We have put together responses to some of the most common misconceptions held by students who have contacted ACCA Connect about practical experience requirements (PER).
‘All I need to do to achieve a performance objective is to tick the right box’
You must demonstrate your competence with each performance objective by answering a series of three challenge questions – to which there is no prescribed right or wrong answer (it depends entirely on your individual experience). These must be reviewed and, if satisfactory, signed off by your workplace mentor before counting towards your PER. It is your workplace mentor who decides when you have achieved the performance objective – not you.
‘I don’t need to prove experience – once I’ve passed all my exams, I’m an ACCA member’
Exams are only part of the story. By completing your PER, you demonstrate you have applied the knowledge gained through your studies in the workplace – exercising your judgment and identifying areas for future improvement, all key factors in your development as a rounded professional. Don’t forget you need to complete the Professional Ethics module too. Exams, experience and ethics are all needed to attain ACCA membership and use the letters after your name.
‘I can only use permanent jobs to count towards my 36 months of work experience’
If your job includes only a small amount of accountancy and finance work, it can count, as long as you pro rata the time spent on these activities. Also, the experience gained doesn’t have to be in a single role or in one continuous period – experience can be gained in part-time roles, secondments, job rotations, project work or undertaking new responsibilities.
‘Whoever I am working for can sign off my performance objectives – even if I achieved them in a previous job’
Whoever is your workplace mentor at the time you undertake the work must sign off the performance objective you are claiming for. So you may well have more than one mentor signing off as you progress towards completion – for instance, if you are promoted, switch teams or change employer, or if you are temping.
‘I don’t need to do my PER’
Employers value the ACCA Qualification exams – but without relevant practical experience, you will be at a disadvantage compared with those who pass their exams and continue to work towards completing the ACCA Qualification in its entirety. Start identifying or asking for opportunities to achieve your performance objectives right away.