Significance and Role of Workplace Mentor in PER
A 3-year work experience is needed for becoming a professionally qualified accountant and member of the ACCA. During gaining this experience, trainees need a workplace mentor.
Role of a Workplace Mentor
The role of a workplace mentor is to:
- support the trainees in their development
- review and sign off the practical experience requirements (PER)
- review achievements
A workplace mentor can support and guide a trainee in the following ways:
1. Helping the trainee to identify the performance objectives to achieve
2. Setting the time limit within which to achieve a particular performance objective
3. Helping the trainee to plan how to gain relevant experience to achieve a particular performance objective
4. Identifying training, personal development, practice, or research required for achieving performance objectives
5. Reviewing the answers of the trainee to challenge questions and signing off the performance objectives
Who can be a Workplace Mentor?
The trainees are responsible for finding their own workplace mentors. The workplace mentor should be a professional qualified accountant recognized by the law and/or member of an IFAC body. The workplace mentor should also be aware of and have knowledge of the tasks and activities of the trainee at work. It can be a person who works closely with the trainee, knows the type of work done by the trainee, and can assess the quality of work done by the trainee.
The workplace mentor should have the knowledge and expertise to assess the achievements of the trainee. In ideal situations, it should be the line manager or a person to whom the trainee reports on particular activities and projects.
The workplace mentor does not necessarily have to be from within the organization as long as they meet the above mentioned criteria. If the trainee works in a small organization which does not employ a qualified accountant or if the trainee is the most senior finance employee in the organization, an external person can be chosen to act as a workplace mentor. For example, an external auditor or accountant can act as a workplace mentor if they have the knowledge of the trainee's work.
A trainee should not choose a relative or friend to act as a workplace mentor because this might cause conflicts of interest. In the circumstances where the workplace mentor is related to the trainee, this fact should be disclosed to the ACCA when the trainee applies for membership.
A workplace mentor can sign off only the experience which the trainee has achieved with them or the experience which the trainee has demonstrated to the mentor in the workplace.
If the workplace mentor is not a qualified accountant, the trainee will have to find a training supervisor to countersign the achievement of performance objectives. The training supervisor needs to have reasonable knowledge of the work of the trainee.
It is not necessary to have only one workplace mentor. A trainee can have more than one workplace mentors. Different workplace mentors can be chosen to sign off achievement of different performance objectives.