The November 2020 ICAEW Case Study Advance Information is available to download from the Case Study Resources page and you should download this now.
For the next 6 weeks you are Ollie Phelps, a final-year trainee ICAEW Chartered Accountant, working in the business advisory unit of Galbraith Worthy (GW), a firm of ICAEW Chartered Accountants with offices throughout the UK.
One of your clients is BEAL Publications Limited (Beal), a company which publishes the MLE (Management, Lifestyle and Economics) magazine in both online and hardcopy (print) versions. It operates from a site in London. The online version of MLE is available to be purchased from anywhere in the world, but the print version is sold in the UK only. You report to Lettie Pass, a partner in the business advisory unit.
The first rule of passing the Case Study exam is stated clearly in the AI by the examiners:
You must carry out sufficient and appropriate analysis work of your own in order to have a detailed understanding of the Advance Information.
Most importantly, YOU must complete this analysis, YOU must understand the business.
So, where do you start?
Your first job is to learn about Beal and the UK magazine publishing industry as if it were your own. Students studying with Training-by-Eos should have already completed their Mastering Case Study programme to have a strong foundation and understanding of how to use the Advance Information. Now it is a case of building a robust set of AI notes to serve you well in the exam. For those of you studying with Training-by-Eos you can now log into your dashboard to access the course materials to begin your AI Analysis.
As you progress through your AI analysis it is important to consider political, social, economic and environmental factors within your analysis. These are the factors that will shape your conclusions and recommendations to the board. However, take heed of the advice issued by ICAEW and do not get sidetracked with basing much of your analysis around the current Covid pandemic.
The ICAEW exams and learning materials are prepared ahead of each exam session. While ICAEW aims to reflect real life in the exams, the scenarios, characters and businesses presented are fictional and reflect the economic circumstances at the time of writing. The 2020 exams and learning materials were prepared before the coronavirus pandemic began and when you sit your exam in 2020, they will not have been amended to reflect the economic, business or financial impact of the pandemic. However, the exams have been reviewed to ensure that they are still a viable, objective test of the competencies and skills required for your qualification.
In particular, some exam question scenarios may relate to an industry, sector or business on which the Coronavirus has had an impact. Where analysis of that scenario is required, it may be relevant to mention briefly in your answer the implications of coronavirus. However, you should not dedicate substantial time or focus on these implications. You should focus on answering the question appropriately, using the technical knowledge and skills as set out in the ICAEW learning materials.