Operational Case Study

The Case Study exam is essentially a virtual business role play. Therefore, students need to understand their role within the case study exam in order to produce a good answer, demonstrating knowledge and applying skills from across the syllabus.

Syllabus structure

Who are you and what is your role?

At Operational level, your role will be that of a Finance Officer.

  • Junior/Trainee accountant
  • Credit Controller
  • Assistant accountant
  • Cost accountant

You may be involved in short term analysis of

  • Costing
  • Preparing budgets
  • Advising on product mix or performance
  • Variance analysis
  • Working capital or cash management
  • Producing reports of performance against budget
  • Risk assessment in short term decision making.

You will need to understand

  • The role of finance within the wider organisation
  • Who the stakeholders are
  • The regulatory environment
  • How to communicate with non-financial staff. 

Your role (e.g. from Nov 2015 exam)

You are a newly appointed Finance Officer in a family run horticulture company. Your predecessor has begun to set up some budgets and costings but the finance and administrative processes in the company are unsophisticated and there is little automation.

Technical skills

  • Planning and monitoring cash flows and the use of rolling budgets
  • Interpreting variances
  • Treatment of R&D costs in financial statements

Business skills & People skills

  • Show understanding of how the finance function benefits the business
  • Explain why collaborative supply chains are useful to the business

Leadership skills

Leadership skills only account for 6% at this level and no one will fail due to a lack of leadership skills in the OCS. However they are tested eg in the variance analysis task above, discussing how planning and operational variances benefit the business would have attracted leadership marks.

Case Study - Computer Based Exams

  • Four exam sittings (February, May, August and November)
  • Competency based questions across 5 key syllabus areas
  • Pass mark – score greater than 80 out of 150
  • Duration 3 hours

The Case Study exams are used to test a variety of skills including research and analysis, how to present information, persuasion and communication skills - all of which is based on pre-seen material which is released 9 weeks prior to the exam to tutors.

Course Information

This Case Study course will be run on an an intensive basis after the release of the pre-seen information 6 weeks before the exam sitting. This will be an integrated course.

It will be offered as a combination of weekday or weekend course.

Our face to face classroom courses are scheduled within a short time frame before the exam week to ensure key knowledge remains fresh.


All course materials will be provided. You will be taken through detailed pre-seen analysis and 2 full mock exams based on the real pre-seen case study with full solutions.
Classroom Course
  • Integrated course: 5 days
  • Practice exams: 2 invigilated & marked with feedback