We often hear from our Affiliates that the ACCA Practical Experience Requirement (PER) is an impossible task and how confusing it can be.
Well, the PER can be relatively simple once you understand the basic concept. We have designed the PER 101 guide to help address some of the questions you may have. The PER 101 is a series of 5 issues that will address some frequently asked questions on the ACCA PER.
In our very first issue, we will give you snapshot of what the ACCA PER is about and what are the components in the ACCA PER.
Becoming an ACCA-qualified accountant does not just involve passing your exams and completing the Professional Ethics module.
You also need to demonstrate that you can apply your skills and knowledge within the workplace.
To become an ACCA member all trainees – students and affiliates – must successfully complete the experience portion, which consist of:
- 36 months (relevant working experience)
- 13 Performance Objectives
Look out for more frequently asked questions on Gaining Experience in the next issue of PER 101.
Q: What does ACCA mean by a RELEVANT ROLE?
Relevant role means that ideally you have a job role where the majority of your time is spent on activities and tasks that are accounting, finance, audit and assurance related, or in other related technical specialisms such as taxation, insolvency, forensics, management accounting etc.
Q: Does my 36 month of experience have to be gained in one organisation?
The experience doesn’t have to be gained continuously, or in a single role – you can gain relevant experience at different times and in different roles. It doesn’t matter what sector or organisation you work in to obtain your PER. ACCA trainees work in every sector and organisation of all sizes.
Q: Can I still claim 12 months of experience in a year if I have taken unpaid leave?
As a guideline, ACCA trainees who claim 12 months relevant experience on the TDM may include periods of unpaid leave, as long as they complete 1540 hours per year.
Q: Where do I record my experience?
You use a tool called My Experience. This is an online recording tool which you can access in myACCA.
Q: What are Performance Objectives?
Performance objectives are ACCA’s indicators of effective performance for the workplace. The following are some key points about performance objectives:
- They set the minimum standard of work that you are expected to achieve and demonstrate in the workplace.
- They describe the kinds of work activities you may carry out.
- They highlight the values and attitudes you are expected to possess and demonstrate as a trainee accountant.
Q: How many Performance Objectives must I achieve?
You are required to complete all 9 Essentials and any 4 of the Options. The Essentials focused on professionalism, ethics, personal effectiveness, and business management, whereas the Options, are focuses on technical accountancy specialisms.
Q: How do I claim a Performance Objective?
You can achieve each performance objective by answering 3 challenge questions, which must be signed off by a workplace mentor. You cannot achieve a performance objective without having a workplace mentor.
Q: What are Challenge Questions?
Each performance objective has 3 challenge questions attached to it. Your answers to the challenge questions should provide information about your achievement of the relevant experience through your work.
Challenge questions are designed to help you to describe how you gained your experience, showing that you have thought about the quality of your work and reflected on your performance in the workplace. Your answer to each challenge question should be between 100 and 500 words.
Q: What is a workplace mentor?
Your workplace mentor should be someone whom you work closely with, who knows the type of work you are doing now, and who also knows the quality of your work. Ideally this will be your line manager or the person whom you report to on particular projects or activities.
Your workplace mentor should be a qualified accountant recognised by law in your country and/or a member of an International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) body.
Q: What if my workplace mentor is not a a qualified accountant?
If your workplace mentor isn’t qualified, or if you work for a small organisation and are the most senior finance person in the organisation, or if your organisation does not employ a professionally qualified accountant who can act as your workplace mentor, then you will need to find someone else who can be your workplace mentor or Training Supervisor.
A Training Supervisor is a qualified accountant who countersigns achievement of performance objectives with your unqualified workplace mentor. A Training Supervisor may be based within your organisation or external to your organisation.
Q: Can another trainee accountant be my workplace mentor?
In some instances another trainee accountant could act as your workplace mentor.
ACCA requires that the trainee fulfilling the workplace mentor role be in a more senior role than you. This seniority should derive from them having progressed further in their development/studies and having acquired greater experience than you.
It is not sufficient for the workplace mentor to have the same level of experience as the trainee that they support or simply have more years in a similar role at the same level; they must be in a more senior position in your organisation.
ACCA manages the associated risk by classifying trainees who use another trainee as their workplace mentor as being in a higher risk category for PER audit. This risk is further mitigated by requiring a second level of sign-off for performance objectives by a suitably qualified training supervisor.
Q. Where can I find the Singapore ACCA Approved Employers list?
The ACCA Singapore Approved Employers list is available at the following link.
Q. How do I claim exemptions for my challenge questions?
To claim exemptions for the challenge questions, you are required to complete ONE of the two forms:
This form should be used if you are applying for membership while working for an ACCA Approved Employer with trainee development (Gold or Platinum) accreditation.
If you are leaving an ACCA Approved Employer with trainee development (Gold or Platinum) accreditation, your experience will not be gone to waste. Get your line manager to sign off the relevant performance objectives you have achieved before you leave the organisation, so that you can use the objectives gained to apply for membership when you are ready.
Alongside an online membership application, you can also send the completed form firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Who can sign off on the exemption form?
The above two exemption forms can be signed off by either your mentor or the HR.
Do you have other questions regarding the PER? Do drop us an email to email@example.com or visit our blog to view previous issues of the PER 101 for more PER Resources.
There are a wide range of resources available to help you with the PER. Below are some useful links.
PER – YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDEThe PER guide has everything you need to know about the Practical Experience Requirement. It includes detailed information on:
- what to do if you are studying full time
- how to get the right type of experience
- what a workplace mentor does
- how to target performance objectives.
PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES BOOKLETThe Performance Objectives Booklet provides guidance on each performance objective, how to achieve them, examples of relevant workplace activities and which exam each performance objective links to.This booklet contains useful information to help your practical experience supervisor support you – make sure you provide this to them.ANSWERING CHALLENGE QUESTIONSCreating narrative statements gives guidance on how to construct your narrative statements, what to include and how to demonstrate your achievement of each performance objective, including:
- how to structure your statements
- how to record your answers using your PER recording tool
- sample statements to help you understand what a suitable statement looks like.
PER ADDITIONAL SUPPORT BOOKLETThe PER Additional Support booklet provides guidance on:
- who can be your practical experience supervisor
- getting practical experience
- setting and meeting performance objectives
- ensuring personal effectiveness in the workplace.
WORKPLACE MENTOR Find a workplace mentor using the practical experience supervisor booklet.You can use this booklet to familiarise yourself with the practical experience supervisor role. The booklet outlines the practicalities of being a practical experience supervisor and the personal and professional benefits that being a practical experience supervisor can have.APPROVED EMPLOYER PER SUMMARY FORMWhen leaving an ACCA Approved Employer – trainee development stream at Gold or Platinum level, ensure this form is completed and retained. It may be requested by ACCA for PER audit purposes.
We hope this information is useful. Should you require further clarifications, do feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.