PER: setting and meeting performance objectives

Gaining practical experience is a requirement of ACCA membership. By meeting specific performance objectives, you will have demonstrated your effectiveness in the workplace to a standard that’s common for all ACCA members throughout the world. This article will help you plan how to gain the workplace experience necessary to achieve this standard

Meeting all five Essentials performance objectives, and any four Technical performance objectives – selected from a choice of 15 – will do more than gain you entry into membership of the largest and fastest-growing global professional accountancy body. You’ll be a well-rounded business professional who has proven ability to apply the theory learned while studying for exams – making you even more marketable wherever you choose to live and work.

Planning ahead for meeting performance objectives

Although mandatory, you still need to think how the five Essentials performance objectives can be best achieved through workplace experience. You are free to choose any four from the 15 Technical performance objectives. However, opting for those that most closely align with your personal preferences may not be the most effective strategy. You should take into consideration the following issues:

Think creatively about how you might be able to work with your practical experience supervisor – from initial planning of how to gain experience through to assessment of your performance. Does your supervisor have specific knowledge or access to opportunities that might favour certain performance objectives over others?

Examine all the Essentials performance objectives with an open mind. Some objectives, or even the way in which you plan to achieve them, may provide opportunities to attain Options performance objectives you might not have otherwise considered. Who are you hoping will help you acquire some specific experience? What are that person’s other duties and responsibilities? If you have to liaise with other teams, to which areas of experience could they provide access?

Setting performance objectives with your practical experience supervisor

As you achieve each of your performance objectives, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a well-rounded business professional. Remember that your practical experience supervisor will be more likely to appreciate the increase in your effectiveness at work, as you add to your ‘worth’ within the office – and this may provide them with extra motivation and impetus to support you.

Your employer may already encourage you to set objectives as part of an appraisal or review process. When setting these, consider the performance objectives you must achieve in order to gain ACCA membership. How do these reflect your current responsibilities and the objectives your employer wants you to achieve? The practical experience requirements cover technical accounting skills, a commitment to high ethical standards, a flair for communicating and influencing, use of information technology, and the ability to manage people or resources.

The key issue to address – and this is primarily your responsibility – is how to gain the experience you need to help you meet your objectives.

Many employers have no formal development system in place that encompasses the setting and appraisal of ACCA performance objectives. My Experience is designed to help you plan, record, and report your practical experience, helping you, through role profiling exercises and developmental plans, to achieve the requirements for ACCA membership, alongside your employer’s expectations.

Tracking your progress

Make the most of your practical experience supervisor and don’t rely solely on official appraisals or formal meetings to obtain feedback. Remember, gaining practical experience is primarily your responsibility. The following guidance will help to develop some good habits when tracking your progress:

  • Plot your ‘milestones’ by identifying significant points that represent a step nearer to each performance objective.
  • Consider ethical and governance issues surrounding the work you carry out. For example, when must you exercise value judgments? When must you comply with statutory requirements or face issues of risk?
  • Ask for feedback – not just from your practical experience supervisor but also from your colleagues.
  • Even after identifying the experience required in order to meet performance objectives, keep a look out for even better ways to meet those objectives.

In this way, careful planning and constant focus will ensure you meet your performance objectives effectively.