ACCA-SBL-Strategic Business Leader
The aim of the exam
The aim of the Strategic Business Leader (SBL) exam is to demonstrate organisational leadership and senior consultancy or advisory capabilities and relevant professional skills, through the context of an integrated case study.
The examination requires candidates to demonstrate a range of professional skills demanded by effective leaders or in advising or supporting senior management in directing organisations.
The basic structure of each exam will require the candidate to take the role of an organisational leader or as a consultant or adviser to senior management.
For example, in exam question, candidates might be asked to adopt the role of an external management consultant throughout the case. Another approach of the examiner could be testing candidates’ knowledge by asking them to play multiple roles throughout the question papers. That could include roles of being the chairman of the nominations and corporate governance (NCG) committee in one question. In another question, they might be asked to play the role of an assistant auditor or a project manager. In each scenario candidates were expected to “get into character” and be very careful to consider who they were working for and who the report was for and what they required.
- The strategic leader
Being a leader
Increasingly the role of accountants is that of professional advisors and leaders within business.
A leader is expected to be able to:
- analyse a business situation and
- provide and implement appropriate, effective and sustainable solutions
This means that they can:
- be clear and focussed, identifying the key issues in any situation
- analyse and address ethical concerns
- use technical models and quantitative analysis to draw out key issues, establish causality and integrate a wide range of factors into a coherent argument
- make clear recommendations that meet and exceed the needs of users and are ‘fit for purpose’.
The SBL exam will test the extent to which you can fulfill this role and demonstrate this skill set.
Strategic analysis is covered in great depth within the strategic business leader syllabus but at this stage it is sufficient to remind you of the key chararcteristics of thinking strategically.
Having a strategic perspective means the following:
- Taking a long-term perspective.
- Looking at the whole organisation as well as individual products / divisions / strategic business units (SBUs).
- Setting the direction of the whole organisation and integrating its activities.
- Considering the views of all stakeholders.
- Analysing the organisations resources and defining resource requirements.
- Relating the organisation to its environments.
- Looking at gaining a sustainable competitive advantage.
In the exam most, if not all, of the questions will have a strategic context, so you will have to pitch your answer accordingly.
- Professional skills
Employability and professional skills
Employers have consistently informed the ACCA and other professional accountancy bodies that their employees need to possess certain professional and ethical skills, in addition to the technical knowledge and skills that they expect of a qualified accountant.
The main capabilities that employers are seeking in qualified accountants are the ability to communicate appropriately, demonstrate commercial acumen, deploy analytical skills, adopt a sceptical stance and evaluate data and business information effectively.
These form the basis of the professional skills listed in the syllabus:
- Commercial acumen
On successful completion of this paper, candidates should be able to:
- Apply excellent leadership and ethical skills to set the ‘tone from the top’ and promote a positive culture within the organisation, adopting a whole organisation perspective in managing performance and value creation.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the governance and agency system of an organisation and recognise the responsibility of the board or other agents towards their stakeholders, including the organisation’s social responsibilities and the reporting implications.
- Evaluate the strategic position of the organisation against the external environment and the availability of internal resources, to identify feasible strategic options.
- Analyse the risk profile of the organisation and of any strategic options identified, within a culture of responsible risk management.
- Select and apply appropriate information technologies and data analytics, to analyse factors affecting the organisation’s value chain to identify strategic opportunities and implement strategic options within a framework of robust IT security controls.
- Evaluate management reporting and internal control and audit systems to ensure compliance and the achievement of organisation’s objectives and the safeguarding of organisational assets.
- Apply high level financial techniques from Skills exams in the planning, implementation and evaluation of strategic options and actions.
- Enable success through innovative thinking, applying best in class strategies and disruptive technologies in the management of change; initiating, leading and organising projects, while effectively managing talent and other business resources.
- Apply a range of Professional Skills in addressing requirements within the Strategic Business Leader examination and in preparation for, or to support, current work experience.
This paper is considered as the foundation paper or the backbone paper of the ACCA Strategic Professional level. Passing this paper ahead of any other papers of the Strategic Professional level will help students to have a better understanding of the real-life business case scenarios. Moreover, it will help them to gain confidence and competency required to pass the optional level papers.
- Lectures: 26
- Revision class: 4
- Progress Tests: 2
- Mock Tests: 2
- Duration: 4 Months
- Course level: Strategic Professional level
- Language: English
- Students: 25
- Certificate: No
- Assessments: Paper Based Exam
- Lectures 0
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 6 Months
- Skill level Advance levels
- Language English
- Students 0
- Assessments Yes