DFS J09 Section 2 under Fire

Steve Collings
Steve Collings Registered Posts: 997 Epic contributor 🐘
Hi All,

I have received several messages from students of DFS who have failed this paper in section 2. As I have said on another thread, I am quite surprised at the number of students who passed section 1 but have failed section 2. It seems DFS J09 has come under extreme criticism and students are asking me whether it is worth appealing.

I have had another look at section 2 of DFS J09. Candidates were asked to produce a report comparing a company's financial statements in the usual way. I would be extremely surprised if candidates were not prepared for this sort of question because this sort of scenario is presented in section 2 at each sitting. The gearing ratio was asked for, which sometimes causes problems with candidates and I can only conclude that students tripped up in the calculation of the gearing ratio and the interpretation of the financial statements in section (c). Most students who gave me feedback following the sitting had correctly said that Lewis Lindsay should not continue to invest in the company.

The final question - which, in my opinion, is where students would have fallen down was in relation to the current assets/liabilities question. Lots and lots of students emailed me immediately after the exam to ask me if they were right in citing the provisions of the Framework Document relating to the definition of an asset/liability and what gives rise to such.

Unfortunately if candidates did cite the provisions of the Framework Doc then no marks would have been awarded simply because it did not answer the question set. The examiner asked how IAS 1 defines current assets and current liabilities. The Framework Document, which defines an asset and a liability (not a 'current' asset or 'current' liability) is NOT an accounting standard - the Framework Doc simply helps the IASB in developing new or revised standards and help preparers in applying standards and dealing with topics which are not addressed by specific accounting standards.

Those are the two areas where I think candidates would have failed in section 2. Additionally, as I have said on a previous thread, section 2 is only 30% of the entire DFS paper so the margin for error in this section is much tighter than in section 1.

In my opinion, I would be loathed to pay for an appeal unless you are ABSOLUTELY certain that (a) you would not have made some errors in the report and (b) you clearly did not cite the provisions in the Framework Document and knew the definition of a current asset/liability in accordance with IAS 1 ' Presentation of Financial Statements'.

Kind regards



  • Frankie1976
    Frankie1976 Registered Posts: 33 Regular contributor ⭐

    I failed DFS Section 2 again (forth time now), this time I was sure I had the ratios nailed after going through countless papers, even doing some more than twice. I even asked the AAT on one (which didn't come up) which was their preferred method as I had seen more than one calculation for it. As for the report, I've noticed that on some past papers the model answer goes into some detail, yet on the answers for this exam, they are short and sweet. I too am sure I came to the correct conclusion for task 2.1

    As for task 2.2, I had studied in detail the IAS's and in particular IAS1 as I had a sneeky feeling that the AAT would through a curve-ball in after testing the frameworks or the elements of the balance sheet in the four previous exams.

    I have appealled (maybe in vain) because I honestly thought I had nailed DFS this time and came out of the exam more positive than on my previous attempts. I am extremely mythed this time round. I've never felt so dis-illusioned about an exam result until this one.


  • Steve Collings
    Steve Collings Registered Posts: 997 Epic contributor 🐘

    I failed DFS Section 2 again (forth time now),

    I am absolutely stunned you have failed this paper this many times - I just don't know what to say especially as you were so confident you passed in June.

    I'm at a loss to explain both to you and the several hundreds of other students who failed this paper what went wrong because the paper was not that different than previous sittings.
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