Practical Experience Requirements
For ACCA and CIMA students completing their Practical Experience Requirements is a compulsory part of their qualifications. Many students find this a difficult area to navigate.
Whilst this is a fundamental part of the ACCA and CIMA qualifications, those studying other qualifications will also find this process beneficial as it helps to capture your work experience and skills. AAT students wishing to go on and study for their ACCA or CIMA qualification can understand at an early stage how they can start documenting their experience. Our ICAEW students will find the techniques discussed useful in preparing for performance reviews and promotions.
Before joining First Intuition, Ben Bullman, our Cambridge Managing Director and Tutor worked in practice. During this time, he managed a team of Accountants and has first-hand experience of the Practical Experience Requirements, gained in his own qualification and by signing off those of his team. Ben has put together his guide below and you can find further information in the links at the end of this article.
What are the minimum requirements?
- Both CIMA and the ACCA require a minimum of 3-years work-related experience but this can be longer.
- Students who work part-time will need to extend this time on a pro-rata basis.
- Work experience does not have to be continuous. Students who take a career break or have other gaps in their employment still need to have 3 years of total experience as a minimum.
- Work experience must be gained in a relevant role but experience from a sandwich year or whilst studying AAT can be included. Students can include experience gained from before they registered with the ACCA or CIMA.
- If you are furloughed you can work on your Practical Experience Requirement but cannot use this time as part of your documented work-experience.
Where do I capture my Practical Experience Requirements?
For ACCA Students, you will need to go to your My ACCA and login into your account. You can select the job roles you’ve worked in and begin adding your experience. The ACCA website will keep a record for you in your account.
CIMA students will need to download the form from the CIMA website and use this to track your work history. You will need to take a look at the rules on the CIMA website. There are two sets of these; the existing rules and the updated rules. We currently recommend we use the existing rules.
What do I need to capture?
ACCA students will need to write a reflective piece for each of the 5 essential areas and then choose 4 aspects from the technical section. For the technical aspects, you can choose 4 from any of the boxes. Unless you work for one of the ACCA’s approved employers, you will need to complete this in full. It is worth checking though whether your employer is on the approved list.
CIMA students will need to document how they have demonstrated each of the three skills required. You will then need to look at the further requirements and document 100% of the basic, 70% of the core and 30-40% of the supplementary ones.
How do I record my evidence?
For each element, it’s worth looking at the following and aim to write around 300 words for each piece of evidence. The following points may be useful.
- Describe the situation
- Document the task- what were you asked to do?
- Capture the actions you took.
- Summarise the results.
- Be sure to add a reflective element. What did you learn? (finish each piece of evidence with this)
- Write in the 1st person to make it personal and clear that this is your work experience.
- Be succinct.
How does my Practical Experience Record get signed off?
- ACCA students will need to get their PER signed off by their workplace supervisor and this must be a qualified member of one of the chartered institutes (ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW). They do not need to be an ACCA member.
- If your direct supervisor doesn’t meet the criteria above, you can ask another qualified member of your organisation to sign off your experience.
- If you don’t have a member of a chartered institute at your workplace, you could consider asking someone external to your organisation. This could be a contractor who signs off your company’s year-end accounts, for example, but they must be a chartered member.
- You will need to get previous employers to sign off the experience gained with them and they must also be a member of a chartered institute.
- There is more help available on the ACCA’s website if you don’t work full-time in a finance role.
- ACCA students can submit their PER on an ongoing basis, at any stage of their training.
- To make their final submission, ACCA students will need to have passed all of their exams and their Ethics module.
- The ACCA notifies students when they are eligible to make their final submission.
- CIMA students will need to get their experience verified by their direct supervisor and one other person in the organisation.
- This does not need to be a member of a chartered institute.
- CIMA students need to collate all of their evidence onto the document they have downloaded from CIMA’s website.
- PER can only be submitted once students have completed their Strategic Objective tests but have up to four years after this to make their submission.
- Students have the option to submit by post, email or discuss their PER in a face-to-face interview. The latter is a good option as any feedback is immediate. These interviews are currently being offered via remote technology. Students submitting via the post can wait up to 8 weeks for feedback.
Ben’s Top Tips for submitting your Practical Experience Record:
- Use the resources on the ACCA and CIMA’s websites (see below for details)
- Pick an Objective/Skill and start recording evidence
- Identify and have a chat with your workplace supervisor
- Look at other Objectives/Skills and link to work appraisals
- Think about career plans and obtaining experience when you can
- Don‘t be worried about submitting