AAT qualifications

AAT stands for the Association of Accounting Technicians, and offers the perfect start to a successful accounting and finance career. The qualification is recognised by leading employers in the UK and around the world, and is the ideal first step whether you’re just starting out, already working in finance or thinking of changing careers, as it shows you have the accountancy expertise and skills to turn theory into practice.

The AAT is open to everyone, whether you’re a school-leaver, already working in accounting, returning to work or considering a career change, regardless of your experience or previous qualifications.

New AAT syllabus (AQ2016)

From 1 September AAT introduced a new syllabus (AQ2016). Find out what the changes are, what these mean if you are part way through your qualification, and how we will support you.

Find out more

The AAT Accountancy Qualification

This is the core qualification, and involves three main levels of study. Each of these is a qualification in its own right which can be completed in as little as three months but usually takes around a year. Upon completion you can apply for full AAT membership and use the designatory letters MAAT after your name.

Foundation Certificate in Accounting - Level 2

Syllabus - 5 Units

  • Bookkeeping Transactions
  • Bookkeeping Controls
  • Elements of Costing
  • Using Accounting Software
Synoptic Assessment
  • Work Effectively in Finance

This course will typically take one year to complete, however can be completed in as little as six months.

Advanced Diploma in Accounting - Level 3

Syllabus - 6 Units

  • Advanced Bookkeeping
  • Final Accounts Preparation
  • Management Accounting: Costing
  • Indirect Tax
Synoptic Assessment
  • Ethics for Accountants
  • Spreadsheets for Accounting

This course will typically take one year to complete, however can be completed in as little as six months.

Professional Diploma in Accounting - Level 4 (Mandatory Units)

Syllabus - 4 Units

  • Financial Statements of Limited Companies
  • Management Accounting: Budgeting
  • Management Accounting: Decision and Control
Synoptic Assessment
  • Accounting Systems and Controls

The Level 4 Professional Diploma in Accounting will typically take between 9-18 months to complete.

Professional Diploma in Accounting - Level 4 (Optional Units)

Syllabus - 2 From 5 Units

  • Personal Tax
  • Business Tax
  • Credit Management
  • Cash and Treasury Management
  • External Auditing

The Level 4 Professional Diploma in Accounting will typically take between 9-18 months to complete.

Not sure which level you should start at? The AAT online skills check will test your existing knowledge and understanding and guide you to an appropriate entry level, and the AAT guide to exemptions will help you understand which units you may be exempt from.

Other AAT qualifications

If you’re looking for a shorter course, or just to top up your existing knowledge, one of the AAT’s other qualifications may be right for you. These are made up of the same units as the AAT Accounting Qualification, so you could always study these and progress onto the main course.

Types of assessments

AAT’s Computer Based Assessments explained

How will I be examined?

All AAT assessments are computer-based and are a balance of Computer Based Tests (CBTs) and Synoptic Assessments for each level.

Computer Based Tests (CBTs)

  • Can sit the exams when you are ready
  • Automatically marked to give you immediate results
  • Can be sat at one of our approved AAT exam centres
  • Easy to navigate exam software to allow you to flag questions to come back to later, enter and amend answers easily

Please note: CBTs are your responsibility to book, and costs are not included in your course fees. External students are welcome to sit a CBT with us.

Synoptic Assessments

  • Level 2 Synoptic Assessments available regularly
  • Levels 3 and 4 are available 6 times a year
  • Time limited assessments which are invigilated at BPP approved centres
  • Include multiple choice, numeric gap questions and written answers

Please note: AAT limit the number of resits which can be taken each year for Levels 2 and Level 3.

Further study & future exemptions

Working towards Chartered Accountant Status

Once you've successfully completed all three levels of the AAT Accountancy Qualification, every UK chartered accountancy body will grant you an exemption from the first level of its professional qualification, including;

  • CIMA - exemption from the Certificate Level.
  • CIPFA - progress to the CIPFA Professional Qualification.
  • ICAEW - you can qualify via the AAT-ACA fast track route.
  • ICAS - exemption from two of the five subjects from the Test of Competence Level. To qualify, you need to enter a three-year training contract with an ICAS authorised employer.
  • ACCA - exemption from the Knowledge Level papers.