Practical skills and Work Experience

| June 6, 2011 | 0 Comments

How Ptap is showing the way to bridge the skill gap

The importance of experience through practical training as a requirement for employment has for so long been eclipsed by emphasis on studies and passing examinations, in short : by mere academic excellence. This has changed.

Nowadays, all accountancy professional bodies pay attention to practical experience of their students and members and consider such experience to be a crucial step boosting a career.

In general, any qualification process by an accountancy professional body follows a similar pattern: you must pass examinations at several levels as well as complete three years of supervised practical accounting experience, and you have to keep a training record to prove it. You can do this before, during or after your exams.

That said, getting a training contract from a practicing firm is a very high hurdle to overcome. Many successful practicing firms are reluctant to employ an inexperienced fresh graduate even with an impressive academic record. They prefer somebody with experience, somebody to work, not to be trained. Some firms that consider employing candidates straight from the university might be inadequately equipped or even incapable of providing new trainees with the right standard of work experience they require.

Therefore, students who really wish to accelerate their career should take the initiative and receive practical training they require and deserve, rather than waste time on coffee making and shelf filling “experience" internship that will get their career nowhere.

Practical Accountancy skill training programme is perhaps the best next step in the process of becoming a truly qualified accountant, really able to do the job. Obviously, without any practical test of competence, considering only passed examinations, it is difficult to measure ability, to say nothing of measuring the candidate's potential.

Practical Training in Accountancy and Payroll (Ptap) is a skills training provider that fills this inevitable gap between education and ability to actually do the job, offering qualitative work related experience which is required at the entry-level stage of a career in accounting and finance.

When it comes to acquiring practical experience as demanded by the professional bodies, students, especially the newly qualified ones, find themselves in a dilemma they cannot solve: they cannot earn experience without getting a job, and they cannot get a job because they have no experience. Even if they are granted a job interview, they are unable to persuade their potential employer that they have what it takes to do the job as they cannot prove they have already completed : and succeeded in – anything but academic projects.

It is the understanding of the dilemma students face that supports the argument in favour of the practical skills and experience training provided by Ptap.

As a pioneer of the training-for-work programme since 1995, Ptap, in partnership with Phillips, Kobbs and Co Ltd – certified chartered accountants and registered auditors – developed a Practice Attachment programme to provide delegates with real-life experience of working in accounting.

Take the case of Charlene Callender, a former ACCA international student from Barbados who attended Ptap for her practical training. She attributed the advantage she had in securing a job back home with one of the Big Four accountancy firms to enrolling at Ptap. “The practical training offered me the opportunity to experience what actually goes on in the real world of accountancy work. If I hadn't come here, I do not think I would be able to prepare accounts using the knowledge from the classroom", she said.

“The success of the Ptap training programme has been due to the quality of the workshop instruction, effective collaboration between employers and Ptap, and the degree of involvement of the delegates who attend the work experience workshops", says Moses Allotey, Ptap training supervisor.

Acquiring necessary qualifications may be the right thing to do, but so is the need to set some work experience goals. Therefore, experience should be gained where skills and insights into how to advance your career can be provided.

For those student and trainees who are unable to meet the strict requirements of their professional bodies, one option that is available is to enrol on the practical accountancy skill training course provided by Ptap.

The practical experience you will gain will prove you are committed to your chosen career. It will improve your employability and put you ahead of the competition.

For more information about Ptap and their practical training with Practice Attachment, please visit their website at

Sonny A. Samuel is a writer and marketing communications practitioner. He writes on business and professional matters

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