CIMA PER: Evidence Required

2018-04-24 10_54_55-Updated-PER-guidance16pp.pdf

This is the third and hopefully final blog post on the CIMA PER.

The reason I am writing this entry is down to the feedback I received from CIMA when submitting my application for assessment.

Before I get into that, here are links to my previous blog posts on the CIMA PER.

CIMA PER: Practical Experience Requirements

CIMA PER: A hands on guide!

In my hands on guide linked above, I gave an example on the evidence I provided to support one of the competencies.

However, the description I gave was too vague and not in the right format.

Thankfully, the good guys at CIMA Membership Applications sent by PER back to me before it went for official assessment and requested I fill in each competency with the below in mind;

CIMA Membership Applications Feedback

*This extract was taken direct from an email sent to me on 13th June 2019.

“…. having had a look through your application I recommend that you provide more detail to evidence your competencies, the descriptions provided are often very brief and unlikely to provide the assessors with enough information to make an informed decision.

When writing your evidence think of the context of the competency and about adding depth to your narratives by detailing exactly what you have done that evidences the competency, how you went about it, how often you were doing it, what the outcomes were etc.

Please ensure that you write in the first person, so that it’s clear you’re talking about what you’ve done yourself.

Simple statements that just reflect the actual competency don’t really evidence the necessary experience has been gained.

No single competency is identical to another, so each narrative should be solely focused on evidencing that particular competency.

Please refrain from using bullet points and ensure you provide full explanations on how you have satisfied each competency category chosen.

As a guideline;

For each Foundational competencies listed you should aim to write between 200-250 words for each individual competency.

For competencies at Intermediate level and above you should be aiming to write between 250-500 words per competency.

Depending on the competency level you have chosen will determine the level of detail you should write.

For instance, If you have a competency level which is “Expert” our assessors will expect more detail to be included in comparison to a competency which is at “Foundation” level.

As general guidance, before you resubmit your online application please consider the following:

– Have I written in first person? Have you explained your personal contribution on how you have satisfied each competency. A lot times applicants can make the mistake of advising what their team does as opposed to what they personally do.

– Have I provided enough detail? It is imperative that you not only explain what you have done but how it has been done. Our assessors a lot of times can defer an application because the applicant has not explained how they satisfied the competency category chosen .

– Have I ensured each competency listed is unique? Our assessors cannot assess an application if the applicant has duplicated information across competencies.

I’ve put your application back to you to add more detail. Please note: any verified competencies that you edit will become unverified and need verifying again.

2018-04-23 15_57_22-Updated-PER-guidance16pp.pdf

My First Submission (returned to me);

As part of the robotic process automation, my team suggested an improvement to automate the intercompany invoice process.

However, to achieve maximum efficiency with this RPA idea, I lead workshops to bring other teams within finance in line with our process for issuing inter company invoices.

This involved me;

– hosting meetings with all countries to present RPA idea and current process for issuing invoices.

– Work with RPA team to ensure they have all required information regarding process automation for intercompany invoice process.

– Help support other finance teams with implementation of standard process so they could also adopt the RPA solution.

– Write SOP and documentation on standard to ensure there is sufficient support and backup for the process.

My Second Submission (sent on for assessment);

Outside of the monthly reporting periods, I have a strong focus on process improvement initiatives (also encouraging my team members to contribute with how we can improve our daily work activities).

One of the main areas of my focus has been the standardization and improvement of the intercompany recharge process.

Previously, all teams within our department followed a different process and flow on issuing internal invoices. I identified that we had a best in class process, as we have a clear reconciliation of all costs to be recharged, smooth process on issuing the invoice and the final invoice is delivered to the counterpart with a clear set of supporting documentation.

With this in mind, I presented our process to other teams with the aim of standarding the processing across all of the other teams/regions.

In order to overcome the resistance presented by some of my colleagues, I told them how much time this saved us and how easy it was for the accountants to reconcile their costs to be recharged.

I also attended meetings with our in-house RPA (Robot Process Automation) team and explained to them the part of the process, which is very repetitive (data entry to raise invoice and sending final invoice, documentation to counterpart) so this could be performed by the robot and give the accountant more time to spend on value added activities like analysis.

I was also required to spend additional time one on one with other Team Leaders to go through the specifics of the process we have, so they can adopt within their team.

Final Thoughts

You can see a clear difference between the two statements.

In hindsight I had rushed my first application just to get submitted and out of the way, but you need to take time and ensure you support the competency you are documenting.

