The ACA Advanced level Strategic Business Management (SBM) exam is one of the final three exams sat by ACA candidates.
This paper has some quite technical areas which draw upon the knowledge developed in the FM exam, such as interest rate hedging and valuation. There are also more qualitative areas which are more focussed around identifying the external risks faced by businesses.
The SBM exam is quite an interesting paper and positions the student in more of an advisory position. As such, the answers are structured in a way that you are advising a client on how to manage a specific scenario.
Overview of ACA Strategic Business Management
|Business Strategy and ManagementFinancial Strategy||30-40%|
|Financial Structure and Financial Reconstruction|
Financial Instruments and Financial Markets
Method of assessment
The ACA Strategic Business Management exam itself is 3.5 hours and given it forms part of the Advanced level, it can only be sat in one of two exam periods. These are in July and November each year.
As such, in each exam sitting all candidates will be set the same questions.
The exam will contain questions requiring integration of knowledge and skills in proportion to the syllabus weighting outlined above, including ethics. The exam will consist of two questions, and ethical issues and problems could appear in either question.
The exam is fully open book and therefore students are permitted to take any written or printed material into the exam.
How to pass ACA Strategic Business Management Exam
Below I have outlined some key tips to pass the SBM exam:
Firstly, ensure that you are super confident with the more technical aspects of the syllabus, such as valuation and hedging. There is only a limited number of ways that these areas can be assessed during the exam, and therefore if your content knowledge and question practice has been done properly, this should stand you in good stead to pass this exam.
Secondly, make sure that you are very comfortable with the more qualitative questions. These questions are usually based around a company which faces a number of different challenges and risks. You need to ensure that you are comfortable identifying potential risks and solutions to these risks.
How hard is the ACA Strategic Business Management Exam?
As should be expected when you reach the advanced level, I would say that this is one of the harder exams when compared to all 15 ACA exams.
Though the content can be quite challenging, the exam is very passable if given enough time and practice as can be seen by the pass rate.
I would give this exam a 4 out of 5 for difficulty.
The pass rate for this exam is 86.23%