Pre-seen and pre-warned!

May 2023

Checking out the pre-seens for the next two sets of CIMA case study exams we find sitters are working for a tractor manufacture, package holiday company and logistics giant!

OCS – Tracs Europe

The new pre-seen to cover the May and June sittings is 26 pages long. You take on the role of Finance Officer in Tracs Europe’s finance department, reporting into Ben Sholtz (finance manager) and Karl Lomas (FD).

Your company makes and sells tractors and is part of a wholly-owned subsidiary AgRi, a North American company founded in 1860. Tracs Europe has a sister company doing the same thing in North America, which might come into play.

Tracs Europe doesn’t sell direct to the market, and instead uses dealers. It only produces big tractors, not compact or mini tractors, and has 20% of the European market. It manufactured just over 31,000 tractors, generated T$2.990m, and made a gross margin of 25.9% and an operating margin of 8.7%.

In the news section we see the debate over red diesel and electric alternatives, the development of AI to reduce human intervention, and finally tractor design.

We took a look at tractors, John Deere’s website, and Farmers Weekly for all our tractor news needs – see You should also take a look at CNH group, which owns New Holland and Case IH. Then it’s Massey Ferguson and Fendt.
It is always interesting to note that CIMA puts a context statement on the cover of the preseens.

It says that although it is aware that there has been, and remains, a significant amount of change globally it does not expect students to factor these changes into their responses. You have to answer as if the current and on-going global issues have not had an impact. But is that right, we are not sure.

Students asks for help

A PQ recently took to social media to say: “Hey the OCS exams are coming up in May and I’ve been having a hard time to understand how to study and what to do exactly. Tips would be highly appreciated mates.”

Fellow PQs responded

Denisa: “I just passed the OCS in Feb and what really helped me was marked mock exams with feedback and study cards in all the theory from F1 and P1 with some application to pre-seen.”

Ania: “Go through past papers and try to write answers to past paper questions. Then compare them with the ideal answer. It’s the best way to learn. Try to do it in the time which is allowed during the exam. Plan your answers first and also look at % and estimate time for each sub-task.”

Prishani: “I also just passed OCS, and mocks are the way – approximately 4 should do it. I took about 2.5 weeks studying every morning from 4am to 6am and 7pm to 10pm in the evenings, and the entire Saturday and Sunday. The last five days I only practised mocks.”

Ambreen: “I would look into exam technique by using the mock answers to see how CIMA expect the answers to look. I worked backwards, looked at mocks and then revised my topics again.”

Erin: “You need to understand the way budgeting operates in the manufacturing business and know the industry.”

Marta: “Analyse past papers available on CGMA page, that will give you a good idea of the range of questions. I found the exam similar to the previous ones, although always expect something odd! Do time your mocks and make sure you don’t waffle.”

MCS – Happywell Holidays

You are the Financial Manager for package holiday company Happywell Holidays for the May MCS. It operates its own flights and hotels and sells third-party products such as insurance and car hire. Did TUI come to mind straight away?

There is also Jet2Holidays, Kuoni, Trailfinders, Inghams and Hays Travel.
The three core elements of any overseas ‘3S’ holiday are the flights, accommodation and transfers.

Most of us have booked this type of holiday, so you should know about the typical choices of breakfast only, half board, full board and fully inclusive.

Happywell Holidays is one of the two big players in the market, alongside Mangusair.
Both operate a large fleet of aircraft and while Mangusair rents its accommodation Happywell own a large number of hotels.

Quality is a key part of Happywell’s offering and passage numbers have climbed steadly, despite the appearance of cheaper tour operators.

Happywell also has retail shops – 311 in all, which only sell their holidays. They account for 35% of bookings, the rest come via the website.

The IT system is also designed to maximise revenue and the customer only receives the total price when everything – flight, transfer and hotel – have been selected.

We are told the board is keen to identify any problems and to address them as quickly as possible.

A quick look at the P&L shows profits are down and costs rising quicker than revenue. Meanwhile, Mangusaair’s P&L shows it keep a better handle on costs and has tripled its profits in a year.

The news clippings looked at air safety, airport lounges, travel insurance, seat sizes and space, and the expense of tailored package holidays.

SCS – Daistruk

You are working for a logistics service as a senior manager in the finance department. You report directly to the board.

Businesses have to spend a lot of money on logistics – the biggest spend being on transport (58%), followed by inventory carrying (23%), warehousing/storage (11%) and administration (8%). This can be run in-house or outsourced to a contractor. Few large companies use DIY and most opt for third-party logistics (3PL).

Daistruk started life as a transport company and today employs 22,000 people, which includes 7,000 drivers. It offer inventory management, shared user storage and handling, outsourced warehouse management, shared usage transport, rail transport and intermodal, and specialised loads.

Its biggest clients come from the food industry (44%), with 33% coming from general merchandise and 23% from public sector and industrial customers.

Take care to read the Daistruk’s Principal Risks on page 17. Also do a quick comparison between Daistruk and competitor Carree (p18-p21).

So what do we have in the news? We have a question about shipping containers, curtain sides, unqualified trucklift drivers, the automation of Daistruk’s ports, which could lead to more rail transport (better for the environment), and motorway chaos due to the size of some of the lorries on the road.

And at just 27 pages it is easy read. So who are top logistical companies in the UK? Think DHL, UPS, FedEx, Agility, GAC UK, CSX and Menzies Distribution. It might seem a strange thing to say but so is Royal Mail plc!

Oh , and if you want to read the 2022 Third- Party Logistics Warehose Benchmarek Report then go to