Practical experience requirement: beware of these myths...

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We take a look at five of the most commonly held myths surrounding PER. Don't fall into these traps when trying to complete one of the most important elements on the journey to becoming a member.

‘All I need to do to achieve a performance objective is to tick the right box’

You must demonstrate your achievement of each performance objective by performing activities in the workplace to achieve the elements and writing a statement to provide examples of experience gained and work activities undertaken. 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’ve achieved the performance objective – not you.

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

Exams are only part of the story. By completing your PER, you demonstrate you have 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. Don’t forget you need to complete the Ethics and Professional Skills module too. 

Exams, experience and ethics are all needed to attain ACCA membership and use the letters after your name.

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‘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.

‘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 practical experience supervisor signing off as you progress towards completion – for instance, if you are promoted, switch teams or change employer, or if you are temping.

‘I don’t need to do my PER’

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

More information

Learn more about the PER by visiting the dedicated area on ACCA’s website

This article was first published in Student Accountant in May 2022

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