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Your workplace mentor 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.

1. Who should be your workplace mentor?

Ideally, a workplace mentor 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.

2. What if there isn’t anyone who can be your workplace mentor?

In most cases, your line manager should be able to fulfil that role. However, if your line manager isn’t a qualified accountant there might be another suitably-qualified person who you work with – either someone in another department or more senior in the organisation. It may be that your organisation’s auditor has knowledge of your work and is able to sign-off your experience.

3. More than one mentor?

It’s possible that you may have more than one workplace mentor, 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’s in a relevant accounting or accounting-related role.

4. How to approach someone to be your workplace mentor

In order for the mentoring relationship to work, it’s essential that your workplace mentor is interested, willing, and committed. How you approach a potential workplace mentor can help to influence this.

A successful mentoring 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 workplace mentor if you can specify what you require from them as a mentor. Consider the following before approaching a potential workplace mentor:

  • Plan what you are going to say and be clear about your key points. You will come across as more professional and more likely to get the support you want.
  • Be clear about what role you want them to play – do you want them to oversee all your practical experience or just specific performance objectives?
  • Be confident in the benefits your workplace mentor will receive. Sell the role to them by explaining what’s in it for them and why they should support you.

by ACCA student blogger Hafeez Adeboye

I started my ACCA journey four years ago. Since then, I have grown a monster-sized set of proficiencies, skills and competencies in accountancy, especially in the area of audit and assurance. Because of it, I was able to secure a Chief Audit Executive (Group Head, internal audit department) role where I work.

I emerged the most favourable candidate for the job because I had demonstrated the ethics, governance, audit and assurance knowledge I acquired in ACCA exam F8 (I attempted the paper twice before succeeding at it the third time) while I was as an assistant to the CFO in the finance and accounts department. I now look forward to taking exam paper P7 and am excited by the possibility of passing it first attempt.

I changed employment last month, moving to a more senior role in my new place of work. My job function requires competency in ethics, professionalism and corporate governance. Exam F8 has provided me the platform needed to achieve my deliverables as a Chief Audit Executive (although I had to take other relevant qualifications too).

Applying theory in the work place could be a daunting task, largely due to human behaviours, work place structure and management control overriding potential action. It is the reason why emotional intelligence is important to the success of an audit practitioner, and of course possessing a discerning mind, especially in this part of the world (Nigeria and by extension the rest of Africa). My slogan is “changing them all, one standard at a time”. I just have to remain resilient.

Part of achieving ACCA membership is Practical Experience Requirement (working in a relevant role and meeting performance objectives within that role) I have recorded achievement of 9 out of 9 Essentials and 7 out of 4 Options in my Performance Objectives (ACCA students are required to achieve any 4 from 11 Options in their Practical Experience Requirement).

It is my hope that I have passed across essential information to students out there to help them excel, as I did in my career.

Catch you all for my next blog post.