ACCA F4 tackles the basic guidelines of financial accounting, auditing and taxation. ACCA F4is concerned with the understanding of the legal system, particularly laws relating to the business. However, it should be remembered that ACCA F4 is a law exam for accountants and not for lawyers. It is intended for accountants’ reference so that they may recognize special situations where legal advice should be sought. The exam is not designed to expect the participants to know every aspect of the law by hand; instead it aims to develop well-informed accountants who follow the boundaries of the law.
Syllabus of ACCA F4
Essential elements of the legal system
Basic law concepts are tackled in the syllabus including the definition of law and how the government administers its powers. It also covers the difference between criminal and civil law, civil law and common law, and between private and public law. Most business laws are related to civil laws which cover the law that protects the duties and rights of person to each other.
A contract is an agreement that is legally binding to both parties. The law on obligations and contract is an essential part of ACCA F4 which focuses on the requirements for a document to be legally binding, what the valid contracts are, under which set of circumstances are these contracts breached and what possible remedies are available to the injured party.
The basis of tort lies in the duty of all people not to harm others. The negligence of tort will negatively impact individuals, professionals and businesses. It is therefore important to know and understand the limit of a person under the law. Identifying such circumstances which breaches the duty of tort is helpful in knowing when to bring the case to court.
Both employees and employers have duties. In ACCA F4, it is important for an accountant to know these duties since most misunderstandings occur in not fully understanding the contents of these contracts.
Formation and consolidation of business organizations
This study covers the various legal forms of business and their main distinctions. The difference between a natural person and legal person, an entity that is created by the law, should be emphasized in the study. The law of agency is an important concept since it tackles the duties and responsibilities of partners and directors who can act as agents.
Capital and financing companies
It is important to know the minimum required legal capital of a certain type of business. The shareholder’s responsibility to provide the company with necessary funds is tackled in ACCA F4. The rules that regulate appointment, disqualification, remuneration and the powers of the directors are clearly defined in the syllabus. Since most conflicts arise from not knowing these rules, it is important to fully understand its boundaries.
When companies are at the point of insolvency, it is helpful to know certain procedures that will help the company acquire a ‘breathing space’ while resolving the problem. However, there are also instances where the business can no longer be saved regardless if the company has enough funds or not.