Before you qualify as an official member of the ACCA, you must demonstrate effectiveness in the workplace. To prove you’ve got what it takes, you have to complete 36-months relevant professional experience and achieve nine performance objectives. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the ACCA PER (Professional Experience Requirement) in 2017…
What is “relevant experience” for the ACCA PER?
Relevant experience means experience where most of your time is spent on
activities and tasks that are accounting, finance, audit and assurance related, or in other related technical areas such as taxation, insolvency and forensics [ACCA Global]
This experience can happen before, during and/or after you sit your ACCA exams. It can happen in in any sector, in any size of organisation, in any country and it doesn’t all have to come from the same role.
However, if you join an ACCA approved employer with training development approval at Gold or Platinum level then you can potentially claim performance objective exemption. In that case, you must still complete 36-months of experience before you become an ACCA member.
Many types of experience count towards your PER, including part-time, temporary or voluntary work. Work completed before registering for the ACCA can also count provided your previous supervisor will sign-off your achievements from that time.
Before, during or after you sit your ACCA exams
Any industry, sector or country
Part-time, temporary or voluntary work
Work previous to starting the ACCA
Combination of roles
For instance, you might have completed one Technical objective during a 3-month internship in a taxation firm before registering for the ACCA. You could then complete another in a part-time role accounting for a local business while you study, and the rest when you’ve finished your exams.
You can even count a role where you’re not spending all your time in an accounting capacity, on a pro rata basis.
For example, if you spend a year volunteering with a local charity and 25% of your time is spent on accounting/finance tasks, 3 months of that year counts towards your total.
You can even count a role where you’re not spending all your time in an accounting capacity, on a pro rata basis
What are ACCA performance objectives?
To pass the ACCA Professional Experience Requirement you must achieve nine performance objectives. These consist of five Essentials and at least four Technical objectives out of fifteen.
5 Essentials & 4 Technical objectives
This is a change from last year, when students had to complete nine Essentials and at least four Options out of eleven. There’s also a change to the format of the objectives. Previously, students had to answer three challenge questions of ~500 words each for each performance objective. Now you must write 1 reflective statement of ~300 words for each objective.
(Source) To pass the ACCA Professional Experience Requirement you must achieve 5 Essentials and at least 4 Technical objectives
You don’t have to complete your performance objectives in order, or all together. You can pick and choose when you work on each objective – for instance, when you’re studying for the related paper on the ACCA syllabus.
If you started your Professional Experience Requirement prior to these changes last year, any objectives you completed should have automatically transferred over to this new system.
For instance, if you’d completed PER Option 14 under the old scheme, ‘Monitor and control budgets’, you’ll be granted the equivalent under the new scheme, which is Technical 14, ‘Monitor performance’.
Find full details of these transfers on the ACCA Global website.
How do you complete each performance objective?
A performance objective is complete when your Professional Experience Supervisor (previously known as a Workplace Mentor) has signed off on your achievements relevant to that objective. You’ll also write a short reflective statement for each objective, detailing your experience and lessons learnt.
A performance objective is complete when your Professional Experience Supervisorhas signed off on your achievements relevant to that objective
This works through the ACCA My Experience platform. Once your supervisor has applied, you can invite them to review your experience and statement at any time. Once they’ve signed it off, that Objective marked as Completed under your My Experience record. Its important to update My Experience regularly, as this proves your progress towards completing the PER.
How do you write a good reflective statement?
Your reflective statement will be ~200 to 300 words that summarise and reflect on your work towards each objective. You should give examples of work completed and highlight anything you’ve learned.
- Be concise
- Give examples
- Avoid jargon
- Avoid unexplained abbreviations
- Don’t duplicate from one objective to another
- Don’t copy from your peers
You only need to cover the broad description of each objective, not the individual elements that make it up. You’ll input your statement into the ACCA My Experience record where the ACCA have sophisticated tools monitoring for duplication, so make sure your statements are unique.
(Source) Your reflective statement will reflect on your work towards each objective
Who can be a Professional Experience Supervisor?
Your supervisor plays an important role in helping you achieve your performance objectives by setting targets, supporting your development and evaluating your progress.
Your supervisor should be someone who works closely with you, and can assess your achievements. It’s your responsibility to find them, and invite them to register as a supervisor through the ACCA portal. Most students choose their line manager, but you could also choose a project supervisor or someone else who regularly sees you work.
They must be a legally qualified accountant and/or a member of IFAC to sign-off on your performance objectives. However, your supervisor needn’t be a qualified accountant to sign-off the time you’ve completed in your role. If your line manager isn’t qualified they can still vouch for your time, and you can choose a second qualified supervisor to sign-off your performance objectives.
The ACCA has created a guide explaining the responsibilities and benefits of becoming a practical experience supervisor, which you might like to share with anyone you ask.
The ACCA Professional Experience Requirement is designed to compliment the ACCA exams, and is an important part of securing ACCA membership. Whether you approach the PER before, during or after your exams, you’ll find you’re a better accountant at the end of it.
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