Unformatted text preview: Capstone
Candidate Resource Material August 2016 Copyright © Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand 2016. All rights reserved.
This publication is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Australia) and Copyright
Act 1994 (New Zealand), as applicable, it may not be copied, adapted, amended, published, communicated or
otherwise made available to third parties, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, without the prior written
consent of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Dear Candidate,
Welcome to the Capstone module of the Chartered Accountants Program. As your final module in
the Program, successful completion of Capstone is a major milestone on your journey to becoming a
Inside this pack you will find your Candidate Resource Material (CRM). Your CRM is slightly
different to the Candidate Study Guide (CSG) you are familiar with from the technical modules.
The CRM consists of the following sections: Overview, Activities workbook, Theory, Toolkit and
Measuring your performance. The Overview explains what is covered in each of the sections and how
to use the CRM.
We encourage you to log in frequently to myLearning, the online platform, from the outset of the
module, and take full advantage of the extensive resources available:
•• The announcements area is our primary point of contact with you. Here we provide you with
information on assessments, workshops, results, etc.
•• In the module orientation area you’ll find a wealth of general information on the module,
including advice on how to work through the content.
•• The Candidate Resource Material (CRM) area provides an electronic version of the full CRM.
•• Copies of CSGs, worked examples and activities from the technical modules are available for your
•• The workshops area includes information relating to workshops and their associated activities.
This area will be updated with new content throughout the module.
•• The exams area includes past exams, definitions of task words, and exam preparation assistance.
•• The discussion board is your place to engage with fellow Capstone candidates. Here you can ask
questions of each other, provide replies and critique and debate the Capstone material in a safe
learning environment. The discussion board is supported by the Capstone Module Leaders.
We wish you all the best in Capstone and hope this final module provides you with stimulating new
challenges, extends your learning, boosts your confidence to even higher levels, and helps prepare you
for your future as a Chartered Accountant.
Yours faithfully, Dr Michael Fraser CA
General Manager, Education Content Contents
Activities Workbook A-3 Theory
1. Ethics 1-1 2. Corporate governance 2-1 3. Corporate social responsibility 3-1 4. Phases of business 4-1 5. Strategy 5-1 6. Financing alternatives 6-1 7. Leasing 7-1 8. Business risk 8-1 9. Taxation and audit risk 9-1 10. Inventory 10-1 11. Pricing 11-1 Toolkit
1. The AAA seven step model T-3 2. Analysis using financial data T-5 3. Stakeholder analysis T-9 4. Tools for strategy analysis T-11 5. Reflective journal T-19 6. G
uidance on written business communication T-21 7. G
uidance on oral presentations in business communication T-29 Measuring your performance
Other Overview Chartered Accountants Program Capstone Introduction
Capstone is the final module in the Chartered Accountants Program.
On successful completion of this module, you will be awarded the Graduate Diploma of
Chartered Accounting and, on satisfying the mentored practical experience requirements, you
will be eligible to apply for membership of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
The Chartered Accountant designation conveys to the public that you are a competent
accounting professional, and carries the expectation that you will conduct yourself with the
highest level of professionalism both in terms of your technical expertise and ethical behaviour. How is the accounting profession changing?
With the automation of many areas in accounting, the role of a Chartered Accountant is
undergoing unprecedented change. Newly qualified Chartered Accountants are being placed
in senior roles earlier in their careers. It is not uncommon for a young Chartered Accountant
to be responsible for managing a diverse team of people with a variety of technical expertise
and skills. This means that the expectations of a newly qualified Chartered Accountant are also
Feedback from employers in research conducted by CA ANZ on the Chartered Accountants
Program identified that qualified Chartered Accountants are expected to have the following
knowledge problem solver,
the box’ Introduction well-developed
communicator Page i Capstone Chartered Accountants Program The core objective of the Capstone module is to develop your competencies in the above areas,
thus setting you up for a successful, adaptable career as a Chartered Accountant. How does Capstone achieve this?
The learning outcomes of the Capstone module, which are available on myLearning, broadly
incorporate the competencies identified above. Capstone integrates the technical knowledge
and skills you learned across the technical modules, draws on your work experience, and
requires you to apply critical thinking to practical scenarios to analyse information, identify
issues, apply professional judgement to solve problems, and provide high-level professional
No matter at what stage of your career you are, it is inevitable that you will face situations
that have ethical implications and on which you will need to make a choice or a decision. Life
experience teaches us that when there are competing interests, there are frequently no definitive
answers. This module will provide you with an ethical framework to help you identify and
evaluate the ethical issues you are likely to encounter in the professional environment of a
Chartered Accountant, and the skills to navigate your way through these issues. Ongoing developments of the Capstone module
Our goal is to provide you with the best learning experience. We have listened to candidate
feedback on previous Capstone offerings to improve the design of the module. Some of the
changes made to Capstone in 2016 include:
1. Redesign of module format – candidate feedback from earlier modules indicated that the
layout of the module was not easy to navigate. Candidates commented that the linkage of
the learning material from the hard copy to the online learning was confusing. As a result
of this feedback, we have redesigned the format of the module by removing the online units
and restructuring the Candidate Resource Material (CRM). An explanation of the ‘new look’
CRM and how to successfully use this module is outlined below.
