Latest developments from the F8 examiner - Alan Lewin

At the ACCA teacher’s conference, a presentation was made which discussed students’ performance in F8 Audit and Assurance, and provided insights into how performance can be improved. It was announced that Alan Lewin is to step down as F8 examiner, and from June 2010, a new examiner, Pami Bahl will take over Alan’s role.

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Common problems seen on students’ scripts included:
 Weak answers are produced on audit reports, going concern, and computer audit.
 Students seem not to understand the difference between tests of control and substantive procedures.
 Students sometimes fail to provide specific audit procedures, instead describe generally the type of audit work that is needed.
 Answers on the impact of audit risk on audit strategy or approach are weak.

There were however some strong points in students’ scripts:
 Students do well on factual questions which rely on rote-learning.
 Time management is not a problem, most students attempt the required number of questions.
 Questions on identifying control weaknesses and recommending improvements tend to be answered well.

The following tips were given to candidates attempting F8:
 Factual knowledge should be underpinned by an understanding of how an audit works in practice.
 The verbs used in question requirements are important. If you don’t understand the verbs that are commonly used, you will fail to answer the question in the right way.

Read the examiner’s article from April 2008 to gain an understanding of this issue.
 The examiner recommends spending a short time planning answers, especially for Q1, where there will be a detailed scenario to understand.
 The new examiner stated that the F8 paper will not change substantially when she begins to write the papers for June 2010 onwards.

ACCAHELP advises all F8 students to:

 Put in plenty of question practice, using past F8 questions. Make sure you use up to date questions from approved study material.
 Make sure you are happy with the financial reporting issues that are likely to feature in this paper - issues such as non-current assets, provisions and contingent liabilities, and events after the reporting period feature regularly.
 Make sure you read all of the relevant technical articles, which are available on the students’ resources of the ACCA website. Passacca recommends the following articles: ‘Audit and Assurance Assistance’ from April 2008, ‘Ready to sit paper P8’ from October 2008, and ‘ISA 240 revised’ from March 2009.[/SHOWTOGROUPS]