Who could be your practical experience supervisor, and can you have more than one?
Your practical experience supervisor will play an important role in helping you to achieve ACCA membership. Not only will they be responsible for signing off the experience you have gained and recorded in My Experience, they should also support you in planning, achieving, and recording the experience required to become an ACCA member.
Think about the qualities required in a practical experience supervisor before approaching someone to take on that role for you. Your practical experience supervisor will be responsible for assessing whether or not you have actually achieved a performance objective. Therefore, in order for them to make this judgment, it is crucial that they have knowledge of your work. It will often be your line manager who will fulfil the role of practical experience supervisor. However, there may be someone who works in a different team, department, or location that meets the criteria to become your practical experience supervisor.
Ideally, a practical experience supervisor should also be in a position to influence your access to experience. They should, wherever possible, be able to provide you with opportunities to gain relevant experience so that you can achieve your performance objectives. This may be through secondments, job swaps, or project work.
In order to be able to assess whether or not you have achieved a performance objective, your practical experience supervisor will need to have an understanding of ACCA’s practical experience requirements and, specifically, the requirements of each performance objective. While personal effectiveness and professionalism are covered in the Essentials performance objectives, Technical performance objectives cover the technical areas of accounting. Therefore, your practical experience supervisor should also be a qualified accountant in order to sign off your performance objectives. They don’t have to be qualified with ACCA, but should be qualified with an accountancy body recognised by law in the country in which you are working.
In summary, to be eligible to sign-off your performance objectives, your practical experience supervisor should:
In order to gain ACCA membership, you must have your performance objectives and the time you have completed in a relevant role signed off by a practical experience supervisor(s). Therefore if your line manager is not qualified they can sign-off your time and you can choose a second qualified practical experience supervisor who can work with your manager to sign-off your performance objectives. This second practical experience supervisor could be another manager within the organisation, a consultant, or it may be that the organisation's external accountants has knowledge of your work and is able to sign-off your performance objectives.
It is possible that you may have more than one practical experience supervisor, with different people planning, supporting, and reviewing different objectives. This might be the case if your experience is gained in more than one department or with more than one employer. Remember that experience in any sector – part-time or voluntary roles – may contribute to your practical experience requirements, as long as it is in a relevant accounting or accounting-related role.
It is likely that the most appropriate person to be your practical experience supervisor will be your line manager as they have the best understanding of the work you do in your day-to-day role and is best placed to influence the experience that you can obtain. However, in order for the supervisor relationship to work, it is essential that your practical experience supervisor is interested, willing, and committed. How you approach a potential practical experience supervsor can help to influence this.
A successful supervisor relationship is most likely to be achieved when both parties clearly understand the objectives and benefits of the process. An individual is more likely to agree to be your practical experience supervisor if you can specify what you require from them as a supervisor. Consider the following before approaching a potential supervisor:
The practical experience requirements are designed so that they can be incorporated into your organisation’s existing appraisal systems. You and your practical experience supervisor will have a much more effective relationship if you work collaboratively, ensuring that in addition to achieving the requirements of ACCA membership, you will also become a more effective employee, with the skills your employer needs.