finance function is responsible. Finally. same weighting Budgeting has been consolidated from P1B and P2C. plus specific section on capital investment risks (from F3). products and prices (also from P2). It provides the competencies required to analyse.

Using insights gained from F1 and F2. It covers how to effectively source the long-term finance required to fund the operations of organisations. The competencies gained from F1 form the basis for developing further insights into producing and analysing complex group accounts (covered in F2) and formulating and implementing financial strategy (covered in F3). Financial Reporting Stays the same. same %. from F1C (60% to 45%) C Management of Working Capital. It also gives insight into how to effectively source and manage cash and working capital which are essential for both the survival and success of organisations. incorporates F2A and B (35% to 60%) Analysis of Financial Performance and Position Stays the same (35% to 25%) What does this mean compared to the old one? Going out Developments in external reporting that relate to standards covered in F1 will now be examined in F1. from F1B (15% to 10%) Here’s CIMA’s description of the new F1 paper 10% 45% F1 covers the regulation and preparation of financial statements and how the information contained in them can be used. Coming in F3 Paper Formulation of Financial Strategy A Same coverage. F2 Paper A B C Sources of Long-Term Finance Updated coverage. Coming in . F3A Includes GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework and IIRC guidance Here’s CIMA’s description of the new F3 paper 25% F3 focuses on the formulation and implementation of financial strategy to support the overall strategy of the organisation. Financial Accounting and Reporting Stays the same. 30% to 35% 35% 40% Corporate Finance Similar coverage. Sources of long-term finance (from F3).F1 Paper A B Regulatory Environment for Financial Reporting and Corporate Governance Updated coverage. from F3B Here’s CIMA’s description of the new F2 paper 15% 60% 25% F2 builds on the competencies gained from F1. investment appraisal (to P papers). Finally it develops the competencies required to value investment opportunities including the valuation of corporate entities for mergers. same coverage product and pricing decisions 20% D Fundamentals of Business Taxation Same coverage 25% What does this mean compared to the old one? Going out Coming in Nothing significant has been removed from this paper. The final part focuses on the basic principles and application of business taxation. New topic on sustainability reporting. B C Financing and Dividend Decisions Same coverage. but investment appraisal moved to P pillar (45% to 40%) What does this mean compared to the old one? Going out Sources of long-term finance (to F2). It also deepens the coverage of financial reporting to more complex aspects of group accounting and analyses the rules governing the recognition and measurement of various elements of the financial statements. particularly their capital investments. It provides the competencies required to produce financial statements for both individual entities and groups using appropriate international financial reporting standards. Working capital management (from P1). acquisitions and divestments. Finally it shows how to analyse financial statements to provide insights about the financial performance and position of the organisation over time and in comparison with others. and bits on developments in external reporting (from F2). it provides the competencies to evaluate the financing requirements of organisations and the relative merits of alternative sources of finance to meet these requirements. Cash and Sources of Short-Term Finance Come from P1E.

