Study guide: Third edition

Strategic management accounting is a key component of the overall skills base of today’s professional accountant

This subject examines the strategic management accountant's role in dynamic organisations operating in the global business environment. In this role, the professional accountant engages with the organisation's management team and contributes to strategy development and implementation with the aim of creating customer and shareholder value, and a strong competitive position for the organisation. The subject highlights the management accounting tools and techniques of value chain analysis and project management which have become increasingly important in contemporary operational environments.

The subject includes discussions on the professional accountant's responsibilities and judgement as introduced in the Ethics and Governance subject. Also discussed are investment evaluation and strategic business analysis in the context of assessing and responding to risk, as covered in the Financial Risk Management and Advanced Audit and Assurance subjects. You are introduced to strategic management concepts which are expanded on in the Global Strategy and Leadership subject.

Exam structure

The Strategic Management Accounting exam is comprised of a combination of multiple-choice and extended-response questions.

You will see a new question type in your Strategic Management Accounting exam from Semester 1 2019. In addition to question types where you read a case study and type an answer in the form of written sentences, you will now see question types where a numerical response is required to be typed into a spreadsheet. 

We recommend that you carefully view the video, Sitting your exam with CPA Australia, to familiarise yourself with the question types before the exam.

General objectives

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

  • apply the strategic management process and organisational and industry value analysis to understand value drivers, cost drivers and the reconfiguring of value chains
  • explain the role of the management accountant as a trusted adviser and a business partner in supporting strategy development and the day-to-day operations of an organization
  • understand stakeholders’ various decision-making needs and provide adaptive information solutions
  • design an effective budgeting system that incorporates uncertainty to assist in strategy implementation
  • discuss the role of project selection, planning, monitoring and completion in strategy implementation
  • explain the role of performance measurement and control systems in value creation, strategy implementation and monitoring performance to improve strategies
  • apply strategic management accounting tools and techniques to improve the contribution and sustainability of value-creating activities.

Subject content

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.


Module Recommended proportion of study time (%) Weighting (%) Recommended study schedule
1. Introduction to strategic management accounting 10 10
Week 1
2. Information for decision-making 14 15
Week 2
3. Planning, budgeting and forecasting 20 22
Week 3 and 4
4. Project management 13 13
Week 5
5. Performance management 21 23
Week 6 and 7
6. Tools for creating and managing value 17 17
Week 8 and 9
Case study 5 0
Week 10
100 100

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