Last week I attended the ACCA Tutors conference where we had chance to listen to guidance from the ACCA AFM Examiners.

For those planning to sit ACCA AFM in June, here is a summary of the key comments.

Split of Technical Marks

There is no absolute precise definitive allocation between computations & written, but of the 80 technical marks, the computations will range between 40-50.

Spreadsheet Functions/Shortcuts

Students are encouraged to use these functions (SUM, NPV, IRR, MIRR etc). They enable students to save calculation time.

However, the examining team asked students to take some care here.

For instance when using ‘SUM’, ensure that any subtotals are not double counted. Also, that costs have been included as a negative value in the relevant cells.

The ‘NPV’ function gives you the present value of the future cash flows commencing from time 1 onwards. Keep this in mind when using this function for project appraisal vs valuations.


These can be done within the spreadsheet cells as the marker’s can see the contents. However, workings do add clarity. They should be used as and when needed for this purpose.

Also, workings presented on the side of the main body of the calculation, that are clearly labelled enhances the professional look to student answers.

Calculator Values

If a value is computed outside of the spreadsheet and then punched into a cell is correct, full marks will be awarded. However, this is a risky strategy as if an error is made, the marker can’t give method marks.

Theory/Written Aspects

Students must know & learn the theory/written parts of ACCA AFM. Marks will only be awarded if relevant to the question scenario. That is of paramount importance.

Understand clearly the situation facing the company subsume that within your answer.

Question Practice

The examiners were clear that students should attempt exam standard in exam time & in full. Not to just do the calculations.

PS Marks

How the 20 marks of PS marks are allocated to Q1, Q2 & Q3 were confirmed. There was emphasis/reminder that the potential marks allocated exceeds the maximum that can be awarded which is in the favour of the students.

A good technical answer naturally should lead to good PS marks.

My Questions

I asked two issues which were very kindly addressed.

The MM + Tax equation is challenging to rearrange to find Kei for APV questions via the spreadsheet.

The response was the word processor could be used in this case to find Kei.

If a student uses a current piece of relevant business/commercial/ economic information to support their argument, would this been given PS marks ?

The response was based upon the key word “relevant” was key and it would be given credit.

Eg the current increase in base rates to control inflation,brings into question the validity that the risk free rate will stay constant.