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ACCA & work experience

ACCA & work experience

I am self-employed as a book-keeper. I am about to start ACCA (level 1), having completed AAT technician stage. I hope to complete all levels of ACCA but I am a little confused regarding 'practice experience/ training contracts'. Do I have to have a training contract with a recognised accountancy firm to complete my ACCA qualification ?
Angie Moriarty


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By Anonymous
01st Oct 2002 22:49

Loh WL,
In reply to you questions:
(a – c)
If there is NO other qualified accountant within the organisation, ACCA will evaluate the student’s Training Record (STR) to ensure that the acceptability of his/her experience is not undermined and probably will still accept the STR forms that have been verified by an unqualified supervisor. Alternatively, student should make arrangements for the organisation's auditors or accountants to sign, or countersign the STR1 Records and STR2 Summary of Competencies.

According to the ACCA guideline, wherever possible, the supervisor should be a qualified ACCA or a member of an accountancy or auditing body recognised by law in the country of employment (ie UK: ACCA ICAEW, ICAS, ICAI, CIMA, CIPFA and AIA).

(e – f)
The works you described here are fallen within the definition of “Public Practice” as set out in the ACCA’s Practising Regulations. ACCA’s Bye-law prohibit any member (not to mention student) from practising as a public accountant unless he/she is in possession of an ACCA Practising Certificate (PC) or is permitted and a PC is already held from a recognised body or regulatory authority and hold the necessary professional indemnity insurance.

However, students may undertake work outside this definition, as long as the person does not refer to his/her status as a student or potential member of ACCA. Works may be undertaken by students (either in a self-employed capacity or as an employee) includes:
- basic book-keeping
- basic accounting data
- prepare accounting records up to TB stage
- Payroll and VAT

These self-employed works cannot constitute “approved experience” for the purpose of obtaining admission to ACCA membership; all students are required to obtain a minimum of three years’ supervised accountancy experience and meet the minimum competence requirements for membership.

The ACCA’s Competence of Chartered Certified Accountants set standards of performance or best practice for each “Element” within five “Key Roles”, these are: Regulatory Obligations, Taxation, Business Planning & Control, Internal & External Audit and Management. The full competence are produced in the Student’s Training Record (STR).


Thanks (0)
02nd Oct 2002 03:58

Thanks Wing for your information
Thanks once again for your information.

Thanks (0)
30th Sep 2002 08:54

"acceptable" experience - pt 2
Thanks Wing. Could you help, again? -
(a)what if my superior is an IFA and I am writing the ACCA exams. Can an IFA sign on my logbook of exeperience? Presuming, there is no other more qualified supervisors to do so.
(b)I have heard of cases where the professional accountancy graduate could not get anyone in his organisation to sign his logbk. What happens then.
(c)If an unqualified superior can't sign my logbk, can we get the Holding Company CFO who holds recognised qualifications to sign the logbk then? This unqualified superior has "dotted line" reporting responsibilities to the Holding Company CFO.
(d)You suggested to get another colleague who is qualified to sign the logbook. Questions is, what are acceptable qualifications the superiors should at least hold? Is CIMA, ICSA, MICPA, AIA, NIA acceptable?
(e)self-learned/taught experience - I am sure there are sole practitioners who learn by themselves or thru friends. If a ACCA grad has some experience accumulated to himself as a sole practitioner in book-keeping, coupled with advisory service on liquidation, restructuring, etc, does this not qualify as "acceptable" experience. I have a personal friend (not ACCA) trying to learn merger/acqusition, restructuring exercises with another friend.
(f)what if experience was gained on a joint project with friends in the same field concerned at higher levels, eg. advisory services to small and medium sized companies. Any difference here if the friends are unqualified accountants?

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By Anonymous
27th Sep 2002 17:07

Work experience for ACCA membership
When you have passed the examinations, you will be invited to transfer to ACCA membership or ACCA affiliate status. If you have not yet gained the necessary practical experience for membership, which is three years as some one mentioned earlier, you may apply for ACCA Affiliate status. Affiliates are not members of ACCA and they may not use the designatory letters 'ACCA' after their name. Once you have satisfied the practical training requirements for membership, you may then apply for full ACCA membership.

You do not need to obtain your practical experience for membership in an organisation that has been approved by ACCA. However, if you work in an ACCA Approved Training Practice, up to 12 months of your pre-membership training can count towards the practical training requirement for a Practising Certificate (Audit) or (General Practice) which is valid in the UK (including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man), Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Zimbabwe.
If you work in an organisation other than an ACCA Approved Training Practice, you should note that your supervisor or manager who should be a qualified ACCA or a member of an accountancy or auditing body recognised by law in your country of employment.
If your supervisor is not a qualified accountant, there may be another individual within your organisation who holds a professional accountancy qualification. If this person has sufficient knowledge of your work, then they can review and verify your STR1 Records and STR2 Summary of Competences instead.

Self-employed experience:
ACCA students are not allowed to perform any tasks that they aren’t qualified to do. If you are a self-employed book-keeper, the book-keeping services directly to the public cannot constitute 'approved accountancy experience' and therefore may not count towards the practical experience requirements for membership. However, basic book-keeping and other accountancy work undertaken under supervision (e.g. on a sub-contract basis) may constitute 'approved accountancy experience'.

Experience before registered:
You can use your experience gained before you registered with the ACCA, provided that the experience is supervised, relevant and can be verified. You should record your previous experience in the STR as soon as possible after registration as an ACCA student, as it will be easier to recall this experience, and have it verified by your previous Supervisor.
As a guideline, ACCA considers full-time work experience to be 35 hours per week. 1,540 hours of part-time work equates to one year of full-time experience.


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27th Sep 2002 05:17

"acceptable" experience
Nilesh, just to seek your clarification on this point - does not "acceptable" experience also cover self-employment at an "acceptable" level to the ACCA? For instance, would it not be appropriate to accept self-employment experience if this were to cover some medium/big clients' accounts requiring a higher level of knowledge participation?

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26th Sep 2002 13:55

In my opinion, although I may be incorrect, when I was considering ACCA, I was informed that I could do my work experience, as long as it was "three years of acceptable, supervised practical experince and have reached the required standard in at least 16 elements of competences", as Nilesh pointed out. However, this, I understand, does not have to be with a recognised accounting firm, but can be within general industry.

Also, you do not have to do the practical experience whilst studying, you have upto 10 years after registration to sit and pass all the exams, and you can complete the work experience requirement any time you like.

Hope this helps


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25th Sep 2002 08:54

ACCA - practical experience
My understanding is that self employed work does not count towards your practical experience for ACCA. "To be admitted to full membership, you must demonstrate that you have obtained at least three years of acceptable, supervised practical experince and have reached the required standard in at least 16 elements of competences..." This is taken from ACCA full membership application form. Before you start studying, request information pack from ACCA which will have all the information. You can contact them on 01413094000.


Nilesh Mandvia

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25th Sep 2002 05:03

Training contract requirements to do the ACCA
Angie, you do not need to have a training contract with an accountancy firm to complete your ACCA exams. In fact, you could do it through home study but at the professional stages, you are advised to attend some evening classes unless you are pretty familiar with the syllabus requirements and the questions asked in the past. Do surf to find out more. The syllabus and Q & As are also available.

If you have completed your AAT, this qualification attracts exemptions in the ACCA.

For your info, the ICAEW course requires a training contract.

Good Luck.

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