Get it right first time and add the sufficient depth to your PER to avoid it being returned!

*I’ll confirm on this blog post once I have it all approved and final.

CIMA PER: A hands on guide!

2018-04-24 10_54_55-Updated-PER-guidance16pp.pdf

It was over 12 months ago when I wrote a blog post on the CIMA PER – Practical Experience Requirements.

It would be an understatement to say,it’s been a popular topic! As I received quite a few additional questions on how to complete the PER.

With that in mind, I am revisiting the subject again today with a view to provide you with a more hands on, (hopefully) clearer view on what’s required from you as a student on how to complete your CIMA PER.

Introduction to PER

I covered the basics and the principles in my blog post from 2018 and likewise you can find a direct link to the official guidance from CIMA here.

However, the CIMA PER in nutshell is a summary of the practical experience you have gained in your career so far.

This has to be verified by two separate people who were in a senior postion to you at the time of the experience.

Below I show you an overview of my own PER submission, let’s remind ourselves of the CGMA Framework that is used for the PER and the requirements for submission.

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  • The first slide shows the CGMA competency framework (Level 1 & 2 for the PER).
  • The next slide illustrates the detail from Knowledge Area (Level 1) to the Competency itself (Level 4).

The CIMA PER – A hand’s on guide to completing it

PER Requirements

You will need to fulfill the following criteria to submit a completed PER to CIMA.

  • A minimum of 36 months verified relevant experience , across the 4 Knowledge areas.
  • At least 4 competency categories (Level 2) must be selected between Technical and Business Skills (min 1 from each) , covering the minimum 36 months.
  • At least 1 competency category from both People and Leadership skills must also be demonstrated.
  • Of the minimum 36 months required, at least 18 months experience must be gained between the Technical and Business skills from the Intermediate, Advanced or Expert levels.
  • The remaining 18 months can be gained across any of the levels within Technical and Business areas.

My Employers

myemp.png

Once you have entered your personal details on the PER form (when you login to your CIMA account), you will then be required to enter your employer details that will cover the minimum 36 months time-frame.

Here is my example, I am using my current employer where I’ve had two different roles over the last four years. Then when documenting my experience, I will choose which role it applied too.

emp.png

My Practical Experience

myexp.png

Now we start to pick the competencies we want to document, so remembering the CGMA framework we need to start with the Level 1 (knowledge area) all the way down to Level 4 (competency).

Here is an example of choosing;

  • LEVEL 1: Business Skills
  • LEVEL 2: Process Management
  • LEVEL 3: Intermediate
  • LEVEL 4: Ensure standardisation is applied to all process…

comp.png

Once you have selected the competency, you will need to select what role/company you are going to document this competence against.

Documenting the Competency

This is perhaps the most tricky part as I had a lot of questions on this.

You’ll need to add a full, clear, and concise example on how you met that competency – here is what I documented for the competency “Ensure standardisation is applied to all process….”;

As part of the robotic process automation, my team suggested an improvement to automate the intercompany invoice process.

However, to achieve maximum efficiency with this RPA idea, I lead workshops to bring other teams within AtR shared services in line with our process for issuing inter company invoices.

This involved me;

– hosting AtR meetings with all countries to present RPA idea and current process for issuing invoices.

– Work with RPA team to ensure they have all required information regarding process automation for intercompany invoice process.

– Help support other AtR teams with implementation of standard process so they could also adopt the RPA solution.

– Write SOP and documentation on standard to ensure there is sufficient support and backup for the process.

*This is just my view on how it should be completed, please note at the time of writing  my PER is still to be approved by CIMA.

Once you have added all of the experience into the PER, you can check the status of your application to see if you have fulfilled all of the necessary criteria by clicking the “Is my experience ready?” button.

ready.png

If it’s ready for verficiation, you will be greeted with the above message.

Overview of “Ready” PER Application

Here is an overview of the competencies I have used on my application that successfully met the criteria. I felt this maybe an easier way how to illustrate one way on how to satisfy the requirements.

app.png

TOP TIP: If you want check the status of your application, click on the Is my experience ready? button and it will give you a breakdown of what criteria you still have to met.

Conclusion

I felt it was very much a trial and error exercise when completing the PER, so I’d recommend getting your hands dirty and start completing your application.

You cannot submit an incomplete application as there are checks during the PER process that will prompt you to either add additional experience or approvers if you verification doesn’t met the requires standards.

If you run into problems or remain unsure, you can always check the status of your application to see what you need to do next.

