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What is AAT?

Are you looking for a shining career in accounting? Or a career that provides you with a wide range of opportunities in accounting and bookkeeping? If yes, then an AAT qualification is what you need.

AAT refers to the Association of Accounting Technicians.

Accounting Technicians

The Association of Accounting Technicians is a professional body that offers accountancy qualifications and training for individuals pursuing a career in accounting and finance.

What is an AAT qualification?

Did you know that AAT is an internationally recognised qualification that is respected in over 90 countries around the world?

Since AAT is one of the most popular accounting qualifications in the world, this means that individuals who hold an AAT qualification have increased opportunities for international career mobility. Whether they choose to work in their home country or explore job prospects abroad, their AAT certification carries weight and is valued by employers worldwide.

AAT qualification

So let's get a clear idea on what AAT qualifications actually are.

An AAT qualification is a professional credential designed to provide individuals with the necessary comprehension and skills for a profession in accounting and finance. AAT consists of various levels of certification, including:

  • Foundation Certificate level
  • Advanced Diploma level
  • Professional Diploma level.

Each level builds upon the previous one, gradually expanding the candidate's understanding of accounting principles and practices.

An AAT qualification covers a broad range of topics related to accounting, such as bookkeeping, financial statements, management accounting, taxation, and professional ethics.

Candidates learn how to prepare and interpret financial records, analyse business performance, manage budgets, and apply accounting principles to real-world scenarios.

One of the notable aspects of an AAT qualification is its practical approach. Candidates are encouraged to develop hands-on skills through practical exercises and simulations. This practical experience helps them gain a deeper understanding of the application of accounting principles and prepares them for the demands of professional accounting roles.

What are the main benefits of getting an AAT accounting qualification?

An AAT accounting qualification offers several benefits to individuals pursuing a career in accounting. Here are some of the main advantages:

  • Recognised qualification:AAT is a globally recognised and respected qualification in the field of accounting and finance. It is well-regarded by employers and can enhance your credibility and employability.
  • Versatile skills:AAT equips you with a broad range of accounting and finance skills. It covers essential areas such as bookkeeping, financial account books, budgeting, costing, and taxation. This comprehensive knowledge prepares you for diverse roles in various industries.
  • Practical application:AAT emphasises practical, real-world skills. The qualification focuses on developing your ability to apply accounting concepts in practical scenarios, giving you hands-on experience in using accounting software and working with financial data.
  • Career progression:AAT provides a solid foundation for career progression in accounting and finance. It can be a stepping stone to higher-level qualifications like ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) or CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), enabling you to pursue more senior and specialised roles in the future.
  • Job opportunities:AAT enhances your employability and opens up a wide range of job opportunities. You can work in various accounting roles such as bookkeeper, accounts assistant, accounts payable clerk, payroll administrator, financial analyst, or tax assistant. AAT's focus on practical skills makes you job-ready for entry-level positions very quickly. (Source: AAT Comment )
  • Industry respected:AAT qualified accounting technicians are well-regarded by employers and accounting professionals globally. Many employers actively seek candidates with the AAT qualifications when hiring for accounting positions, giving you a competitive edge in the job market.
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD):AAT promotes lifelong learning and ongoing professional development. Once qualified, you can become an AAT member and access a range of resources, training, and networking opportunities to stay updated with industry trends and regulations.
  • Flexibility:Providers like e-Careers offer AAT online courses allowing you to study in your own time, at your own pace, fitting your studies around your busy schedule. If you prefer to study in a classroom setting, this is also an option available with AAT courses.
Benefits of getting an AAT accounting qualification

Overall, being AAT qualified provides you with a solid foundation in accounting principles, practical efficiency, and industry recognition, paving the way for a successful career in the profession.

What are the prerequisites to do an AAT course?

AAT courses do not have any fixed prerequisites in terms of academic qualifications. You can start with no knowledge, previous qualifications or experience in accounting or bookkeeping.

However, it is recommended that individuals have a basic understanding of mathematics and possess good numeracy skills. Additionally, having a strong command of the English language is important since accounting involves the interpretation and analysis of financial information.

Ultimately, AAT courses are designed to accommodate learners with varying backgrounds and provide the necessary proficiency to start a career in accounting.

What are the different types of AAT qualifications and courses?

AAT offer a range of qualifications and courses to cater to individuals at different stages of their accounting journey. The various AAT levels are explained below:

Accounting qualifications:

Level 2 - Certificate in Accounting

  • This is the introductory level of the AAT qualification.
  • It provides a basic understanding of fundamental accounting principles and practices.
  • Topics covered may include bookkeeping transactions, basic costing, computerised accounting, and working effectively in accounting and finance.

Level 3 - Diploma in Accounting

  • This is the intermediate level of the AAT qualification.
  • It builds upon the knowledge gained in the Foundation Certificate and delves deeper into accounting concepts and techniques.
  • Topics covered may include advanced bookkeeping, final accounts preparation, indirect tax, ethics for accounting, and spreadsheet software for accounting.

