Is my experience relevant?
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 the 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 job only includes some accounting or finance work then the time you spend on these activities can still count towards your 36 months’ experience. For example if only spend 50% of your working time during the year is spent on accounting or finance tasks, you can claim six months out of a possible 12 as relevant time. When you record your role in My Experience you must input the percentage of time you spend on accounting or finance activities, the relevant time you can claim will then be calculated automatically.
You can use experience from previous roles, voluntary work, work placements and internships towards your PER, including experience gained before registering with ACCA. If you are using previous experience then the person who supervised your work at that time must be able to review and sign-off your 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 Applied Skills exams 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 career navigator to help you plan.
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 can't 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.
What happens if I'm on career break?
Your PER is based on the time you’re gaining relevant work experience - so if you're taking an extended break from work this time would not count towards your 36 months experience. If will be returning at some point in the future (for example after maternity leave, long-term illness, taking time off to care for a relative or if you are furloughed/off work due to COVID-19) you should add an end date to you role and can add a new role with a new start date when you start working again.