Good Luck with your PER application – I hope this answers the questions from last time – and is a more hands on guide.

But please feel free to ask any more questions in the comments box.

CIMA PER: Practical Experience Requirements

2018-04-24 10_54_55-Updated-PER-guidance16pp.pdf

I had a request on twitter a few weeks back about the Practical Experience Requirements (PER) that are needed to obtain the fully fledged CGMA designation.

So with this in mind and the fact I am beginning the strategic level myself, it seemed the perfect time for myself to delve further into this subject which you may have not even thought about!

What is PER?

Well, let’s start at the beginning.

What exactly is PER you might say?

It’s about fulfilling the practical experience that is required in order to be considered a competent chartered global management accountant.

As a CIMA student/member you’ll need to have 3 years relevant work experience under your belt and fulfil a certain criteria that is measured by the CGMA Competency Framework (more on that later…).

As a student you’ll need to submit the relevant work experience using the MAT Membership Application Tool – here you will record your practical experience against the CGMA competency framework – it will need to verified by your line manager or something at who can prove you fulfilled the criteria.

Finally, once you’ve passed the SCS exam,  it will be assessed by CIMA to determine whether you have gained the sufficient experience and then be awarded the CGMA designation. 

When do I need to take action?

I imagine most student’s leave this part until they have passed the final exam and then realise they need to submit their PER.

However, you can begin to complete the PER as soon as you begin studying CIMA – as long as you have demonstrated the professional experience in the workplace.

And that’s something I have started to myself since researching this blog post as it will save time when I do finally complete the strategic level.

As well as reading this article, I would suggest you to take a look at the official CIMA PER Guidance here – this will explain in detail;

  • What is PER and why it’s required.
  • The CGMA Competency Framework.
  • The criteria you need to fulfil.
  • How the MAT (Membership Application Tool) works.
  • FAQ’s

In summary, I would suggest all students (especially those with 3+ years’ experience in finance) to start your PER now and document your practical experiences in line with the CGMA competency framework.

Not only will you be a step ahead when you complete the strategic level, recording the experience as and when we complete it will ensure its accuracy and help the verification process.

How do I take action?

Let’s take a look first at the CGMA Competency Framework to see what kind of practical experiences we need to submit and get verified.

The hierarchy of the CGMA competency framework is split into four levels with Level 1 based are the four knowledge areas which we are already familiar with from our case study exams (see the core in diagram below);

2018-04-23 15_18_58-Updated-PER-guidance16pp.pdf

Level 2 is what is known as the competency category you can see listed out in the above disagram – for example, the first one under Technical Skills is “Financial Accounting and Reporting”

2018-04-23 15_57_22-Updated-PER-guidance16pp.pdf

Level 3 is the proficiency level of the category, which is clearly shown in the above illustration.

Meanwhile, Level 4 is the competency required to fulfil that specific proficiency level. This is ultimately the professional competency we are aiming to demonstrate in our PER.

Completing your PER

Now we understand whats behind the competency framework we can begin our application.

I’ve just recently begun to the complete the PER application by logging into MY CIMA account and selecting the Updated PER option in the MY CIMA menu.

2018-04-23 16_29_27-CIMA - MY CIMA

It’s actually quite easy and self-explanatory to complete despite my initial trepidation.

You start by entering your personal details and then your employment history with timelines – now you have the chance to select the Level 4 Competency’s we looked at earlier.

2018-04-23 16_31_38-CIMA membership application

For example; I selected the following competency:

Level 1: Technical Skills

Level 2: Financial Accounting and Reporting/Transnational Accounting and Closing Process

Level 3: Advanced

Level 4: Simply, improve and harmonise existing and complex processes and systems for accounts reconciliation’s and month end closing.

So remember, it’s the Level 4 competency I am documenting here.

Once I have added how I have demonstrated this skill (500 words maximum) I save it on my application, but then it will need to be verified by my line manager.

You can do this by adding a verifier to each employment role you listed on your application, it’s quite straightforward, nothing too tricky.

Once you are ready you can submit it for verification.

Just to clarify, it doesn’t matter if you are still on operational level, you can still add the professional experience to the PER and get it verified by your manager/designated verifer.

It’s the final step of submitting the PER application to CIMA can only be done once you have passed the final Strategic Case Study exam.

If you’re still none the wiser, then take another look at the Official CIMA PER Guidance from CIMA, or you can leave your comments below and I will do my best to answer ASAP.