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info_outline From 29th October all our classroom courses will be delivered via Live Online until further notice. Our centres are open for Computer Based Exams (CBE) only, which are running with safety measures in place.

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A guide to the ACCA Practical Experience Requirement (PER)

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It’s important to have the relevant experience, as well as exam success, to secure a top notch qualification. So to become an ACCA member you have to show relevant skills and some experience of a real work environment.

When we return to more ‘normal’ circumstances, you’ll find it easier to work on PER as you are studying for exams, and will keep your experience in ACCA’s MyExperience tool as up to date as possible.

So as soon as you’re in a relevant position, find a practical experience supervisor you can work with to achieve your PER.

What is PER?

The Practical Experience Requirement (PER) is a period* of supervised experience in a relevant accounting or finance role, and requires the completion of nine performance objectives.

PER is completely transferable - across organisations, sectors and geographical locations.

*36 months

What experience is relevant for PER?

A ‘relevant role’ means that you have a job in areas such as accounting, finance, audit and assurance, or the more technical areas of forensics, taxation and insolvency. Internships, part-time and voluntary work can also count towards PER.

If you are self-employed, performing basic bookkeeping and other accountancy work under supervision (e.g. on a subcontract basis) may count towards the PER.

Trainee accountants can provide basic book-keeping and certain other services direct to the public, but this cannot constitute 'approved accountancy experience' and therefore may not count towards the PER.

You can gain practical experience before you register with the ACCA, but it has to be signed off by a practical experience supervisor at the employer where you gained the experience.

What are the benefits of PER for ACCA students?

Apart from being necessary for membership and getting the letters after your names, there are other ways PER can benefit you in your role. They include: applying your theoretical knowledge to real-life practical scenarios, improving your skills, opening up new job opportunities and networking.

What are performance objectives?

Performance objectives allow you to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and techniques in the workplace. They are a vital part of the PER.

They are the benchmarks of effective performance, and describe the types of work activities you'll be involved with as trainee accountants. They also outline the values and attitudes you should demonstrate as you fulfil the practical experience requirement.

How many performance objectives do I have to achieve?

You have to achieve 9 in total - 5 essential objectives, and then 4 from a list of 17 Technical objectives.

What are the performance objectives?

They are compulsory and you have to demonstrate experience in every one of these areas:

  • Ethics and professionalism (PO1)
  • Stakeholder relationship management (PO2)
  • Strategy and innovation (PO3)
  • Governance, risk and control (PO4)
  • Leadership and management (PO5)

And then you choose four from this list:

Corporate and business reporting

  • Record and process transactions and events (PO6)
  • Prepare external financial reports (PO7)
  • Analyse and interpret financial reports (PO8)

Financial management

  • Evaluate investment and financing decisions (PO9)
  • Manage and control working capital (PO10)
  • Identify and manage financial risk (PO11)

Management accounting

  • Evaluate management accounting systems (PO12)
  • Plan and control performance (PO13)
  • Monitor performance (PO14)

Taxation

  • Tax computations and assessments (PO15)
  • Tax compliance and verification (PO16)
  • Tax planning and advice (PO17)

Audit and assurance

  • Prepare for and plan the audit and assurance process (PO18)
  • Collect and evaluate evidence for an audit or assurance engagement (PO19)
  • Review and report on the findings of an audit or assurance engagement (PO20)

Advisory and consultancy

  • Business advisory (PO21)

Data, digital and technology

  • Data analysis and decision support (PO22)

It’s best to choose the technical objectives that most suit your role and everyday work. Don’t choose anything that you won’t actually be able to get experience in. The ACCA has a competency framework to help you choose the right objectives for your role, or the career you’re aspiring to.

You have to demonstrate your achievement of the performance objectives to your practical experience supervisor. You do this by performing activities in the workplace to achieve the elements, and writing a statement to provide examples of your experience.

For more information on the performance objectives, PER examples and linked ACCA exams, download the performance objectives booklet. The one-page exams objective factsheet (PDF download), gives you more information about how the performance objectives link to your ACCA exams.

What is a practical experience supervisor (PES)?

A practical experience supervisor is someone who supports your development in the workplace and reviews your progress and performance at work. They are there to support you and help you with: performance objectives, targets, timescales, as well as helping you find the right work experience and making it possible for you to achieve it.

They will also evaluate and review your progress, and sign off performance objectives once you’re achieved them. Finally, they will confirm that you’ve claimed the right amount of work experience time towards the 36 months requirement.

Who can be a practical experience supervisor?

They are usually your line manager or the person you report to on a regular basis. They have to be a qualified accountant, work closely with you, and know your work.

You can have more than one supervisor, or change supervisors over time. Family and friends should not be your supervisor in case there is a conflict of interest.

How and when should I record experience?

Ideally you should start recording your experience as soon as possible, as long as you are in the right role. You will record your experience in ACCA’s MyExperience tool - this can also be used to help plan your work experience.

You’ll need to add employment details, complete your objectives and write your statements. These are all done via the tool, which is very clear and easy to use.

Are there any exemptions?

If you work for an ACCA Approved Employer you may be able to claim a performance objective exemption. Approved employers, that hold trainee development approval at Gold or Platinum level, have been assessed by ACCA and have shown that the level of training and support they provide is sufficient to meet the PER.

You will need to check if your employer meets this standard - you can check ACCA’s Approved Employer directory to see if yours is on the list.

If you qualify for the exemption, it means that you do not need to record the performance objectives in MyExperience and will achieve these through the training you’ll receive with your employer, but you’ll still need to complete the minimum 36 months’ experience.

If you leave the approved employer where you received the exemption, you’ll need to complete an approved employer PER summary form available on the ACCA website.

More support

If you want more information, advice or support, we’re here to help. Just get in touch with Student Services and we can explain PER further, and advise you on your next steps.

Good luck!

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