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P7 | Advanced Audit and Assurance - (AAA) | Study Material

Studying P7

As the name implies, this exam examines advanced audit and assurance topics. P7 is one of the Professional level Optionals exams and, as such, candidates should carefully consider whether they have the required competencies.

The P7 exam team

The exam team expects you to demonstrate a highly professional approach to all questions, not only by presenting information in a professional manner, but also by integrating knowledge and core understanding of the topics of the entire syllabus. The exam team is also very interested in students demonstrating evidence of wider reading and demonstrating an understanding of the current issues that affect the audit and the assurance. At a minimum, you should read the Student Accountant. The exam team often examines the topics they have written in Student Accountant.

Syllabus update

The P7 syllabus was updated for September 2016 onwards. The full syllabus and the Study Guide can be found in this Study Text Book on pages xvi to xxvii.

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1 What is P7 about?

The objective of the syllabus is to analyze, evaluate and conclude on the commitment of assurance engagement and the other audit and assurance matters in the context of current best practices and developments. The exam is based on the topics covered in F8 Audit and Assurance, but as an advanced exam, it demonstrates much more than your knowledge of ISAs and your ability to list standard audit procedures. You should be able to apply your knowledge to more complex audit and assurance scenarios, identifying and formulating the work required/needed to meet the objectives of the audit and non-audit tasks/assignments and to evaluate the findings and results of the work performed. The accounting knowledge examined in SBL is also assumed. Therefore, candidates studying for P7 should consult the Accounting Standards contained in SBL.
The syllabus is divided into seven main sections:
  1. Regulatory environment
  2. This section presents the legal and regulatory environment, including corporate governance issues. It also examines money laundering problems and consideration of laws and regulations.

  3. Ethical and professional considerations.
  4. The details of the various ethical codes should be familiar to you in your previous studies, however, the importance of this topic should not be underestimated. The exam team has indicated that ethical and professional problems are likely to arise in each session. This section also covers fraud and professional responsibility, which are topical issues.

  5. Practice management
  6. This part of the syllabus covers quality control, tenders and professional appointments. It also covers advertising, advertising, obtaining professional work and fees.

  7. Audit of historical financial information.
  8. This is the largest section of the syllabus that analyzes in detail the procedures involved in a variety of audit and assurance tasks. The review team has indicated that evidence gathering is a key part of the syllabus and is likely to appear in each session. The requirements are likely to focus on specific claims, balances or transactions.

  9. Other tasks
  10. This section also covers a range of audit and assurance services. The exam team has emphasized the need for candidates to address this type of scenario.

  11. Reports
  12. The details of the audit reports will be familiar to you in your previous studies. At this level, you are expected to apply this knowledge to more complex scenarios. The review team has also emphasized the importance of the relationship between financial information and auditing. This will be particularly important when an appropriate audit opinion is formed. This section of the syllabus also includes reports for administration and other reports.

  13. Current problems and developments
  14. Current problems and developments include a wide range of topics that include the IAASB clarity project, professional, ethical and corporate governance, information technology, startup, transnational audits and social and environmental auditing. The review team has indicated that this is likely to be examined in each session and that candidates are expected to read the issues themselves. You should be able to discuss current problems in the context of a customer scenario.

2 Skills you have to demonstrate

2.1 Knowledge and application

Even with the exams you have done before, you will remember that passing did not only mean reproducing knowledge. You also have to apply what you knew. On a professional level, the balance leans much more towards the application. You will need a solid technical knowledge base. The exams will detect if you have the necessary knowledge. However, it will not happen if you only spend your time getting knowledge. Developing application skills is vital.

2.2 Application skills

  • A thorough the understanding of the relevant audit, assurance and financial information regulations that are included in the syllabus
  • The ability to apply knowledge to specific customer scenarios
  • The ability and capability to have an independent opinion, backed by reasonable arguments
  • An assessment of the factors Commercials that influence practice management
  • An appreciation of rapid developments in audit and assurance practices
The P7 exam team made very much similar comments in several recent examiner reports, which is very important that we will cite it here. These traps tend not to change from the year to year:

'Factors similar to those detailed in previous examiner reports continue contribute to "unsatisfactory" approval rate:
  • Not responding to the specific question requirements
  • Do not apply knowledge to the question scenarios
  • No explain or develop points in sufficient detail
  • Lack of knowledge in certain areas of the syllabus
  • Unreadable handwriting
'' As seen in previous sessions, what actually makes the difference between an approval and error script is generally the level of application skills They have been proven. Candidates who respond to the specific requirement of the question and adapt their responses to the scenarios provided to you are likely to get good results. ''

3 How to pass

3.1 Study the entire syllabus

Study the whole syllabus. Although Section B of the exam contains an optional part, the two questions provided in Section A are mandatory and could cover a variety of topics throughout the syllabus. In addition, the questions in Section B may focus on several areas of the syllabus, so if you have not studied the entire syllabus, you may not be able to answer any of the questions in Section B as a whole. The detection of questions at this level is imprudent and not recommended.

