Level 7
Level 7 Qualifications for Fellow Qualified Accountants (FQA)
NOTE: These Qualifications are currently NOT regulated in the United Kingdom.

Qualifications in this group provide a number of Core Essential Skills that you can add to those you have gained at Levels 4, 5 and 6. They are ideally suited to supporting your application to become a Fellow Registered Qualified Accountant, and will further enhance your portfolio of skills in order to assure your progress towards becoming a Fellow Qualified Accountant (FQA).
The Fellow Qualified Accountant is a Fully Qualified Professional Accountant operating at the Strategic level. They are competently qualified to manage the financial, management, and strategic aspects of organisations of any size. They may typically find themselves employed in large organisations in business critical positions normally at board level or working as partners and senior consultants specialising in all aspects of accounting and business matters.

Level Descriptor

Achievement at this level reflects the ability to reformulate and use relevant understanding, methodologies and approaches to address problematic situations that involve many interacting factors. It includes taking responsibility for planning and developing courses of action that initiate or underpin substantial change or development, as well as exercising broad autonomy and judgement. It also reflects an understanding of relevant theoretical and methodological perspectives, and how they affect their area of study or work.

The table below describes the Qualifications available at this Level:

Level 7 Qualifications for Fellow Qualified Accountants
Unit Title (Exam Code) Credit Value GLH Level
Strategic Business Planning (4.1) 14 140 Level 7
Strategic Financial Planning (4.2) 12 120
Strategic ICT Planning (4.3) 11 110
Total Credit Value: 37 370
Exam Unit: Strategic Business Planning (4.1)

Learning Outcome

To demonstrate a thorough understanding of Strategic management and its role in the process of specifying an organization's objectives, developing policies and plans to achieve these objectives, and allocating resources so as to implement plans.

Setting the Goals of the Organisation:
1. The identity of stakeholders
2. Mission statements
3. Corporate social responsibility
4. Setting strategic objectives
5. Critical success factors
6. Meeting the objectives of shareholders
7. Objectives of not-for-profit organisations
8. Competing objectives

Appraising the Environment:
1. The importance of the business environment
2. Causes of environmental uncertainty
3. Competitor accounting
4. The global economic environment
5. The domestic economy
6. National competitive advantages
7. Country analysis and political risk
8. Sources of environmental information

Position Appraisal and Analysis:
1. The SWOT analysis
2. The position audit
3. Value chain analysis
4. Benchmarking
5. Gap analysis
6. Scenario planning

Strategic Aspects of Marketing:
1. Sources of earnings
2. Product life-cycles
3. The BCG portfolio matrix
4. Direct product profitability
5. The nature of a marketing audit
6. Customer profitability analysis
7. Brand strategies
8. Relationship marketing
9. Data Warehousing and Data Mining

Strategic implications of IT:
1. The Strategic case for IT investment
2. Using IT to gain competitive advantage
3. Using IT for competitive advantage
4. Value-added networks
5. Using e-commerce for competitive advantage
6. The need for information system strategies
7. Collaborative strategies
8. Developing an information systems strategy
9. The changing role of the IT department
10. Organisational knowledge management
11. Developing a knowledge strategy

Strategic Options and their Evaluation:
1. Three sets of strategic choices
2. Porter's generic competitive strategy model
3. Product-market strategies
4. Alternative growth strategies
5. International growth strategies
6. Resource-based versus positioning view of strategy
7. Divestment strategies
8. Strategic options in the public sector
9. Strategic options in the charity sector
10. Evaluation of strategy

Organisational Impacts of Business Strategy:
1. leading issues in business organisation
2. Organisation Theory
3. Contemporary approaches to organisation
4. The network organisation
5. Business process re-engineering
6. New patterns of employment
7. Strategic change

Implementing and Controlling Plans:
1. Theories of control
2. The functions of performance measurement
3. Conventional profit-related measures of business performance
4. Value-based management approaches
5. The role of the corporate centre in control
6. Management accounting and performance measurement
7. Multidimensional performance measurement
8. Stakeholder measures
9. Additional control mechanisms
10. Multinational industries

Exam Unit: Strategic Financial Planning (4.2)

Learning Outcome

To demonstrate an understanding of contemporary thinking on strategic financial management. To be able to utilise the tools, evaluate strategic financial options, and evaluate and propose financial strategy for the enterprise.

