Achievement log guidance for students working in industry
For Training Outside Public Practice students (TOPPs), ICAS has provided some additional guidance on achievement of competencies and entering an appropriate internal reference and date of achievement.
Prescribed (mandatory) competencies
Each student must achieve a minimum of 6 Accounting competencies, with one in each of the five areas. The five areas are:
- Period End Adjustments
- Journal Entries
- Preparation of Financial Information
- Understanding Financial Information
Student should be able to complete these competencies as part of a statutory accounts or management accounts preparation rotation. If the student is not given this experience as part of their training with their firm, they must get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to discuss how these prescribed competencies will be achieved. A student must also achieve prescribed IT and soft skills competencies during their training contract.
Please note that all competencies must be achieved at the level of a newly qualified CA – this implies that minimal supervision is required and that the student will have carried out the activity, leading to the achievement of the competency, more than once and to a high standard.
Consideration of area to specialise in
ICAS has looked at adapting areas for TOPPs students to specialise in. These now include technical areas such as:
- Decision Support
- Credit Risk Management
- Regulatory Compliance
- Project Management
Proposing alternative competencies
Timing of competencies
Certain requirements must be met before achieving specialist competencies. The exact requirements depend on the student’s specialism:
- For students specialising in Accountancy, the minimum prescribed Accountancy competencies, as noted above, must be achieved BEFORE any specialist Accountancy competencies
- For students specialising in IT, the minimum prescribed IT competencies must be achieved BEFORE any specialist IT competencies
- For students specialising in any other area, a minimum of 6 core competencies in that specialist area must be achieved BEFORE any specialist competencies in that area
In the profession, a client name or code is used as an internal reference which is acceptable to ICAS. For TOPPs students, more information has to be provided – the purpose of an internal reference is to direct anyone reviewing a student's logbook back to the actual evidence that supports achievement of a competency. Remember that the Financial Reporting Council (‘FRC’) can request to review a logbook, even after a student has been admitted as a CA Member.
It may be more appropriate to evidence achievement of some non-technical competencies (i.e. communication & influencing, people, teamwork and leadership, personal effectiveness) through a formal appraisal process in which case the reference shown should be "Appraisal" and the date should be the appraisal date. However, we would still expect the majority of these competencies to be achieved when completing specific pieces of work and therefore it would be unusual for a large number of competencies to be referenced to “Appraisal”.
For TOPPs students, ICAS guidance of what to include as an internal reference is as follows:
- Division/rotation name
- The type of work e.g. management accounts, VAT return, specific report
- Time frame over which the work is carried out e.g. quarter, year ended,
The reflective statement for the year in which the competency was achieved to the level of a newly qualified CA should then include a reference to the competency and any examples to support the competency.
The information would appear in the competencies section of the logbooks in the following format:
|INT 3 Can the CA student categorise transactions as per|
the different rates of VAT?
|24 Feb 2021|
Q/E 31 Mar; 30 Jun; 30 Sep & 31 Dec 2020
ATO reviewer name
Following on from this example competency there would then be a requirement to evidence this in the reflective statement for the year in which 24 Feb 2021 falls e.g.:
INT 3 – I was responsible for the completion of the VAT returns for each quarter during the year 2020. This involved ensuring that the transactions recorded were done at the correct rates of VAT considering the VAT schedules and the details to ensure that there were no exceptions. I completed this for each quarter of 2020 with minimal guidance and limited to no review points raised on review by my line manager.
Date of achievement of a competency
To the best of the student’s ability, they should consider the exact date that they became competent at something to the level of a newly qualified CA.
For example, preparation of monthly management accounts – the student may have prepared these for three months and can then prepare them with minimal supervision, at the level of a newly qualified CA. At this point, the student is competent and should enter the date that they last performed this task as the date of achievement, rather than simply the end of the rotation.
For non-technical competencies, the end of rotation date may be more relevant when the student is likely to have an appraisal meeting with their manager. Where a student uses the end of rotation date, this should be specified in the internal reference. This is for ICAS information so that we understand why the same date is used for a large number of competencies.