FAQs on the practical experience requirement | ACCA | ACCA Global
ACCA - The global body for professional accountants

What is my status if I have passed all the ACCA Qualification exams but have not yet completed my practical experience requirement (PER)?

If you have not completed the PER you cannot become a member of ACCA, are not yet qualified as a professional accountant and cannot enjoy the benefits associated with this status. 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.

In order to perform effectively as an ACCA-qualified accountant and to help you meet future career challenges, you need to develop your skills in the workplace. The PER helps you to:

  • apply the knowledge and techniques gained through your studies in practice
  • observe and be involved in real-life work situations that help you to develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours that a qualified accountant needs
  • develop your judgement, encouraging you to reflect on the quality of your work and how you may improve your work performance in the future.

Employers expect ACCA members to show high levels of knowledge and ability in the workplace and to behave ethically. PER enables you to confirm your effective and sustained high-quality workplace performance, making you a more valuable employee.

What do I have to do to complete the practical experience requirement of the ACCA Qualification?

There are three components to the PER:

  • completing three years' employment in an accounting or finance-related role(s)
  • achieving nine Essentials and at least four Options performance objectives to the satisfaction of your workplace mentor
  • recording and reporting your PER progress through the online My Experience record.

For further information on the PER, please click on the PER link in the Related links box in the top left-hand corner of this page.

 

Who is a workplace mentor?

A workplace mentor is an individual who supports your development in the workplace and reviews your progress and achievements at work. They play an important role in the achievement of your PER. Your workplace mentor should guide and support you by:

  • helping you identify which performance objectives you should aim to achieve
  • setting targets in terms of performance and timescales
  • providing access to appropriate work experience and supporting your development. This may mean helping arrange job rotations, project work or other opportunities to gain relevant experience
  • evaluating and reviewing your progress on a regular and ongoing basis
  • signing-off performance objectives you have achieved.

For more information about workplace mentors, please click on the link in the Related links box in the top left-hand corner of this page.

How can I amend my workplace mentor details?

Your workplace mentor has the ability to update their contact details through their myACCA account.

However, if you have entered their details incorrectly and they consequently have not received an email notification from us to review your performance objective, you will be required to deactivate that workplace mentor. Once you have done this, simply add them back in as an additional workplace mentor (even if this is the same individual), entering the correct details.

How do I answer the challenge questions?

You should consider the following when answering challenge questions:

  • Keep your answers concise, but relevant. As a guide, someone who doesn't know your work should be able to read your answer and fully understand and appreciate the work you have completed. Provide evidence and examples to help illustrate your answers.
  • Demonstrate that you have met the performance indicators, on many occasions and over a period of time.
  • Check back against the detail of the performance objective's indicators of effective performance. Have you met all the outcomes and shown that you have conducted yourself in an appropriate manner?
  • Your workplace mentor and employer should obtain value from your answers to the challenge questions, as it should provide them with useful information about your workplace achievement and contribution.

For more information about challenge questions, please visit the PER support page (click on the link in the Related links box in the top left-hand corner of this page).

Can I use work experience that I gained prior to becoming an ACCA student to meet my PER? If so, how many years can I go back?

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, a workplace mentor must be available to review and sign off the answers to your challenge questions. 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 the PER for membership. The lecturing experience must be at a level equivalent to the Fundamentals level of the ACCA Qualification and cover basic accounting, business studies and finance-related subjects.

I am studying full-time. Is it possible to use a work placement towards ACCA's PER?

Yes. If your placement is in a relevant role then you may use this experience towards your PER, provided that the work experience is of sufficient breadth and depth to contribute towards achieving performance objectives and is properly supervised.

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

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

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. 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 140 hours per month. 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?

ACCA’s PER can be achieved in all sectors and sizes of organisation. The first thing you need to do is find a workplace mentor you can work with to achieve your PER. 

Can I gain my practical experience from different countries?

Absolutely, you could start your qualification in one country and complete it somewhere entirely different - many of our 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 can I achieve all the performance objectives without changing roles or company?

ACCA trainees work in every sector and size of organisation. Wherever you work, it is important to look for the opportunities to help you meet your PER and to obtain 36 months' experience in a relevant role or roles. Ideally, you should have a job 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.

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 person who supervised your work at that time must be able to review and sign off the answers to your challenge questions.)

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

or you may consider moving to a different organisation to allow you to take on increasing levels of responsibility and accountability.

You can 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.

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.

After completion of my studies, do I have to work in every employment sector ie industry, government and public practice 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 a range of experience.

 

I am self employed, how can I achieve my PER?

In order for work experience to count towards the ACCA Qualification practical experience requirements, 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 practical experience requirements for the ACCA qualification.

However, basic bookkeeping and other accountancy work undertaken under supervision (eg on a sub-contract basis) may constitute” approved accountancy experience”.

My organisation does not employ a professionally qualified accountant. Who can I get to verify my work experience and act as my workplace mentor?

If you work for a small organisation or are the most senior finance person in the organisation, or your organisation does not employ a professionally qualified accountant who can act as your workplace mentor, you could consider the following options:

  • Are there any consultants or external contacts – not necessarily employees – who know your work, are qualified accountants, and could act as your workplace mentor? 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. A trainee could act as your workplace mentor. ACCA requires that the trainee fulfilling the workplace mentor role be in a more senior role to the trainee they are supporting. This seniority should derive from them having progressed further in their development and having acquired greater experience. It is not sufficient for the workplace mentor to have the same level of experience as the trainee that they support or simply more years in a similar role at the same level.
  • ACCA manages the associated risk by classifying any trainee with another trainee as their workplace mentor 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.

Have you any more questions about PER?

Watch the Student Engage video to see Catherine Edwards, head of qualifications, ACCA and Paula Quinton-Jones, graduate resourcing and development manager, Standard Chartered Bank answer questions and provide guidance and advice around gaining practical experience.

If I am a CAT student and was registered before Jan 1st 2011, how do I complete my practical experience requirement?

You can either complete the Technician Training Record and submit it by December 31st 2011 or if you are planning to use the new Foundations in Practical Experience Requirement (FPER) then you can submit this at any time.

If I registered as a CAT student within Foundations in Accountancy after January 1st 2011, how do I complete my practical experience requirement?

I must complete and submit the new Foundations in Practical Experience Requirement (FPER) by completing the FPER Record and Summary.

If I work for a CAT approved employer, can I gain exemptions from four of the Performance Objectives in the ACCA Practical Experience Requirement (PER) , even though I have not actually demonstrated them in the FPER Record and Summary?

Yes, as long as the employer is formally recognised by ACCA as an approved CAT or ACCA employer, these exemptions can be carried forward into the ACCA Practical Experience Requirement.

If I work for a CAT approved employer, can I retrospectively claim exemptions from the first four examinations in the CAT qualification, if I have not actually demonstrated the Technical Competences associated with these examinations in the FPER Record and Summary?

No you cannot. The only people who can claim these exemptions are those who have actually demonstrated all the necessary Technical Competences associated with the exams for which exemptions are being claimed and have had them signed off by their workplace mentor. 

Last updated: 24 Oct 2014