Level 4 - Diploma in Professional Accounting

  • This is the highest level of the AAT qualification.
  • It is designed to develop advanced accounting skills and prepare individuals for more complex accounting roles.
  • Topics covered may include financial records, management accounting: budgeting, management accounting: decision and control, and business tax.

Bookkeeping qualifications:

Level 1 - Award in Bookkeeping

  • This is the introductory level of bookkeeping qualification.
  • It provides a basic understanding of bookkeeping principles and practices.
  • Topics covered include double-entry bookkeeping, financial transactions, and basic reconciliations.

Level 2 - Certificate in Bookkeeping

  • The Advanced Certificate builds upon the knowledge gained in the Foundation Award.
  • It covers more complex bookkeeping tasks and principles.
  • Topics covered include advanced double-entry bookkeeping, financial accounts, and preparing final accounts for sole traders and partnerships.

Level 3 - Certificate in Bookkeeping

  • The Professional Certificate represents the highest level of bookkeeping qualifications.
  • It provides comprehensive training in advanced bookkeeping skills.
  • Topics covered include complex bookkeeping transactions, final accounts for limited companies, and advanced VAT issues.
AAT qualifications and courses

Accounting apprenticeship standards:

AAT Level 2 apprenticeship - Accounts/Finance Assistant standard

  • This apprenticeship is suitable for individuals starting their career in accounting with limited or no prior experience.
  • It covers basic accounting tasks and principles, providing a solid foundation for further development.
  • Completing this apprenticeship typically leads to achieving an AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting.

AAT Level 3 apprenticeship - Assistant Accountant standard

  • The advanced apprenticeship is suitable for individuals with some experience or a basic understanding of accounting.
  • It builds upon the knowledge gained at the foundation level and covers more complex accounting tasks and concepts.
  • Completing this apprenticeship often leads to achieving an AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting.

AAT Level 4 apprenticeship - Professional Accounting Technician standard

  • The professional apprenticeship is suitable for individuals who have gained significant experience in accounting and wish to progress to a more senior role.
  • It focuses on advanced accounting or taxation skills, depending on the chosen pathway.
  • Completion of this apprenticeship often leads to the achievement of an AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting or the achievement of a relevant professional qualification, such as ACCA or CTA (Chartered Tax Adviser).

How much do AAT exams cost?

The cost of AAT exams can vary depending on the level of qualification and the country in which you are taking the exams. Please note that the following information is based on general estimates and may be subject to change. It's always recommended to check with the AAT or a training provider like e-Careers for the most up-to-date and accurate pricing information.

In the United Kingdom, the cost of AAT exams for each level of qualification typically ranges from around £50 to £100 per assessment. The exact cost can vary depending on whether you are an AAT student or a self-study student, as well as whether you are a member of the AAT.

AAT exams cost

Here are some approximate cost ranges for AAT exams in the UK:

  • AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting: Each exam module is typically around £50 to £80.
  • AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting: Each exam module is typically around £75 to £100.
  • AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting: Each exam module is typically around £80 to £100.

For more details, you can book a free consultancy with e-Careers experts who will not only inform you about AAT exam costs but will also let you know about different AAT courses that e-Careers offer you along with their costs.

How much you can earn once AAT qualified?

Now the question arises of how much one can earn after becoming an AAT qualified. The earnings you can expect once you are AAT qualified can vary significantly based on several factors, including your location, industry, level of experience, specific job role, and additional qualifications you may hold.

Beyond the monetary aspect, the earnings reflect your increasing expertise in the field of accounting. It is a testament to your ability to analyse financial information, make informed decisions, and contribute to the financial success of organisations.

In the United Kingdom, individuals with an AAT qualification may start with salaries ranging from around £18,000 to £25,000 per year, depending on the role and level of experience. As you gain more experience and progress in your career, your salary is likely to increase.

Salary after becoming an AAT qualified

Salary range based on different job roles

Generally, people with AAT expertise earn competitive salaries. Here are some approximate salary ranges based on different job roles:

Accounts Assistant : £24,000 - £32,000 per year (Source: Reed )

Bookkeeper : £23,000 - £33,000 per year (Source: Talent )

Assistant Accountant : £21,000 - £37,000 per year (Source: Glassdoor )

Financial Accountant : £46,000 - £65,000 per year (Source: Reed )

Management Accountant : £35,000 - £62,000 per year (Source: Reed )

To gain a more accurate understanding of salary potential, it's advisable to research salary ranges for specific job roles and industries in your desired location. Salary surveys, job postings, and consulting with professionals in the field can provide valuable insights into the earning potential after obtaining an AAT qualification.


An AAT qualification is an internationally recognised highly regarded certification that equips individuals with practical accounting skills and knowledge. It enhances employability, opens up diverse professional opportunities, and acts as a foundation for further professional development.

Whether you want a kick start in your accounting journey or looking to advance your existing career, you can start studying AAT as it can play a pivotal role in achieving your goals.

If you want to learn more about AAT online courses, speak to an e-Careers Course Consultant at +44 (0) 20 3198 7700 or visit our Accounting page

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