2. Use of real companies – in earlier Capstone offerings, Myer Holdings Limited was the key
case study and featured prominently in workshop activities. CAP 216 uses a wide range of
companies, across a number of industries and sectors, reflecting the diversity of the work of
3. Practice team presentations – each workshop will require a team presentation developed
from analysis undertaken by individuals and the team. However, only the Workshop 3
team presentation will contribute to your overall module mark. These presentations will
provide team participants with an opportunity to practise their presentation and analysis
skills and obtain constructive feedback from their peers in preparation for their Workshop 3
assessment task. Details of the module’s assessment tasks are outlined below. Module design
The Capstone module is constructed as a blended learning approach. You will be required to
conduct research throughout the module. Your learnings from your research, and responses to
selected activities, will be consolidated and extended across three face-to-face workshops. Page ii Introduction Chartered Accountants Program Capstone How to use the CRM
The CRM has six sections:
1. Overview – including this introduction, this section provides an outline of the module, how
to use the CRM, and an outline of the module assessment components.
2. Activities Workbook – this section contains all the module activities. We would recommend
that you review this section of the CRM immediately after reading the Overview. Read the
requirements of each activity and plan the amount of time required to complete the activity.
It is important that you come to the workshops having completed all the activities to the
best of your ability. In answering the activities, we recommend that you:
(a) Review the task words. Most activities include specific task words to assist you to
identify what is required.
(b) Prepare an initial response. The theory and toolkit sections in this CRM may be a useful
starting point in preparing an initial outline of your ideas for constructing a response.
(c) Brainstorm your ideas with your study group and/or team (when allocated) and/or with
your peers on the discussion forum.
(d) Conduct further research. For many of the activities, you are expected to go beyond
the CRM and research the issue at hand in the activity. It important that if you choose
to work in a group, you contribute fairly and ensure that you understand all aspects of
the research and ‘the group’ response. All assessment tasks are aligned to the activities
and you need to ensure you understand which skills and knowledge the activities are
3. Theory – the theory section is presented like a reference book. Each unit covers a key topic.
For example, Unit 1 – Ethics, Unit 2 – Corporate governance, etc. Capstone is intended to
integrate your technical knowledge. To reflect real-life client problems, the activities have
been designed to require you to integrate technical knowledge across a number of units. The theory also includes required readings that you must read. The majority of readings will be accessed via the online journal database Business Source
Corporate (available via the CA ANZ website), on myLearning or the internet. It is important to remember that the theory and the readings are a starting point for your
research. The Capstone module is intended to develop your research and problem-solving
skills. As stated above, you are expected to go beyond the CRM and to provide advice
based on the research you have conducted. You will notice that much of the content and
the situations used are current – as such, it is expected that during the module you will
keep your knowledge of these situations up-to-date by following announcements and press
coverage. 4. Toolkit – this section contains tools, including frameworks, and templates that may
assist you in answering questions methodically – for example, the American Accounting
Association (AAA) seven-step model, PESTEL analysis, etc. While the context of a question
may change, the tools can provide a framework for answering the question.
5. Tools to measure your performance – the workshop assessment tasks will be marked
using a rubric. Sample rubrics are included in this section. You are required to download
the CAP216 rubrics that will be used for assessing your performance in each workshop
assessment task from myLearning. This section also includes the learning rationale for using
6. Other – this section is for you to include your own learning material. Introduction Page iii Capstone Chartered Accountants Program Workshops
There are three face-to-face workshops. The objective of these workshops is to consolidate and
extend on your learnings from selected activities from the Activities Workbook section of the
CRM. Make sure you have made a genuine attempt at each activity and that you contribute to
your team to the best of your ability.
During each workshop, you will be required to complete an assessment task. To ascertain
whether you have competently achieved the learning outcomes for the Capstone module, the
assessments incorporate both individual and team-based tasks, to demonstrate both written and
verbal communication skills. Assessment
An overall pass mark of 60% or greater is required to pass the Capstone module. Unlike the
technical modules, there is no minimum pass mark required in the final exam.
The assessment components are outlined below:
Assessment component Contribution to final marks Details Workshop 1 10% Individual written assessment task, to be
completed within 60 minutes Workshop 2 15% Team written assessment task completed in
table teams, to be completed within 90 minutes Workshop 3 15% Team presentation assessment task completed
in table teams, to be completed within
90 minutes Exam 60% Open book exam comprising of three (3)
compulsory questions based on a case study
to be completed within 3.5 hours. Pre-release
information is released on myLearning the week
following workshop three. Total 100% Note 1: there is NO additional reading time for any assessments in Capstone.
Note 2: all assessments are open-book; electronic devices are not permitted to be used during
the assessed activities and exam.
When taken as a whole, the activities in the CRM are designed to achieve the objectives and
competency levels outlined in the learning outcomes. By attempting all the activities in the
CRM, you give yourself the best chance of performing well in the workshop assessment tasks
and in the final exam. Discussion board
In myLearning, you will be able to access the discussion board.
