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FAQs about the PER

What is my status if I have passed all my exams but have not yet completed the PER? 

To become a member of ACCA and qualify as a professional accountant, you must pass all the exams, successfully complete the Professional Ethics module and complete the PER.

You cannot apply for membership until you have completed all three components. 

What do I have to do to complete the practical experience? 

There are three components to the PER:

  • completing 36 months' employment in an accounting or finance-related role or roles
  • achieving five Essentials and at least four Technical performance objectives to the satisfaction of your practical experience supervisor
  • recording and reporting your PER progress through the online My Experience record.

Further information on the PER can be accessed within this section and from the 'Related links'.

FAQs about gaining experience

Can I use work experience gained before commencing the ACCA Qualification?

Yes. You can use experience from previous job roles (before or after registering as an ACCA student) to help you claim a performance objective. There is no specific time limit.

However, the qualified person who supervised your work at that time must be able to review and sign-off the performance objectives and time you claim on the basis of this experience.

Also, as the profession continually evolves, consider carefully if experience gained more than five years ago is still relevant.

Can lecturing experience count towards my PER?

Yes. Up to 12 months' lecturing experience can count towards meeting the PER. The lecturing experience must be at a minimum level equivalent to the Fundamentals level of the ACCA Qualification and cover basic accounting, business studies and finance-related subjects.

I am currently studying. Is it possible to use a work placement or internship towards the PER?

Yes. You can use experience gained at either a work placement or internship if the work experience was relevant and provided sufficient breadth and depth to contribute towards achieving performance objectives. This experience must also have been properly supervised by a qualified accountant.

Can I use experience gained in a part-time or temporary position towards the PER?

Yes, provided that the work experience is of sufficient breadth and depth to contribute towards achieving performance objectives and is properly supervised by a qualified accountant.

However, you may find that experience gained in a part-time or temporary position does not allow you to achieve many performance objectives and may not provide sufficient opportunities for career development.

Also, work experience gained on a part-time basis can only count towards the PER for membership on a pro-rata basis. You will be asked to enter the number of hours a week you work against your role in My Experience and your time will be automatically calculated. Therefore, wherever possible, it is advisable to obtain full-time work experience* that is relevant, supervised and meets the PER.

*As a guideline, ACCA considers full-time work experience to be 35 hours per week. 1,540 hours of part-time work equates to 12 months of full-time work experience. This discounts annual leave etc.

Is it better to get your work experience in a small or large organisation?

As long as you are in a relevant accounting or finance role, the PER can be achieved in all sectors and sizes of organisation. Once in a relevant role, the first thing you need to do is find a practical experience supervisor you can work with to achieve your PER.

Can I gain my practical experience from different countries?

Yes. You could start your qualification in one country and complete it somewhere entirely different - many ACCA trainees do. PER is completely transferable - across organisations, sectors and geographical locations.

To support trainees around the world, we have a network of national offices providing support and information for trainees including, in many cases, national websites.

How do I get the range of experience needed to achieve the performance objectives?

Ideally, you should have a role where most of your time is spent on activities and tasks related to accounting, finance, audit and assurance, or in other related technical areas such as taxation, insolvency and forensic accounting. You will be asked to confirm what percentage of your role is spent on relevant accounting or finance tasks and your time will then be automatically calculated on a pro rata basis.

If your role or organisation does not offer sufficient opportunity to achieve your performance objectives you have a number of options.

You can use experience from previous roles to help you claim a performance objective, including experience gained before registering with ACCA. The qualified person who supervised your work at that time must be able to review and sign-off the performance objectives and time you claim using this experience.

You may start in a junior role where your exposure to different work activities is limited but you should aim to gain more responsibility and accountability over time. Examples include when:

  • you are promoted
  • your job changes in some way.

Other ways that you may be able to gain experience in a current role is through job rotations, secondments, project work, workshops, job shadowing, and on-the-job training. Or you may consider moving to a different organisation to allow you to take on increasing levels of responsibility and accountability.

You can also achieve performance objectives outside of your employment. For example, you may act in a voluntary capacity as treasurer to a club or society.

To make progress, you should actively plan your career, setting yourself goals which should include the types of jobs you would like to do. Take a look at our Competency Framework to help you plan, which can be accessed from the 'Related links' section of this page.

Do I have to work for an organisation that has been approved by ACCA?

No. You do not have to obtain your practical experience in an organisation which has been approved by ACCA. Although there are advantages to achieving your PER if you do work for an ACCA Approved Employer.

Information on the Approved Employer programme can be accessed from the 'Related links' section of this page.

After completion of my studies, do I have to work in every employment sector in order to gain the necessary practical work experience?

No. ACCA trainees can chose to work in any business sector or combination of sectors to gain their PER, providing they work in a relevant role and are able to get the range of experience required to achieve the performance objectives.

I am self employed. How can I achieve my PER?

In order for work experience to count towards the PER, it must be supervised and verified by a suitably qualified person. While trainees can provide basic book-keeping and certain other services direct to the public, this cannot constitute 'approved accountancy experience' and therefore may not count towards the PER.

However, basic bookkeeping and other accountancy work undertaken under supervision (eg on a sub-contract basis) may count towards the PER.

FAQs about practical experience supervisors

What is a practical experience supervisor?

A practical experience supervisor is an individual who supports your development, oversees your achievement of performance objectives and signs-off performance objectives once they have been achieved. Your practical experience supervisor will also sign off the time you claim in your role towards the 36 months’ requirement.

The practical experience supervisor role is central to you completing the practical experience requirement of the ACCA qualification and achieving membership.  