Formulation of Financial Strategy:
1. Objectives of profit-making entities
2. Objectives of not-for-profit organisations
3. Public and private – similarities and differences
4. Assessing attainment of financial objectives
5. The three key decisions of financial management
6. Policies for distribution of earnings
7. Developing financial strategy in the context of regulatory requirements
8. Major economic issues
9. Modelling and forecasting cash flows and financial statements
10. Current and Emerging issues in financial reporting

Financial Management:
1. The treasury function
2. Financial markets
3. Share price volatility
4. The efficient market hypothesis
5. Investor ratios
6. Working capital management strategies

Sources of Long-term Finance:
1. shareholders’ funds
2. Raising share capital – the stock market
3. Debt finance
4. Medium-term financing
5. Financing of small businesses

Capital Structure and Cost of Capital:
1. Measuring gearing
2. Cost of capital
3. Weighted average cost of capital
4. Marginal cost of capital
5. The traditional theory of gearing
6. Modigliani and Miller’s theories of gearing
7. Cost of capital and adjusted cost of capital
8. Risk and reward
9. Portfolio theory
10. The capital asset pricing model
11. Using the CAPM as an investment tool
12. MM, CAPM and geared betas
13. Use of CAPM in investment appraisal
14. Arbitrage pricing model

Business Valuations:
1. Methods of company valuation
2. Business valuations and efficient markets
3. Intellectual capital
4. The impact of changing capital structure
5. Recognition of the interest of different stakeholder groups in company valuations

Mergers, Acquisitions and Buyouts:
1. Terminology and types of merger
2. The reasons for merger or acquisition
3. Defences against takeover
4. Methods of payment for an acquisition
5. The post-merger or post-acquisition integration process
6. Reasons why merges and acquisitions fail
7. Management buyouts
8. MBOs and other forms of reconstruction

Investment Appraisal Techniques:
1. Accounting rate of return
2. Payback
3. Discounting techniques
4. Capital rationing
5. Annual equivalent cost

Advanced Investment Appraisal Techniques:
1. Taxation
2. Inflation
3. Working capital
4. Identification of a project’s relevant costs and benefits
5. Linking investment in IS/IT with strategic, operational and control needs
6. Adjusting for risk
7. Evaluating and reporting investment opportunities
8. Adjusted present value
9. Assessing investments as options
10. Project implementation and control
11. Post-completion auditing

Financing and Appraisal of Overseas Operations:
1. Financing overseas operations – a global strategy
2. The effect of restrictions on remittances
3. the Euromarkets
4. The effect of taxation
5. International capital budgeting
6. APV method

Exam Unit: Strategic ICT Planning (4.3)

Learning Outcome

To demonstrate a sound understanding of the strategic nature of information and information systems within a modern business. The Learner should be able to fully appreciate the critical and integral importance of technology and how it can enable an organisation to gain a competitive advantage over its most fierce rivals.

Management & Information:
1. Information requirements of an organisation
2. Information requirements of managers
3. Decision making
4. Types of information systems
5. Executive support systems
6. Management information systems
7. Decision support systems
8. Knowledge work systems
9. Office automation systems
10. Transaction processing systems
11. Expert systems
12. Value and cost of information

Strategic role of IS:
1. Information systems strategy
2. IS and strategic planning
3. The IS role in an organisation
4. Quality of IT systems
5. IS management challenges
6. Using IS
7. Ethical issues

Knowledge Management:
1. Definition of KM
2. Distribution of knowledge
3. Sharing of knowledge
4. Creation of knowledge
5. Capture and codification of knowledge
6. Problems with KM

Data Management:
1. Databases
2. Database structures
3. Database design
4. Data mining
5. Data warehousing

IS Strategic Planning:
1. Information systems
2. Defining information requirements
3. Five-stage planning and review process
4. Business planning
5. Alignment of IS and business strategies
6. Business value of information systems

IS Strategic Analysis:
1. PEST analysis
2. Political forces
3. Economic forces
4. Social forces
5. Technological forces
6. PEST and strategic information systems
7. Information leadership

Business Strategy:
1. Formulating an IT strategy
2. Evolution of IT systems
3. Enterprise modelling
4. Automation and rationalisation
5. Business process re-engineering

Developing Information Systems:
1. Approaches to developing IS
2. Stages of the systems development life cycle
3. Soft systems methodology
4. Commitment, co-ordination and communication

Gap Analysis and Business Case Development:
1. General framework for business case development
2. Business analysis
3. Objective setting
4. Gap analysis
5. The applications portfolio
6. Developing a business case justification

IS and Competitive Position:
1. SWOT analysis
2. Turning business strategy into information strategy
3. Developing an information systems strategy
4. Competitive advantage
5. IT as a change trigger
6. IT as an enabler

IS / IT Management:
1. Acquiring computer services
2. Managing computer systems
3. Outsourcing
4. Arguments for and against outsourcing
5. Managing outsourcing arrangements
6. Acquiring software

E-Strategy:
1. The internet
2. Communications on the internet
3. Business impact of the internet
4. Intranets and extranets
5. Security and other risks
6. Globalisation
7. Developing a global strategy

Risk and System Implementation:
1. Causes of implementation failure
2. Systems implementation
3. Controlling project risk
4. Project management
5. The spiral model

IT and working practices:
1. IS as support for management
2. The use of critical success factors
3. Technological change and development
4. IS/IT and employer/employee relations
5. IS/IT and organisation structure
6. IS/IT and job structures
7. The impact of e-mail
8. Socio-technical systems design


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