How will the exams change? Integrated case study at strategic level to replace T4B as the capstone assessment Strategic Level Integrated Case Study (ICS) E3 (OT) P3 (OT) F3 (OT) Here’s some more information on the two different kinds of exams New Objective Test (OT) exams • On PC • 90 minutes long • Short-questions. F2 (OT) • Can be sat at any time – immediate results Management Level Integrated Case Study (ICS) E2 (OT) P2 (OT) New Integrated Case Study (ICS) exams Operational Level Integrated Case Study (ICS) E1 (OT) P1 (OT) F1 (OT) • On PC • Three hours long • Long questions – similar to what we currently see in the exams • Questions will cover individual papers – total 100 marks • Will be available in quarterly exam sittings (Feb/May/Aug/Nov) – although the very first sitting will be in March 2015. Must pass/be exempt from all OT exams in a level before can sit that level’s ICS exam 2. Regardless of your level our advice here is similar overall . You will see below that there’s three significant changes: 1. All exams will now be PC-based 2. multi-response. analysis and evaluation. Case study/pre-seen style exams are being introduced to ALL levels of the qualification Each paper will have its own exam as in the current syllabus. results 3-4 weeks later (tbc) • Pre-seen case study – based at all levels Computer based objective tests to test knowledge and understanding with only a bit of application. Cannot sit more than one ICS in any sitting What are the transition rules if I’m already studying? Lots of students will be part way through the qualification at the end of 2014. Progression Rules The new syllabus and exam structure is pretty straightforward in terms of the rules around progressing through the qualification. More exams will be ‘on demand’ – so you can sit them when you want 3. including multi-choice. The good news here is that any papers passed in the current syllabus do not need to be taken again in 2015. that will include questions going across all three papers within a level. You must pass the Operational Level ICS before moving onto the Management Level OT exams and you cannot sit Management Level ICS until passed Operational Level ICS 3. etc. but it will be a computer-based objective test (OT) exam.try to pass as many papers as you can in the current syllabus! .try to pass as many papers as you can. one exam. data entry. based around a case study. 1. A sensible target is to at least complete the level you are on by the end of the year (so you avoid having to sit the new Integrated Case Study exam for the level). What are the most significant changes to the exams? By far the biggest change that will impact you in the new syllabus is the style and format of the exams that you will sit. but designed and structured to assess higher levels of understanding – so these are NOT just going to be multi-choice exams! As well as this each level will have its own integrated case study (ICS) exam – so. Put even more simply . fill-in-the-gaps. The case studies will test application. similar to what has been used for many years at Certificate Level. There are some rules around what this means in terms of the exams you’ll need to sit in the new syllabus. This means we are about to see the end of written exams in the CIMA qualification. This exam will also be on a PC.

.which papers should I study in the second half of 2014? This will depend on where you are in the qualification when you get your May 2014 results in July. The following three tables provide detailed advice. Also benefit from studying a Management Level paper within the current (very well understood) syllabus Passing them both means you won’t have to do the new ICS exam for Management Level. based around how many papers you have left to sit in a particular level. If three is too many then make the most of the current syllabus and study two Management Level What if I have… …one paper left to sit in Nov 2014? …two papers left to sit in Nov 2014? …three papers left to sit in Nov 2014? What should I do in 2nd half of 2014? Definitely sit this Why is this a good idea for me? If you pass then you won’t have to do the new ICS exam for Management Level. can resit in Nov 14 if needs be) Sit it in Aug/Sept 14 . Also benefit from studying a Management Level paper within the current (very well understood) syllabus Passing them both means you won’t have to do the new ICS exam for Operational Level.. just start on new Strategic Level Passing all three would mean you bypass the ICS exam.And finally. Operational Level What if I have… …one paper left to sit in Nov 2014? …two papers left to sit in Nov 2014? …three papers left to sit in Nov 2014? What should I do in 2nd half of 2014? Definitely sit this paper and think about a Management Level one too Sit them both in the 2nd half Do all three if you can! If not then follow usual route Why is this a good idea for me? If you pass then you won’t have to do the new ICS exam for Operational Level. If three is too many then make the most of the current syllabus and study two Sit them both in the 2nd half Do all three if you can! If not then follow usual route Strategic Level and T4 What if I have… …one paper left to sit in Nov 2014? …two papers left to sit in Nov 2014? …three papers left to sit in Nov 2014? …just T4 to go What should I do in 2nd half of 2014? Definitely sit this Sit them both in the 2nd half Sit them in 2nd half Why is this a good idea for me? This will just leave you with the ICS exam for Strategic Level in the new syllabus This will just leave you with the ICS exam for Strategic Level in the new syllabus Benefit from studying Strategic Level within the current (very well understood) syllabus Avoids the alternative of having to sit new ICS exam for Strategic Level in 2015 plus two chances under same pre-seen (i.e. just start on new Management Level Passing all three would mean you bypass the ICS exam.