Please don’t be fooled by the SOA/UFE Solutions provided. You’re not expected or required to present your responses in such beautiful prose. The Sample Responses provided are a lot closer to the real deal in terms of format/style but they, too, are very high quality which most candidates will never reach. It’s important to understand that your response will be more direct and point-form style without going to the extreme of that.
If you’ve done a fantastic outline, the way your formulate your response should be very easy and should make it easy for the marker to follow.
Always title your report/response
Your goal is to make your responses very easy to follow and read for the marker. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they may not start looking for it. Don’t tempt fate. Always title your report (of which you may have many if the simulation demands it).
Report To / Audit Planning Memo / Memo To : and give a name of the partner, company, etc.
Use clear headings and subheadings in a logical way
I was always a fan of bolding and indenting.
Required #1 (Heading)
- Issue #1a
- Issue #1b
Required #2 (Heading)
- Issue #2a
Conclusion/Recommendation: (if warranted)
- Based on x, y and z the appropriate treatment/etc. is z.
And so forth as necessary. Of course you can make some modification here but your responses should have a similar flow.
Here’s an example of this format:
Identification of Accounting Issues at XYZ Corp.
- New Machine in Use
- Given the circumstances and IFRS requirements, the new machine will need to be tested for signs of impairment on a regular basis. Under IFRS the method to test for impairment is to discount the future cashflows that the machine will generate and compare to the current balance sheet value. If the discounted cash flows are less than the current value, the machine must be written down (impaired) to the present value of the discounted cash flows.
- In this case the PV (at 7% discount rate) is $1.1M x 15 Year Life Discounted at 7% and compared to the book value of $1.5M. This will not be impaired this year.
- Next Issue
- Analysis on that issue.
(I just pulled this out of an old case so pay attention to style, not content!)
This is not a rule. The point here is that it’s important to be clear in your flow and discussion going through. Simulation responses that are all over the place and difficult to follow not only annoys markers but makes it very difficult in some cases to understand your arguments and discussion. I find organizing the response in ways such as these helps to clarify it both for yourself and for the marker.
What are some of the other tips/suggestions past or present writers have when formulating a response?