/AAT: What you need to know

AAT: What you need to know

Interested in a career in accountancy? Start with AAT…

Whether you’re looking to take the next step up in a current accounting role, or you’re just interested in becoming an Accountant and don’t have any previous experience, an AAT qualification could be the perfect way to kick-start your career.

Not sure what your options are? We spoke to Kaplan Financial, one of the UK’s leading providers of accountancy qualifications, for a quick rundown of everything you need to know about AAT:


What is AAT?

AAT stands for the Association of Accounting Technicians. It’s the UK’s leading professional membership body for accounting staff, and has over 120,000 members in over 90 countries worldwide.

AAT is sponsored by four of the UK’s leading chartered accountancy bodies – CIPFA, ICAEW, CIMA and ICAS.


What are the different AAT levels?

There are four main levels of AAT qualification. These range from the introductory AAT Access Level 1 course, through to the more advanced Level 4 diploma.

Here’s a quick rundown of the different AAT qualifications:

AAT Access (Level 1) – Basic introduction to accounting and finance skills. A short course, and the first step to becoming an AAT member. Once you have gained the AAT Access qualification, you have opened the door to a huge variety of accounting jobs. No pre-requisites, although candidates must be 16 and over.

AAT Level 2 – The foundation stage of AAT, this course introduces essential accounting skills and principles such as the double entry system, trial balances and credit control. No requirement to complete Level 1 in order to take this qualification.

AAT Level 3 – The intermediate stage of AAT, Level 3 builds on the theory learn at the previous stage, but places more of a focus on specific accounting tasks, including the formal preparation of accounts. Once completed you will be awarded the AAT Diploma in Accounting.

AAT Level 4 – The final and most advanced stage of AAT, Level 4 teaches key skills such as budget preparation, monitoring financial performance and drafting financial statements. Once completed you will automatically become an AAT affiliate member, validating your advanced skills in accountancy.

View all AAT courses now


Why do I need AAT?

The AAT Accounting Qualification is greatly respected in the financial industry, and is designed to give students all the practical skills they need to build a career in finance.

AAT qualifications are globally recognised, and are generally considered prerequisites for several accountancy positions. They can be studied regardless of age, experience or previous qualifications, so are perfect for anyone seriously considering a career in the accounting sector.

What’s more, employers including the NHS, HMV and Procter and Gamble have all successfully used AAT qualifications to help their employees develop their accounting skills, cementing AAT’s position as industry-leaders when it comes to accountancy.


How much can I earn once AAT qualified?

This will vary depending on individual employer, location, certification and job title. As a general guideline, once Level 1 or Level 2 qualified you could be earning somewhere in the region of £20,000 as a starting salary (as an Accounts Clerk, for example).

However, progressing through the levels will allow you to take the next step in your accounting career, which could see you move on to positions such as Purchase or Sales Ledger Supervisor, or Accounts Manager.

For these positions, you’ll be much more likely to command salaries above £30,000, even rising to the £50,000 mark for the most experienced.


What methods of learning AAT are there?

All AAT qualifications offer flexible and varied options when it comes to methods of study.

You can either choose to take them full-time or part-time, and online from your own home or within a classroom.

Kaplan, for example, offer both OnDemand and Distance Learning options – meaning you can study wherever, and whenever you want.


How long will it take to get AAT qualified?

As the courses are self-paced, this will largely be up to you.

As a general guideline, each level should take somewhere between six months and a year to complete (although this may be significantly less if you’re already working within the accountancy industry).

With Kaplan’s OnDemand service you’ll even be able to access the course at times that suit you – using tutor-led videos, that you can fit within your own unique timetable.


Advantages of becoming AAT qualified

Some key advantages of becoming AAT qualified include:

  • A nationally and internationally recognised qualification
  • A pathway for career development, training and progression
  • Being in demand by employers in both the public and private sector, with many employers considering AAT qualifications as essential
  • Greater confidence in your own skills and abilities
  • Access to, and the support of, a professional body within the accountancy sector


Why study with Kaplan Financial?

Whatever study method or course you’re interested in, Kaplan have something for you.

Not only are they one of the UKs most respected course providers, offering industry leading training in accounting and business expertise, they also provide a wide range of different types of learning – including classroom, distance and online learning.

Other benefits of studying with Kaplan Financial include:

  • Exceptional pass rates across all of their courses
  • Interest free payment plans
  • Prices inclusive of exams and study materials
  • Industry leading support – whether online, or in class
  • World recognised qualifications, and endorsements from some of the UKs biggest businesses (including all of the top 10 accounting firms)

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Ready to start studying? Find an AAT course with Kaplan today.



kaplanKaplan Financial are the UK leader in financial, accountancy and business training. Their mission is to help individuals achieve their goals and realise their potential.