Read our guide to find out everything you need to know about the ACCA professional experience requirement and most importantly how to pass it!
To become an ACCA member, you must have 3 years practical experience in addition to passing the exams: your ACCA professional experience requirement (PER).
During these three years, you need to achieve the nine Essentials and four or more Options performance objectives, as well as recording your progress online. In this article we look at some of the key questions students have about the ACCA professional experience requirement including:
- What are the performance objectives and how do I pass them?
- How do I find a workplace mentor?
- Which types of work experience count towards the PER?
What are the PER performance objectives?
Performance objectives are a way of measuring your effectiveness and professionalism in the workplace. They align to core areas of the ACCA syllabus and are a means of testing the skills, experience, values and professionalism you are expected to have as a trainee accountant.
As with the ACCA exams, there is a mix of Essentials objectives and Options objectives. You can find the complete list, published by ACCA Global.
Most performance objectives link closely to an area of the exams, so whichever papers you’re taking or have done well in will likely influence which performance options you will choose. Take a look below for a list of the Performance Objectives and linked exam papers.
|Performance Objective||Linked Exam Paper|
|PO4||Relevant across all papers|
|PO5||Relevant across all papers|
|PO6||Relevant across all papers|
|PO7||F1 & P3|
|PO8||F1, P3, P5|
|PO10||F3, F7, P2|
|PO11||F3, F7, P2|
|PO12||F2, F5, P5|
|PO13||F2, F5, P5|
|PO14||F2, F5, P5|
How do I pass the ACCA professional experience requirement?
To pass the ACCA professional experience requirement, you need a workplace mentor who will sign-off on your completion of each objective.
You and your workplace mentor will plan the performance objectives you are working towards, and they will help facilitate your achievements. They will help you identify specific project work or responsibilities you can be involved with to meet the objectives.
You and your mentor will review your progress regularly to ensure you are on the path to completing the objectives. During this process, you’ll need to be recording your experience on the online ACCA My Experience record. There will be a series of questions for each objective, that your mentor will then review.
How do I find a workplace mentor?
Your workplace mentor will be someone who you work closely with during your work experience – likely your line manager. They must be a qualified accountant and/or a member of an IFAC body.
If you aren’t able to find a workplace mentor who meets those requirements, you can use an unqualified workplace mentor and a Training Supervisor. The training supervisor is a qualified accountant who might not be able or want to be your mentor, but they will sign off on the work you and your unqualified mentor are doing. You can read more about Training Supervisors on the ACCA Global website.
You aren’t assigned a workplace mentor – which means you will have to find them, ask them to be your mentor yourself, and explain what the mentorship role requires.
Which types of work experience count towards the PER?
The types of work experience you can do for your ACCA professional experience requirement is very broad, to enable as many students as possible to meet the criteria.
You can claim previous experience from before you even registered as an ACCA student, for example. In that instance, you’d need to contact your previous supervisor and ask them to sign-off on your objectives from that time. Although there is no time limit as to when you gained this experience, ACCA recommend you go no further than 5 years back so your skills are relevant.
There is no time limit on gaining the ACCA professional experience requirement, although you need to ensure your skills are relevant.
You can also count up to a year of lecturing experience towards the PER, so long as your lecturing is at a minimum equivalent level to the ACCA Fundamentals papers. An internship also counts, as does part-time or temporary work so long as you’re properly supervised and gain the appropriate breadth of experience.
You’re not limited by country either. You can start your ACCA professional experience requirement in one country and complete it elsewhere if that suits you.
Although the ACCA advise that you need a job where you’re exposed to finance, accounting etc. the majority of the time, the PER is achievable in any industry or sector. However, bear in mind that the scope of the professional objectives are broad, so you need a role where you will gain a wide range of experience.
All in all, the ACCA professional experience requirement is designed to be as simple as possible to achieve. That’s not to say that it’s easy, though. Rather, that the opportunity to achieve your objectives shouldn’t be too difficult to find – and the rest is up to you.
Are you working towards your ACCA professional experience requirement? Are you about to start? What have your experiences been? Let us know in the comments.
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