Tackling the new FAE syllabus and the year ahead

Nov 05, 2019
The Institute has introduced an overhauled syllabus for FAE with the aim of better preparing students for the real world after qualification. John Munnelly explains the changes you can expect this coming year.

Candidates, welcome to what is shaping up to be an exciting year for FAE. FAE 2019/20 is the first sitting of the newly overhauled FAE syllabus. There are some interesting changes up ahead. This article will detail some of the changes that have occurred to the FAE programme for 2019/20. 

Your Core syllabus

Congratulations – you have made it to FAE. Here is a quick summary of the changes that you can expect:

- The Core suite of examinations is now a single examination on one day, not two.
- The Core syllabus has been revised; there are now four topic areas as follows:

  • financial reporting;
  • strategic management and leadership;
  • data analytics, artificial intelligence and emerging technologies; and
  • risk management and sustainability.
In the first instance, candidates are advised to obtain a copy of the 2019/20 FAE Competency Statement, available here. A more detailed breakdown of the topic areas is provided.

The third syllabus area – data analytics, artificial intelligence and emerging technologies – contain several world firsts for accountancy education. Chartered Accountants Ireland has collaborated with a number of world leaders to develop syllabi suitable for FAE. 

Data analytics

In data analytics, the Institute has partnered with The Information Lab to develop a teaching syllabus in data preparation and data visualisation. As part of the studies, candidates will be provided with software licenses to Alteryx (data preparation software) and Tableau (data visualisation software). 

Candidates are recommended, where possible, to download these licenses to their own personal laptops. There will be an education overview session in the use of these tools to allow candidates to practically apply the concepts and theories of this syllabus. It is hoped this will copper fasten the theoretical learning.  

Artificial intelligence

In the artificial intelligence (AI) module, candidates will get to grips with the pillars of AI. Chartered Accountants Ireland has collaborated with UiPath, a global leading robotic process automation company, to develop a syllabus on Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This will teach candidates to recognise the conditions where the case for automation can be made and give candidates an ‘automation first’ mindset. Chartered Accountants Ireland is pleased to announce that as part of this module, candidates will be granted a UiPath software licence and will receive a hands-on session to build a ‘bot’ to help underpin the conceptual learnings in this topic area. 

Once again, candidates are recommended to download these licenses to their own personal computers, where possible.

Emerging technologies

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have come to prominence over the past few years. The emerging technologies area contains a module on both to allow candidates to form an introductory understanding of the principles contained therein. 

Next steps for candidates

First, Candidates should start the 2019/20 year by downloading a copy of the most recent October 2019 FAEC report

Second, candidates should lock down their elective choice (if they haven’t done so already).

Third, candidates should immediately focus attention towards the upcoming Core Interim Assessment in December 2019. This is the first leg of the Core examination and candidates can earn up to 15% of the final grade. 

This examination, known as the Advanced Application of Financial Reporting Principles (AAFRP), is a financial reporting examination.  As we do every year, we remind candidates not to jettison their learning or studies in this area. Financial reporting is a fundamental part of the final Core examination next August 2020. 

Enjoy your studies.