3.2 Focus on topics, not lists

There are quite a few lists in the Texts. This is an inevitable because technical guidance often comes as a list. Lists are also sometimes the safe and clearest way to present information. However, the exam team has emphasized that passing an exam is not at all a matter/question of learning and reproducing lists. Good responses will have to be focus on the details of the scenario and highlight the underlying issues related to the scenario. The points on them will have more vital and depth than a series of single-line bullets.

3.3 Read around

Read the financial statement and relevant websites to see real-life examples: the exam team is specifically looking for an evidence of a wider reading. Read Student Accountant regularly (ACCA student magazine): it often contains technical articles written by or someone else on behalf and on the recommendation of the exam team that may be invaluable for future exams, especially since they tend to focus on examinable areas of the syllabus.

3.4 A lot of question practice

It is possible for you to develop application skills by trying to solve questions in the Exam Question Bank and then in the Learning Media Practice and Review Kit.

4 answering questions

Practice the questions as many as you can in timed conditions: this is the actually best way to develop a good exam technique. Use the question bank at the end of this text. The practice and review kit contains numerous standard exam questions (many of them actually taken from previous exams), as well as three simulated exams for you to try.

The questions in Section A will be the type of case study question: be sure to match your answers to the scenario instead of being generic. It is unlikely that the answers that simply regurgitate the texts get a high score.

Present your answers in a professional manner: there are between approximately four and six professional qualifications available to establish the answers correctly and for consistent and well structured arguments and recommendations. You must aim to achieve all these brands.

Carefully consider the requirement of the question to answer the actual set of questions.

Answer plans will help you focus on the requirements of the provided question and allow you to manage your time indeed.

Answer the question you feel most comfortable with first: it will help you calm down if you feel You have given answered the first question well.

5 Gaining professional marks

As P7 is a Professional exam, four professional level marks will therefore be awarded in a Section A question. These are marks assigned not by the content of an answer, but by the degree of professionalism that with which certain parts of the response are presented.

The exam team has stated that some marks may be available to present their response in the form of a memorandum, letter, presentation, report, informational notes, management reports, narrative or press release/statement. You can also get marks for the logical flow, layout and presentation of the answer. You should also be sured that you provide the actual points required by the question.
Whatever the form of requirement/communication requested, you will not get professional marks if you do not follow the basic principles of good communication. Watch your spelling and the grammar. Also think carefully, am I writting the things that are appropriate and suitable in a business communication?

6 Brought forward knowledge

The P7 study syllabus assumes the knowledge provided by F8 Audit and Assurance. It also require knowledge from Exam F7 Financial Reporting and Paper SBL. It is indeed very important to be comfortable very much with your financial reporting studies because these are likely to be drawn upon by the scenario-based questions in Sections A and B of this paper. The P7 exam team has written a series of articles relevant to the P7 exam and it is strongly recommended that you read them.

Revising P7

Topics to revise

Paper P7 is a challenging higher level paper consisting of two compulsory case-study style questions in Section A (worth a total of 60 marks) and two out of three short scenario questions in Section B (worth a total of 40 marks).

The P7 examination team has stated that planning and risk assessment are key areas which are likely to form part of a compulsory question. Evidence is also likely to feature in Section A. Reporting could come up in either a compulsory or optional question (although it has tended to be optional), similarly ethical and professional issues. Current issues could come up anywhere on the paper so it is important that students do not ignore this area and make sure they keep up to date by reading Student Accountant and reviewing the accountancy and financial press. It has been a feature of P7 in recent years for questions to mix together several different syllabus areas. One consequence of this is to make it more difficult for candidates to avoid areas of the syllabus that they do not like.

One of the general features of Professional level papers is the availability of professional marks. These will generally be awarded in Section A and comprise four marks. They will be awarded for the degree of professionalism with which answers are presented. For example, if you are asked to set out your answer as a letter or a report, marks will be awarded for presentation – using the correct heading at the start, and including an appropriate introduction and conclusion. Other professional marks could be awarded for the form of your answer such as the structure or logical flow of arguments. Where professional marks are available then the question requirement will state this.

To summarise, although this paper does contain an optional element, we strongly advise that you do not selectively revise certain topics – any topic from the syllabus could be examined. Selective revision will limit the number of questions you can answer and hence reduce your chances of passing.

Question practice

You should use the Passcards and any brief notes you have to revise the syllabus, but you mustn't spend all your revision time passively reading. Question practice is vital; doing as many questions as you can in full will help develop your ability to analyse scenarios and produce relevant discussion and recommendations. Make sure you leave enough time in your revision schedule to practise Section A questions, as these questions are compulsory in the exam. The scenarios and requirements of Section A questions are more complex and will integrate several parts of the syllabus, so practice is essential. Also ensure that you attempt all three mock exams under exam conditions.


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