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CIMA T4 Exam Guides

TOPCIMA CIMA T4 | CIMA T4 Exam Guide

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See a sample of a strategic analysis of a previous T4 Preseen here

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T4 TOPCIMA - Report Writing and Part b

The typical requirement used in virtually all exams over the last 10 years is as follows:

“Prepare a report that prioritises, analyses and evaluates the issues facing the company, and makes appropriate recommendations.”


This represents 90 marks in the exam. It is crucial then, that you approach and structure the report correctly. You need to know the key report sections, their order, and the structure required in each of these sections.


By relating each section to the marking criteria you are then able to write a report that will earn good marks, and by understanding timings for each section ensure you complete the report. Combining all three elements together is critical to passing.

T4 TOPCIMA The Report Structure - Video Guide


The Report Format


To see an example of the expected format of answers see the solutions to the mock exams. An explanation of the typical report format, as suggested by the examiner, is as follows:


Title and Contents page

Introduction

A brief background on the company and current position of the industry. Aim to include an industry example for a diversity mark.

Terms of reference

Sets the scene of who you are – e.g. a management accountant, to whom the report it to and its purpose.

Prioritisation section

Identify and prioritise the main issues facing the company, showing the top four issues in priority order together with justification for the ranking of these issues.

Issues analysis

This is the main body of the report and should be divided up into sections which should include an analysis of each of the issues prioritised. For each issue discuss the impact this issue has on the company and its stakeholders and discuss a range of strategic alternatives to overcome these issues. Discussion should be supported by theory and supporting calculations where relevant (which can be shown in appendices).

Ethical issues

Ideally three ethical issues will be dealt with, explaining the issue in depth and offering clear recommendations.

Recommendations

This is the most important part of the report. Each recommendation should be clear and well justified, including clear action steps for the way the issue should be dealt with. The majority of students do not write enough in this section - depth and detail are required.

Each issue should have its own subsection, and each subsection should have three sub-headings (1) Recommendation (2) Justification and (3) Action points. Keep to this structure for every issue, and give plenty of detail, particularly for the justification which is the most important section.

Conclusion

Brief closing comments

Appendices

(1) 2-3 strategic models - one must be a SWOT, which includes all unseen issues as a minimum. The most popular other models are Mendelow’s Stakeholder Map, PEST analysis and Ansoff’s Matrix.

(2) Calculations

Appendices must be referred within the report.


Part b


The part b requirement is worth 10 marks and aims to test your ability to present complex information simply. It is based around one of the unseen issues, but not necessarily that of the highest priority. Students are expected to go beyond a re-statement of their report to consider additional points, and the appropriate formatting.


The requirement could be to write slides for a presentation, notes to accompany a presentation, an email, a letter or a memo, and could include drawing a graph.


The examiner produced a very useful and detailed guide to the part b when this was introduced as a requirement in 2010. This is available here:


Examiner’s Part b Guide