In line with the philosophy of Capstone and its workshops, the discussion board is candidateled learning. The expectation is that candidates will help fellow candidates by offering
suggestions, providing critique and questions to posts. This is an ideal environment to practice
team work and drawing out knowledge and ideas from others. The module leaders will
participate, but in the background.
The peer-to-peer forums are great for helping you establish study groups and links with your
fellow candidates. Page iv Introduction Chartered Accountants Program Capstone Reflective journal
The International Accounting Education Standards Board defines a reflective activity as:
The iterative process by which professional accountants, at all stages of their career, continue to
develop their professional competence by reviewing their experiences (real or simulated) with a view to
improving their future actions. (IAESB 2015 “Glossary of Terms”) In other words, reflection will help make you a better accountant!
One of the learning tools we use in Capstone is a reflective journal. In some activities and in the
workshops you will be directed to reflect on specific issues or your performance in a task. In
addition we encourage you to embrace the habit of reflecting on your learning and practice.
Your reflective journal is for your use and you will not be required to share the content with
anyone else. In the workshops you will be asked to share some of your reflections on individual
and team performance with your table team members, but will not be asked to share your
You are required to bring your reflective journal to workshops, so it is important you retain it as
an accessible record throughout the module. The format is entirely up to you. Consider the way
you most prefer to make notes, and the need for this journal to be accessible to you while you
study and at the workshops.
Some options are:
•• handwriting in a notebook
•• creating a section in your Capstone CRM folder
•• using a note-taking application on your tablet device*
•• maintaining a document, or folder of organised documents, on your laptop or PC.*
*You will not be able to use electronic devices during the assessments and so any relevant
information should be printed prior to the assessments.
In the Toolkit section of the CRM there is further information regarding the use of reflective
journals including questions to assist your reflection. Learning outcomes
The Capstone learning outcomes are available on myLearning. Date convention
In Capstone, real years are usually used as these are more appropriate for the example or
activity, as many of these are based on real-life companies.
If real years are not used, the convention used in the technical modules will apply, as follows:
Dates for the current decade are expressed as 20XX, the preceding decade are expressed as
20WX and future years outside of this decade dates are expressed as 20YX. For example, if a
date given in an example is 20X6, 20W6 would be 10 years earlier and 20Y6 would be 10 years
in the future. Accounting and Auditing Standards
All references to Accounting and Auditing Standards in the learning elements are to
International Standards. Introduction Page v Capstone Chartered Accountants Program Six-month rule
Legislation changes constantly. In the Chartered Accountants Program modules, you are
expected to be up to date with relevant legislation, Standards, cases, rulings, determinations and
other guidance as they stand six months before the exam date, unless otherwise stated. In some
instances the International Accounting Standard may have been updated while the Australian
Standard or New Zealand Standard may not. International Standards can be accessed from the
IFRS website ( ); you will need to register to access the content on this website but it
is free to do so.
The relevant date for legislation is the date the legislation receives royal assent. The relevant date
for Accounting Standards and other material is the issue date. Good luck!
The Chartered Accountants Program is challenging. It is designed to be the best educational
learning experience it can be for you, the future practitioners in this profession. As it constantly
evolves, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand will be actively seeking your
feedback to ensure the Program meets the learner’s needs now and for future development.
We hope you find your journey through Capstone a rewarding and enjoyable experience and
encourage you to work steadily through the material in the recommended way. If you require
further assistance, post your questions on the discussion board.
As you begin, we suggest you download the module plan (available in myLearning). This
module plan provides a suggested timeline for completing the activities in the Activities
Workbook within the allocated 14 weeks of study. It has been devised around the workshop
(and assessment) dates for the module.
Finally, best of luck with your studies. Dr Philip Colquhoun CA
Jacqui Bassett FCA
Capstone Module Leaders Page vi Introduction Activities
Workbook Chartered Accountants Program Capstone Contents
How to complete the Activities Workbook A-3 Activity 1-1: Analysing fraud – WorldCom A-5 Activity 1-2: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants A-7 Activity 1-3: Current ethical dilemmas A-9 Activity 1-4: Professional scepticism - sustainability reporting A-11 Activity 1-5: Critiquing a business plan A-13 Activity 1-6: Critiquing advice A-25 Activity 2-1: Strategy and competitive advantage A-37 Activity 2-2: Blue Ocean Strategy and Red Ocean Traps A-39 Activity 2-3: Financial analysis A-41 Activity 2-4: Strategic analysis A-43 Activity 2-5: Corporate social responsibility A-45 Activity 2-6: Managing risk – example: social media risk A-49 Activity 3-1: Strategic analysis A-51 Activity 3-2: Financing A-53 Activity 3-3: Sources of funding A-55 Activity 3-4: Mergers, acquisitions and demergers A-57 Activity 3-5: Closure A-59 Activity 3-6: Public perception A-61 Activities Workbook Page A-1 [This page has deliberately been left blank] Page A-2 Activities Workbook Chartered Accountants Program Capstone Activities Workbook
The activities in this Activities Workbook (the workbook) are generally designed to be ‘issuesbased’. When com...
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