PER: beware of the myths

We’ve put together responses to some of the most common misconceptions held by affiliates who contact ACCA Connect about the practical experience requirement (PER).


1.  ‘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 claiming an objective's five elements and writing a 200–500 word statement. These are submitted to your practical experience supervisor for approval. These must be reviewed and, if satisfactory, signed off by your practical experience supervisor before counting towards your PER. It is your practical experience supervisor who decides when you have achieved the performance objective – not you.

2.  ‘I don’t need to prove experience – now I’ve passed all my exams, I’m an ACCA member’

Exams are only half the story. By completing your PER, you demonstrate you’ve 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. The Ethics and Professional Skills module is mandatory for all ACCA students and affiliates, no matter when they registered with ACCA. Exams, experience and ethics are all needed to attain ACCA membership and use the letters after your name.

3.  ‘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.

4.  ‘Whoever I am working for can sign off my performance objectives – even if I achieved them in a previous job’

Whoever is your practical experience supervisor 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 supervisor signing off as you progress towards completion – for instance, if you’re promoted, switch teams or change employer, or if you’re temping.

5.  ‘I don’t need to do my PER’

Employers value the ACCA Qualification exams – but without relevant practical experience, you’ll be at a disadvantage compared with those who have passed their finals but continue to work towards completing the ACCA Qualification in its entirety. Start identifying or asking for opportunities to achieve your performance objectives right away.

Find out more about completing your PER