Practical Experience Requirements – don’t let false beliefs get in your way

theaccablog —  17 June 2014 — 10 Comments


If you are waiting for exam results or are waiting to start studying for your next exams, why not take this time to think about your practical experience requirements (PER). Here are answers to some of the most common misconceptions held by students who talk to ACCA Connect about PER.

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

You must demonstrate your competence with each performance objective by answering a series of three challenge questions – to which there are no right or wrong answers (it depends entirely on your individual experience). These must be reviewed and signed off by your workplace mentor before counting towards your PER. It’s your workplace mentor who decides when you have achieved the performance objective – not you.

2. ‘I won’t need to prove experience when I’ve passed all my exams, I’ll be an ACCA member’

Exams are only half 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 Professional Ethics module too. Exams, experience and ethics are all needed to attain ACCA membership and use the letters after your name.

3. ‘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.

4. ‘Whoever I am working for can sign off my performance objectives – even if I achieved them in a previous job’

Whoever is your workplace mentor 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 mentor signing off as you progress towards completion – for instance, if you’re promoted, switch teams or change employer, or if you’re temping.

5. ‘I don’t need to do my PER’

Employers value the ACCA Qualification exams – but without relevant practical experience, you’ll be at a disadvantage compared with those who have passed their exams but continue to work towards achieving ACCA membership. Start identifying or asking for opportunities to achieve your performance objectives right away.

You can update any practical experience you have gained through myACCA.


10 responses to Practical Experience Requirements – don’t let false beliefs get in your way


    Thanks for the information. I wanted to ask on a different issue. I want to register for Acca qualification next month, besides exam , subscription fees, what else should i pay?


      You would have to pay for each excepted exam (if you’re excepted from any) and courses but these you purchase from an independent learning provider such as bpp or kaplan.

    nahidul islam 19 June 2014 at 5:01 pm

    what should i do for PER..i am a an ACCA student study in FIA


      If you intend to move on to the ACCA Qualification to become an member in the future you must build up 3 years’ relevant work experience and demonstrate a minimum number of performance objectives at work. For these who have the opportunity to do so, the sooner they start to achieve these the better – as it leaves less to do later on, even if they are still on the Foundations programme.


    How many years need to be accumulated for the PER experience? Is there any difference if I work in commercial firm or auditing firm?


      To become an ACCA member you need 36 months of experience. ACCA trainees work in every sector and size of organisation so it’s not a problem if your experience is split between commercial and auditing. The key thing is to identify job opportunities that help you meet your PER. Ideally, you should find a job where most of your time will be 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 can also use experience from previous roles, voluntary work, work placements and internships towards your PER, including experience gained before registering with ACCA. As well as gaining 36 months of experience you also need to complete Performance Objectives under the supervision of a workplace mentor. You can find out all about PER by going to


    ‘Employers value the ACCA qualification exams’ hahahah what a joke. Only experience counts. Nobody cares for your ACCA qualification passes in the real world. I’ve been stuck in the catch-22 for years and years. As much as I loved studying through the ACCA qualification, career-wise it has been a big blunder. Its funny how ACCA pays so much emphasis on PER, whereas there’s hardly any way to get a relevant accountancy position in the first place.


      We are sorry to hear that you have had a challenging time in the job market. We firmly believe in supporting all our students and members with their career aspirations and for that reason we have developed ACCA Careers, in particular the Careers Centre – – which is full of very useful information.

      There are also the two Professional Skills modules that could be of use in thinking about the skills needed to gain a relevant role.

      Finally if you have any further queries please contact ACCA Connect as they may be able to offer you further support.


        Hey, its me again. Almost a year since that post I made out of frustration. So its almost 4+ years of trying to look for a relevant accountancy, finance, audit or tax related position. Still square one. I think I completed the Professional Skills modules as soon as they came out. Whilst I was living in the UK, I did try to use the ACCA Career Centre frequently, and applied for the jobs posted on there on a regular basis. Now I’m almost 26 years old with no relevant accountancy related experience. What should I do with my life? Keep working menial office based jobs, all that education and qualification to waste?

    Sanaullah Malik 1 July 2014 at 6:29 am

    Is there any specific eligibility requirement for a mentor to sign. Or any mentor can sign the objectives achieved.
    Secondly If I have not filled up and signed PER for previous employer, is it still possible to do it now?

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