The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a body of professional accountants headquartered in the UK. ACCA accounting is a leading international accountancy organisation in the world, with over 200,000 members and 500,000 students across the globe. One of the key necessities to obtain an ACCA qualification is Practical Experience Requirement (PER). So, what exactly is PER and how to complete it? Read on to find out.
What is PER in ACCA?
PER is one of the key components required to obtain ACCA membership. PER in ACCA is defined as the minimum amount of work experience required in relevant domains, in order to become an ACCA member and obtain the ACCA certificate. ACCA PER consists of three components, which are:
- Completing at least 36 months of work experience in a finance or accountancy role;
- Completing five Essentials and a minimum of four Technical objectives as per the satisfaction of your supervisor;
- Regularly logging on to the ‘My Experience’ record and updating and recording your PER progress.
In order to obtain ACCA registration, students need to develop certain skills that will be important in their future jobs. PER helps students in honing these skills and in providing them with hands on learning. PER also helps students in the following ways:
- Applying the knowledge and techniques they have learnt in their accounting work experience to the ACCA exams;
- Participating in actual work situations to develop and hone their professional attitude and skills
- Encouraging students to perform better in their exams.
ACCA trainees must work in job roles that are in line with the objectives of their PER. They must be working on tasks related to taxation, accounting, audit, finance, forensic accounting, risk, and insolvency.
What are performance objectives in ACCA?
Performance objectives are used by ACCA to ascertain whether the performances of the trainees are effective or not. These objectives set the minimum standard that trainees need to display in the workplace.
Trainees are required to complete nine of these objectives in total—all five Essentials and any four in Technical. These objectives can only be achieved by the trainees if they are obtaining relevant professional experience. The essentials are ethics and professionalism, stakeholder relationship management, strategy and innovation, governance risk and control, and leadership and management. There are five technical performance objectives, from which the trainees have to choose four. Take a look at these objectives:
- Corporate and business reporting:
- Record and process transactions and events;
- Prepare external financial reports;
- Analyse and interpret financial reports.
- Financial management:
- Evaluate investment and financing decisions;
- Manage and control working capital;
- Identify and manage financial risk.
- Sustainable management accounting:
- Evaluate management accounting systems;
- Plan and control performance;
- Monitor performance.
- Tax advisory:
- Tax computations and assessments;
- Tax compliance and verification;
- Tax planning and advice.
- Audit, assurance, and advisory:
- Prepare for and plan the audit process;
- Collect and evaluate evidence for an audit;
- Review and report on the findings of an audit.
Each of these objectives consist of the following elements:
- Description of the objective;
- Displaying requisite skills for the completion of the objective;
- Elements of the objective and required experience;
- A summarised statement of the work one has completed in order to achieve or complete the objective.
This statement has to be written for each of the performance objectives and the word limit of the statements is 200-300 words. The statement for each objective should include how the trainee completed the objective. Trainees should keep certain guidelines in mind while preparing their statements. Take a look at these guidelines below:
- The statements should be crisp and concise;
- Trainees should avoid using jargons;
- If any abbreviations are present in the statements, then they should be explained;
- Include examples and graphs to make the statement clearer;
- Do not repeat any information.
Who is a practical experience supervisor (PES)?
All ACCA trainees require a practical experience supervisor to oversee their PER progress. A practical experience supervisor is one who tracks the development of a trainee in the workplace and examines his/her PER status and progress. The responsibilities of supervisors with respect to the trainees are:
- Help choose the performance objectives and set the deadlines to complete those objectives;
- Assistance in gaining relevant work experience;
- Help identify the training, research, practical, and personality skills that are required to complete a particular objective;
- Review the performance objective statements and approve them if they meet the required standards.
- Confirm and approve the relevant time that trainees claim, which assists them towards gaining their compulsory 36 months of work experience.
The trainees are responsible for finding a PES for themselves. For a person to qualify as a PES, he/she must be a qualified accountant by law, or should be a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) body with in-depth knowledge of the trainee’s work and job role. Ideally, a trainee’s PES should be his/her manager. They should have knowledge and expertise as they will be assessing and examining the quality of work and achievements of the trainees. Trainees are allowed to have more than one PES. In this case, each of the practical supervisors help trainees in completing their chosen objectives.
In a scenario where a trainee is the senior-most finance person in an organisation, the trainee should approach an external auditor to be his/hers practical experience supervisor. The practical supervisor in this case should have knowledge of the trainee’s work.
How do students benefit with PER?
According to Avenade’s general manager in UK: “Work experience is an important part of becoming workplace-ready; building useful skills that cannot be taught in the classroom as well as contacts that students otherwise would not be exposed to.” This statement speaks volumes about the benefits of PER to students. Take a look at some of these benefits here:
- PER helps develop skills such as teamwork, leadership, time-management, communication, and commercial awareness;
- Trainees get to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-life practical scenarios;
- Helps in making professional contacts;
- Enhances the resume of a trainee, which would help him/her in getting better job opportunities;
- Ultimately, the PER may assist a trainee in landing a full-time job with the same firm;
- It differentiates the trainees from their competition, making them more employable.
If you are interested in pursuing the ACCA qualification, The Toronto School of Management (TSoM) offers a Preparatory Course For ACCA Examination. TSoM has been awarded with Silver Approved Learning Partner status by ACCA, which has over 3,800 students and members in Canada.