For most aspiring chartered accountants, the focus is usually on passing the required number of qualifying exams. However, for those of us taking the ACCA exams, it is important to know that qualifying isn’t just about doing the exams.
In order to be chartered with the ACCA, a student has to:
- Complete 14 exams
- Complete the professional ethics module (which is an online test)
- Record 36 months verifiable experience in an accounting role (this means working in an accounting related job, either in an accounting firm, or in the accounting/finance section of an organisation)
- Complete 13 Performance Objectives.
(the ACCA refers to the 3rd and 4th points as Practical Experience Requirements -PER)
The ACCA’s Competency Framework is an online tool with which you can manage all the above aspects of your ACCA qualification alongside each other. there is also a list of FAQs and other information regarding this.
Now, the danger of focusing on just the qualifying exams is that once you are done with the exams (in record time I hope), you are left struggling to complete the other aspects of the qualification, as opposed to doing all of them simultaneously.
The issue most students face is finding the time to do them all. It’s quite simple really, and here’s what you need to do:
- Recording verifiable experience: If you work in an accounting related job, be sure to register your job role and duties with ACCA. If you don’t, it may be possible to get some experience with an accountant or voluntary organisation, which is still valid.
- Performance objectives: these tie directly with the 36 months experience. You cannot do performance objectives without any experience of an accounting related role. Choose the performance objectives most suited to your accounting role, and exam options, and answer them. The performance objectives have to be signed by a chartered accountant.
- For the Ethics module, ACCA will alert you when you are eligible to do the test.
*access your PER through the MyACCA portal on the ACCA website
It is advisable to start with the other aspects of the ACCA qualification as soon as you can, and go through it at your own pace – setting targets for the achieving performance objectives.
Now using a real life example, A reader – Eloho – requested for this post. She works in the reconciliation/ebusiness department of a rapidly growing organisation. She recently sat for the F2 and F3 exams., and wants to know how to go about completing the other aspects of the ACCA qualification.
My advice is to:
- Register her job details, with start date etc under her ACCA student profile. As she works in a accounting related job, her 36month experience will begin to record.
- Find a chartered accountant at work, who can act as a work place mentor, for the performance objectives. The ACCA website gives further guidance on this.
The advantage of doing all aspects of the qualification is a quicker transition from ACCA Affiliate (someone who has only completed the exams/not finished all requirements) to ACCA Member.