How to pass Financial Management

Prepare to succeed

Financial Management (previously known as F9) is a step up from the underpinning Financial Accounting (FA) exam – as all the Applied Skills exams are, compared to their Applied Knowledge counterparts. In FM you will have to interpret requirements and then plan and write long answers to scenario based questions.

Syllabus focus

Exam preparation

  • Section A and Section B Objective Test questions are worth a total of 60% of the marks, and could be drawn from any part of the FM syllabus. It’s important that you have a broad knowledge of the syllabus, so aim to know something about every topic, rather than trying to gain perfect knowledge of just a few of the topics.

  • Practice past papers and mock exams under timed conditions on a CBE exam platform. Don’t make the mistake of just reading past papers - you need to make an attempt at answering the questions fully.

Stocks and Trading Screen

Steps for CBE exam success

Answer all the objective test questions. If you can, eliminate the options that you think are incorrect, and then guess, or simply choose one of the remaining options. Whatever you do, make a selection. You have a 25% chance of getting it right.

Tips for Section C

  • Copy and paste the requirements into word processor answer space and calculate the time allocation for each requirement.

  • Plan your answer in the answer space – this will save you time and produce a better structure.

  • Show all your workings – even if you get the calculation wrong, you may get marks for the parts of the calculation that you did correctly.

  • Make an attempt at all parts of the requirement. If there is a calculation that you are really stuck on, simply use a placeholder figure, and carry on with your response. You won’t get the marks for the calculation, but you may get the marks for the rest of your answer.

  • FM requirements will involve verbs such as ‘describe, compare, identify or discuss’. Make sure that you do what you are instructed to do. If you are asked to ‘discuss’, ‘justify’ or ‘explain’, try to use the word ‘because’ in your answers, to remind yourself to justify your response and link back to the scenario.

  • Cross reference to the spreadsheet for any calculations 

  • Answer the questions in the order they appear in the exam – otherwise you will waste time deciding which one to do first, and you are very likely to spend too long on your favoured questions and run out of time on the others. It is relatively easy to pick up the first few marks on a question. It’s really hard to get all of the marks. So, spend your time wisely – stick to the allocation of 1.8 minutes per mark.

  • Use the scenario to decide which calculations to perform

  • Use the scenario for supporting evidence to explain the situation


Tips for using the spreadsheet

  • Use the spreadsheet for any signification calculations

  • Format as much as is needed for clarity – there are no extra marks for making it pretty

  • Label each of your calculations with a heading and make sure you have presented them clearly. For example, indicate whether variances are adverse or favourable. A minus sign is not enough to indicate an adverse variance. You must type ‘adverse’

  • Make sure you make full use of the functions within the spreadsheet to help avoid calculation errors. Remember the spreadsheet can be used to add up your figures or you can use the equals function to re-use numbers already calculated above.

  • Practice using the spreadsheet, especially the functions, before the exam. SUM, NPV and IRR are all essential to know.

Key Resources

  • Financial Management (FM) was previously known as F9, and while there have been some changes to the exam, the F9 resources on the ACCA website will still be useful to you for FM.

  • Spreadsheet skills: Step by step guide for spreadsheet techniques