Planning ahead for 2018 Professional Level changes

The ACCA are redesigning the Professional level of their qualification with the aim to give students the strategic abilities and advanced skill set required of modern accountants, with a real world focus to help students handle the challenges of the workplace.

We have compiled the following information to provide detail and guidance to help students understand what is happening and how to navigate through the changes.

Key facts – what is changing?

  • The Professional level will be called Strategic Professional
  • The essentials will now consist of two new papers
  • Strategic Business Leader - a new  four hour case study exam replacing P1(Governance, Risk and Ethics) & P3 (Business Analysis)
  • Strategic Business Reporting - a new exam replacing P2 (Corporate Reporting)
  • A new Ethics and Professional Skills module will replace the current Professional Ethics Module
  • The Professional Level option papers will continue to consist of 4 papers where students select 2 from 4, however there will be syllabi updates and new exam formats
  • All remaining modules will be renamed with the numerical naming conventions (e.g. F1, F2) removed from the titles

More Info Visit ACCA

Key dates – when are the changes taking place?

  • The Ethics and Professional Skills module will change from 31st October 2017
  • The new exams will become examinable from the September 2018 sitting onwards
  • The final opportunity to sit any exams under the existing structure will be June 2018
  • There will be no overlap

More Info Visit ACCA

Professional Level exams

Strategic Business Leader
Strategic Business Reporting
Ethics and Professional Skills

Ethics and Professional Skills Module

This is a new module focusing on employability and professional skills with ethics at the core which is sat via the ACCA website from 31st October 2017. Students are eligible to sit this when they start their P papers.  More information on the Ethics and Professional Skills Module can be found on the ACCA website

BPP’s Recommended Route

Our recommended route is detailed below:

  • For the Exams on Sitting, F5-P7, we recommend students to aim for 4 papers per year
  • Students can spread these across whichever sittings they find most convenient to them
  • They may wish to do one paper at each of the four sittings, two papers at two different sittings, or any other combination
  • ACCA allow “free progression” at the Professional level, meaning students could elect to sit their options papers (two from P4, P5, P6 or P7) before their essential papers (P1, P2, P3)
  • BPP recommend that students attempt the essentials papers first for the following reasons:
    • The essentials papers introduce and develop essential professional skills, better preparing them for the challenging options papers
    • The essentials papers cover Assumed Knowledge for some options papers e.g.
    • P1 and P2 contain Assumed Knowledge for P7
    • P3 contains Assumed Knowledge for P5

Transition Rules - Our Advice for P1, P2 and P3

With only 3 sittings to go before the introduction of the Strategic Professional Level and the 4 hour Strategic Business Leader Case Study exam we recommend that if students are nearing completion of the Fundamentals Level (F papers) or are commencing the Essentials papers following the recommended route they should make sure that they attempt P1, P2 and P3 before ACCA launch the new Strategic Professional papers as no partial credit is available for passing one of either P1 or P3. So we therefore recommend that you attempt and pass BOTH of these two papers in good time before the changes take place before the September 2018 exam sitting.

  • If a student has passed both P1 and P3 before September 2018 they will be given a converted pass for the new Strategic Business Leader case study exam.
  • If a student has passed P2 before September 2018 they will be given a converted pass for the new Strategic Business Reporting
  • If a student has passed the existing Professional Ethics Module by October 30th 2017, they will not have to sit the new Ethics and Professional Skills module

Plan your next ACCA sittings

Discover BPP's advice on the remaining sittings by selecting the number of papers you have remaining from the list below:


December 2017

We would recommend you complete P1 and/ or P3.

March 2018

We would recommend you complete P3 or P2

December 2017

We recommend that you complete your 1 remaining F paper and P1

March 2018

We recommend that you complete P1 and/ or P3

December 2017

We recommend completing your remaining F papers.

March 2018

We recommend completing P1 and P3