Leaving Cert accounting: Something for everyone in a ‘very straightforward’ exam

Additional choice this year significantly eased time pressure for candidates

Students who  sat the accounting papers were rewarded with “uncomplicated and very straightforward” questions. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Students who sat the accounting papers were rewarded with “uncomplicated and very straightforward” questions. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill


Students who decided to sit the higher and ordindary level accounting papers were rewarded with “ uncomplicated and very straightforward” questions, say teachers.

Noelle Moran, ASTI subject representative and accounting teacher at St Jarlath’s College, Tuam, Galway, said the additional choice this year meant there was “something for everyone”.

“Overall, students at both higher and ordinary will most likely have viewed the papers as pleasing, manageable and fair if they put the work in,” she said.

The fact that there there was one less question this year significantly eased the stress and time pressure facing higher level students in particular, Ms Moran added.

Ray O’Loughlin, accounting teacher at Dublin's Institute of Education, said it was a “traditional accounting paper” in which students were examined on how to record transactions and assess results with the minimum of new challenges.

“The choice of questions that appeared may have surprised some students, especially as incomplete records and tabular statements both failed to appear in Section 2. Cash budgeting also failed to appear in Section 3 for the sixth year in a row,” he said.

‘Excellent choice’

The questions that did appear were not unduly difficult and there was “excellent choice” throughout the paper.

In Section 1, students were given a choice of two final accounts: a sole trader and a manufacturing account.

Mr O’Loughlin said both were very manageable and most students would probably have opted to do the sole trader question.

In Section 2, this year students were required to answer one out of three questions here. Normally they answer two out of three.

Mr O’Loughlin said one of these questions - the interpretation of accounts - was guaranteed to appear this year. The alternative questions were published and cash flow statements.

“All three were nice questions and the degree of difficulty was minimal. Students however would have been surprised that incomplete records and tabular statements did not appear in this section,” he said.

There was no change to Section 3 of the paper this year.

“The questions on product costing and flexible budgeting were both very manageable, but the main surprise here was that cash budgets did not come up for the sixth year in a row,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

Ms Moran said the fact that these questions were separated rather than combined into one was a positive for most students.

The flexible budgeting question, in particular, will have been welcomed by many who consider it the easiest of the budget-type questions.

Overall, Ms Moran said that at higher level there were no surprises.

“Nothing came up that would have unnerved students. In the main they were straightforward and uncomplicated. A diligent, practiced student should have been satisfied embarking on the questions,” she said.

Try this at home:
- Leaving Cert accounting (ordinary level)
Farm accounts: the following were the assets and liabilities of the Tierney Family who carry on a mixed farming business on 01/01/2020:

Land €900,000; farm buildings €340,000; machinery at cost €118,000; cash in bank €9,500; value of cattle/cows €126,000; value of sheep €21,000; electricity due €550; wages due€1,200.

(a) Calculate the Tierney Family Capital on 01/01/2020