PER - the ins and outs
Understanding your objectives
The ACCA Qualification is made up of three elements - exams, ethics, and experience, with practical experience requirements (PER) the umbrella term used for the 'experience' element.
By completing PER, you develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours required of a qualified accountant, applying what you have learned though your studies and ensuring you have the relevant skills and knowledge to meet different challenges in your career.
Trainee Development Matrix (TDM)
The Trainee Development Matrix (TDM) is the online tool where you record your PER. It is accessed though myACCA and will help you through every stage of your PER - from planning your development activities, targeting performance objectives and answering your challenge questions. It is the place to record your practical experience achievements.
All trainees - students and affiliates - must make an annual PER return to ACCA. If you are a full-time student or not, yet working in a relevant job, you will be able to let us know this when you make your return. It helps ACCA ensure that you are on the right track to gaining membership, while helping you to record any experience you may have gained throughout the year. It can be done online through the TDM, and should only take a few minutes to complete.
Performance objectives are goals set by ACCA to help you demonstrate achievement in the workplace. They all involve the types of work activities you will be involved in as a trainee accountant, and set the standard of performance you are expected to achieve to reach ACCA membership.
You are required to achieve 13 performance objectives in total, and it is your workplace mentor who decides when you have achieved the performance objective.
Challenge questions are the means by which your workplace mentor reviews your achievement of the performance objectives. When you think you have achieved these, you need to answer three challenge questions related to each performance objective, via the TDM.
Through the challenge questions, you should be able to summarise how you have achieved that set goal; your workplace mentor can evaluate if the correct standard has been met. Once your mentor signs off the answers to all three challenge questions for a performance objective, that performance objective has been achieved.
A mentor is an individual who supports your development in the workplace and reviews your progress and achievement at work. Your workplace mentor should help you to identify which performance objectives you should aim to achieve, set targets in terms of performance and timescales and provide access to appropriate work experience, such as job rotations or project work. They will ultimately review your progress and sign off your performance objectives.
Your mentor should ideally be someone with whom you work closely. More importantly, they should be a qualified accountant; if they are not an ACCA member, they should hold membership of another recognised professional accountancy or audit body.