The ACA professional level Audit and Assurance (AA) exam is likely to be one of the first professional stage exams sat by candidates.
This exam builds on the knowledge learnt from the certificate level Assurance exam and introduces some much more complex areas of Audit and Assurance.
Along with Financial Accounting and Reporting, I would say that this exam is probably the most useful in terms of how the content is likely to impact your day-to-day work, especially if you work in audit. It should also be noted that this exam is built on or tested further in the later stages of the ACA, particularly in the later Corporate Reporting exam at the advanced level.
In this exam, those who work in audit have an advantage in that the exam is very familiar and is similar to actual work you will likely already be doing. However, that is not to say that those who don’t work can’t pass the exam. In general this exam should be more than passable for all candidates.
Overview of ACA Audit and Assurance exam
|Legal and other professional regulations, ethics, accepting and managing engagements and current issues||35%|
|Planning and performing engagements||40%|
|Concluding and reporting on engagements||25%|
Method of assessment
The FAR exam itself is 2.5 hours and given it forms part of the Professional level, it can only be sat in one of the quarterly exam periods, which are in March, June, September and December.
As such, in each exam sitting all candidates will be set the same questions.
The exam consists of 6 short form questions and 3 longer questions which will carry a broadly similar weight.
Given that this exam is at the professional stage, students will also be permitted to bring in their own permitted materials.
How to pass ACA Audit and Assurance exam
My biggest tip for this exam would be to get to grips with the auditing standards guide. You need to make sure your copy of the auditing standards is tabbed up in a way which allows you to quickly flick to a specific section in a matter of seconds. You will learn that the answer to almost all of the exam questions will be hidden inside this book, and therefore being able to quickly navigate to the answer is a huge help in this exam.
My other big tip to ace this exam is to learn and memorise which auditing tests are required to audit each financial statement line item. As such you need to be able to know instantly which tests to perform for a given account (PPE, Inventory etc).
As with previous exams, practice is key in this paper. The question bank will be key in passing the exam so make sure you have answered a good selection of questions from each key syllabus areas (as noted above).
How hard is the ACA Audit and Assurance exam?
I would say that this is the easiest of the professional stage exams and middle of the road in terms of difficulty when compared to all 15 ACA exams. I found this exam tricky to begin with as but once you master the question bank and tab up your auditing standards guide, you should have no problem passing the exam.
I would give this exam a 2 out of 5 for difficulty.
The pass rate for this exam is 82.98%