For more information about supervisors, please visit our practical experience supervisor section

Who can be my practical experience supervisor?

Your practical experience supervisor should be someone with whom you work closely, 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 to whom you report on particular projects or activities.

In order to sign-off your performance objectives your practical experience supervisor should be a qualified accountant recognised by law in your country and/or a member of an International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) body.

Who can be my practical experience supervisor if my line manager is not qualified?

If your line manager isn’t qualified they can still sign-off the relevant time you are claiming in your role. You can then nominate a second, qualified, practical experience supervisor to work with your line manager to sign-off your performance objectives. If you work for a small organisation and are the most senior finance person, or your organisation does not employ a professionally qualified accountant who can sign-off performance objectives, then you may need to find someone external to your organisation such as an external auditor or consultant to work with your line manager.

1. Using someone working at your employer as your practical experience supervisor

There may be qualified accountant working for the same organisation who is able to be your practical experience supervisor. They will have a general overview of your work and can confirm details of your experience with your unqualified line manager. They may ask to see samples of your work. This supervisor would typically be someone senior to your line manager or a manager from another department.

2. Using a consultant or external contact as your practical experience supervisor

There may be a consultant or external contact who is a qualified accountant and knows your work. They could act as your practical experience supervisor and sign-off your performance objectives.

For example, your organisation may have external accountants or the organisation's auditor might be willing to fulfil this role – but make sure they do not feel there is any conflict of interest if they agree to do this. They will need to confirm details of your experience with your line manager and may ask to see samples of your work.

How do I approach a potential practical experience supervisor?

It is your responsibility to find a practical experience supervisor. Once you have identified the most appropriate person to be your supervisor, in most cases this will be your line manager, the next thing to do is to thoroughly familiarise yourself with the practical experience supervisor role so you can have an informed conversation with them. For full information and resources, please visit our practical experience supervisor section

If the person you approach is not an ACCA member, you will need to also explain basic information about the ACCA PER to them.

Although you need a practical experience supervisor in order to progress through the PER, supervisors also benefit from their role in many ways and it will help you to have a more successful conversation with them if you can explain these benefits.

Some benefits include skills development in areas such as communication and time management, which when applied to your role can increase your effectiveness and the value you are able to bring to your team and organisation. Many supervisors also report that they have learnt a lot through supporting an ACCA trainee and find it personally meaningful.
The role may contribute to the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements of their own professional body as well.

Visit our practical experience supervisor section to learn more. The section contains a brief guide that trainees can download and give to potential supervisors, explaining the reasons for taking on the role.

How can I amend my practical experience supervisor's details? 

Once your practical experience supervisor has registered they will have the ability to update their contact details through their myACCA account.

However before they have accepted your invitation and registered you will be able to amend their details. Therefore if you have entered their email address incorrectly and they have not received their invitation to register you will be able to amend their email address in your My Experience record and resend the invitation.

Contact us

If you do not have access to a qualified practical experience supervisor to sign-off the achievement of your performance objectives please contact ACCA to discuss your options.

Please visit our Contact us page

FAQs about recording experience

How often should I update My Experience?

ACCA recommends that you regularly update your online My Experience record. One of the difficulties trainees can encounter when they come to apply for membership is that they find they are missing vital information, such as employer details, or they have failed to gain sign-off for time and performance objectives achieved with a previous employer.

How do I write my performance objective statements?

You should consider the following when writing you statements:

  • Keep your answers concise, but relevant. You should use a minimum of between 200 and 300 words. As a guide, someone who doesn't know your work should be able to read your statements and fully understand and appreciate the work you have completed.
  • Check back against the description of the performance objective. Have you met all the outcomes and shown that you have conducted yourself in an appropriate manner?
  • Provide one or two examples of activities you have done to meet the elements to illustrate your statement.
  • Your practical experience supervisor should obtain value from your statements, as these should provide them with a useful reminder about your workplace achievement and contribution.

How do practical experience supervisors sign-off performance objectives?

  • Once you have found someone who agrees to act as your supervisor, you should enter their details including their email address against the relevant employer and role in your online My Experience record.
  • An email will be sent asking them to agree to act as your supervisor and inviting them to register. They will then be given access to review and sign-off your performance objective(s) and/or time via My Experience.

Once my practical experience supervisor has signed off my performance objectives - what next?

ACCA will automatically invite you to membership once all performance objectives and time has been signed off.

FAQs about Approved Employers

Do trainees at ACCA Approved Employers need to use the My Experience record?

If your employer is an ACCA Approved Employer - trainee development stream, you may be able to claim the performance objective exemption. This is because ACCA recognises that your employer already has a strong training and development programme in place, which will equip you with the required competence.

It is up to the employer to decide if they want to allow you to claim the performance objective exemption. You will still be required to complete 36 months' experience and record this in My Experience. You will also claim the exemption in My Experience.

In summary:

  • Please note that it is your employer - not you - who decides whether you can claim the performance objectives exemption.
  • You will still need to use My Experience to record the 36 months of experience you gain and to claim the exemption.

What do I need to do if I leave an Approved Employer?

If you are employed by an Approved Employer where you are claiming the performance objective exemption and you are planning on leaving, you must complete the Approved Employer confirmation form which you can download from your My Experience record.

Please forward the signed off copy to ACCA and we will update your My Experience record to reflect the performance objectives you have achieved. You can also access the 'PER support' section from the 'Related links' for the Approved Employer confirmation form.

Make sure you keep the original form for your own record; it may be requested during a PER audit.

Remember - you will need to achieve the balance of your time in a relevant role and performance objectives with a new employer. 

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Last updated: 6 Mar 2017