ICYMI: 2019 CIMA Professional Qualification Syllabus

Changes are a-coming.

Perhaps the post title is a bit miswritten. I don’t really think anyone’s missed the announcement or introduction of a new Professional Qualification syllabus. CIMA has certainly been very vocal about the changes.

But in case you have forgotten (perhaps this is the more appropriate word to use), the updated syllabus is now examinable.

The last objective tests under the previous 2015 syllabus were those tests taken on or before 3 November 2019. After this date, the 2019 Professional Qualification syllabus is in effect.

For the case study exams, the February 2020 sitting will feature the 2019 Professional Qualification syllabus for the first time.

So what’s changed? Let’s break it down subject by subject…

So what’s changed? Let’s break it down subject by subject.

For F1, there has not been a lot of changes. Some contents were moved around within F1 framework, but most remained the same. The only change worth noting is that any content related to group accounts has now been moved to F2.

For P1, no major changes except for some content movement within the same framework.

E1 gathered the most change in the operational levels with the inclusion of digitisation and technology as important topics in the new syllabus. E1 removed the topic area relating to “introduction to organisations” and has replaced this with three new topic areas (technology in a digital world; data and information in a digital world; shape and structure of the finance function).

Onto management level, F2 has a newly included topic area of integrated reporting on top of its old syllabus topics, as well as the group account contents coming in from F1.

P2 notes no major changes except for some content movement within the same framework.

For E2, the new syllabus offers 3 topic areas (business model and value creation; managing people performance; managing projects). “Business model and value creation” is a newly created topic areas for E2, which bumped off the old topic of “introduction to strategic management” to E3.

For F3, like some of the other subjects, some content movement within the framework occurred. Plus, F3 also welcomes “Financial risks” as a new topic in its fold. “Financial risks” used to be covered under P3.

Although it lost “Financial risks” to F3, there is no shortage of risk topics to cover in P3. P3 still maintains “Enterprise risk”, “Strategic risk”, “Internal controls”, and now can even add “Cyber risk”.

Lastly, for E3, most content remains. E3 even adds the topic “Introduction to strategic management” in its arsenal. E3 also replaces the topic “Role of information technology in organisation strategy” with just simply “Digital strategy”.

As can be seen with the changes, the syllabus values digitalisation and what it has contributed and how it has evolved the accounting profession.

How does this change the exams?

For objective test (OT) exams, they pretty much stayed the same. The effect is more on the topic areas covered for each subject. This will matter the most if you are taking an OT exam soon. A quick glance through of the 2019 syllabus may be a good idea just so you can get your bearing as to what is still in and what is now out.

For case study exams, there is a more pronounced change. The format stays the same although the markings will now be done differently (this will be another blog post on its own, watch this space). The exam week will dwindle down to 3 days (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) as opposed to the prior 5 days (Tuesday to Saturday). Except for the February 2020 pre-seen material, future pre-seen materials for the case study exams will be shared between two sittings (May and August, November and February).

For more information, here’s a copy of the 2019 CIMA Professional Qualification syllabus. This is also available on CIMA’s official website.

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