Decode ACCA APM Exam Exhibits: A SWOT Analysis Approach

Georgina Roberts


SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps businesses identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. 
This analysis is crucial for understanding the internal and external factors that can impact a business's performance. Companies like Apple and Amazon have used SWOT analysis to steer their strategies, leading to increased market share and profitability. For instance, Apple's revenue in Q1 2021 reached $111.4 billion, partly due to its strategic focus on its ecosystem of products and services.

Strengths: Leveraging Core Competencies

Identifying and leveraging strengths is the first step in a SWOT analysis. Google, for example, commands over 92% of the global search engine market share as of 2021. 
This core strength in search algorithms has helped it expand into other areas like advertising and cloud computing successfully.

Weaknesses: Identifying Areas for Improvement

Understanding weaknesses allows businesses to take corrective measures. 
Nokia, once a leader in mobile phones with a 40% global market share in 2007, failed to adapt to the rise of smartphones. This significant weakness led to its market share plummeting to less than 3% by 2013.

Opportunities: Capitalising on Market Gaps

Opportunities often arise from market trends or changes in consumer behavior. 
Starbucks capitalised on the opportunity for high-end coffee shops and now has over 33,000 stores worldwide as of 2021. By recognizing this gap in the market, Starbucks has grown to become a global brand and market leader.

Threats: Preparing for External Challenges

Being aware of threats can help businesses prepare and adapt. 
Kodak, which once had a 90% market share in U.S. film sales, was severely impacted by the digital photography revolution. Had they identified this external threat earlier, they might have transitioned more smoothly into the digital age.


SWOT analysis is an invaluable tool for improving business performance, and its principles can be directly applied to tackling Advanced Performance Management (APM) questions in the ACCA exams. 
Understanding how to conduct a SWOT analysis can be one useful tool in answering case study questions about an entity's strategic position and future prospects.

By applying SWOT analysis to the entity in the scenario, you can provide comprehensive and well-structured answers that not only identify issues but also offer realistic solutions. 
This approach will help you understand the complexities of the case study and also demonstrate your strategic thinking skills, thereby increasing your chances of scoring high in the APM exam!