Study guide: Second edition

Global Strategy and Leadership is the capstone subject for the CPA Program. This subject consolidates and builds on the learnings candidates have gained in the other three compulsory subjects: Ethics and Governance, Financial Reporting and Strategic Management Accounting. In the increasingly complex business environment in which organisations operate, characterised by change, uncertainty and escalating competition, the disciplines of strategy and leadership have become critical to successful organisational performance.

The aim of this subject is to link the knowledge of management and financial accounting to the concepts of strategy and leadership. Accountants use a variety of technical information to make decisions for the future of the business within an ethical framework of operation. This subject shows that accounting information, ethics, strategy and leadership are applicable to accountants working throughout the world in diverse organisations. As discussed in Ethics and Governance, accounting as a profession is respected internationally and CPAs are employed worldwide. The subjects materials address the needs of candidates operating in different international markets in varying roles.

The concepts of professional ethics and good governance underpin the subject. Candidates who have previously undertaken the Advanced Audit and Assurance or Strategic Management Accounting subjects will be familiar with the use and application of Porter’s five forces model. Those candidates who have studied Strategic Management Accounting will note a number of other concepts that have been expanded upon in this subject, including strategic analysis, performance measurement and the value chain. The international focus of this subject acknowledges the importance of the reporting requirements under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs).

Exam structure and preparation

The Global Strategy and Leadership exam comprises multiple choice and written response questions based on the subject content, as well as case studies presented to you within the exam. These case studies will be easily read and understood within the existing exam time available.

To assist in your exam preparation, in addition to working through your study material, we strongly recommend that you also refer to:

  • Case analysis guidelines which provide a step-by-step outline of how to analyse a case as well as an example of how to use these guidelines on a small case. This case analysis is available via My Online Learning. 
  • There are also existing practice case studies, Chasseur Chickens and Notting Foods, available on My Online Learning, which both demonstrate a detailed case analysis.

Use these resources to understand how to effectively analyse a case study so that you are prepared to apply a best practice approach within the exam.

General objectives

On completion of this subject, you should be able to:

  • understand the role of the accountant in the development and implementation of strategy
  • use analytical tools and models to analyse the industry and the market in which an organisation operates   
  • use analytical tools and models to understand and measure the performance of the organisation 
  • use business information for decision-making from an organisational perspective
  • identify and explain the key challenges faced in the implementation of strategy and the role of the accountant in the implementation and leadership functions
  • consolidate the understanding of strategy and leadership concepts through the use of real-world examples integrated throughout the material, and apply these concepts to business case scenarios through the use of a case studies
  • apply skills in thinking strategically and formulating broad strategies for consideration and application in their organisational environment.

Subject content

The subject is divided into seven modules. 

The "weighting" column in the following table provides an indication of the emphasis placed on each module in the exam, while the "proportion of study time" column is a guide for you to allocate your study time for each module and analysis of the pre-seen exam case studies. 

Module Recommended proportion of study time % Weighting % 
1. An introduction to strategy and leadership  5 5
2. Understanding the external environment 18 18
3. Understanding the internal environment 18 18
4. Product and market development 14 14
5. Developing the strategic plan 17 17
6. Strategy implementation 15 15
7. Leading the strategy 13 13
  100 100 

For further information, see the subject outline (PDF).