Applying for an AAT licence

Becoming an AAT licensed member is an exciting opportunity to run your own practice, and could help you enjoy greater job satisfaction and security and earning potential.

Find out more before applying

AAT members who want to become self-employed

It is in the public interest that AAT regulates members who provide bookkeeping or accountancy services to clients.

All AAT members offering self-employed bookkeeping or accountancy services within the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, must hold a valid AAT licence.

 

Read the AAT licence requirements

Bookkeeping or accountancy?

When applying for an AAT licence you can apply to become an AAT Licensed Bookkeeper or an AAT Licensed Accountant. The one you choose will depend on the type of work you will be offering to clients, and your AAT membership.

Below we list the services a Licensed Accountant and Licensed Bookkeeper can apply to offer. 

 

AAT Licensed Bookkeeper

Which AAT members can apply to become a Licensed Bookkeeper? Services you can be licensed to offer Licensed Bookkeeper fees applicable from 1 January 2017
  • Associate AAT member (AATQB)
     
  • Full AAT member (MAAT)
     
  • Fellow AAT member (FMAAT) 

Licensed Bookkeepers are regulated to provide up to four services on a self-employed basis. Members are not automatically approved in all services - approval of services is on an individual basis and subject to demonstration of competence, see the Licensing policy (PDF).

With this type of AAT licence, members are regulated to provide up to 4 services on a self-employed basis. Members are not automatically approved in all services - approval of services is on an individual basis and subject to demonstration of competence, see the Licensing policy (PDF).

  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial accounting and accounts preparation for sole traders and partnerships
  • Computerised accountancy systems
  • Value added tax

All associate, full and fellow AAT members wishing to provide these services to clients, family or friends must hold an AAT bookkeeping licence. 

You cannot provide any of these services unless they are covered by your individual licence. Find out more about these services.

See the AAT membership fees page.

Licensed Bookkeeper fee includes AML supervision and resources. AML supervision is subject to eligibility.

AAT Licensed Accountant

Which AAT members can apply to become a Licensed Accountant? Services you can be licensed to offer Licensed Accountant fees applicable from 1 January 2017
  • Full member (MAAT)
  • Fellow AAT member (FMAAT) 

Licensed Accountants are regulated to provide up to 18 accountancy services on a self-employed basis.

Members are not automatically approved in all services - approval of services is on an individual basis and subject to demonstration of competence, see the Licensing policy (PDF)

  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial accounting and accounts preparation for sole traders and partnerships
  • Computerised Accountancy Systems
  • Value Added Tax
  • Financial accounting and accounts preparation for statutory purposes
  • Payroll
  • Management accounting
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Corporation Tax
  • Business Income Tax
  • Personal Income Tax
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Internal Audit
  • Independent Examination
  • Limited Assurance Engagements
  • Company Secretarial Services

You cannot provide any of these services unless they are covered by your individual licence. Find out more about these services.

All full and fellow AAT members wishing to provide these services to clients, family or friends must hold an AAT accountancy licence. 

See the AAT membership fees page.

Licensed Accountant fee includes AML supervision and resources. AML supervision is subject to eligibility.

 

How to apply

1. Download the application form

There are two separate application forms:

AAT Licensed Bookkeeper application (PDF)

AAT Licensed Accountant application (PDF)
 

2. Complete the application form

Part 1

Tell us about yourself and the business you want to run. This will include providing information on:

  • Your personal and business contact details
  • Your business model, and details of any other partners or directors
  • Your business details, including:
  • Expected income
  • Expected client types and number of clients
  • Whether you have any employees.

Part 2

This is split into three areas.

Tell us about your services, experience and CPD

Firstly, you’ll need to tell us about the services you would like to offer, and provide details of your experience in each of these services. If you’re applying to be an AAT Licensed Accountant, you’ll also need to submit evidence of your practice management experience and your continuing professional development (CPD).

Pass the online diagnostic tests

You’ll need to pass our online professional ethics and anti-money laundering tests (with a score of at least 71%), and confirm this on your application form. Both tests consist of multiple choice questions and should take about 20 minutes each to complete. 

Arrange and provide details of your professional reference

The next step is to provide details of a referee who can confirm you are suitable for a licence. They could be a client, or another accountant or bookkeeper, and must have known you in a professional capacity for at least six months. Family members aren’t able to act as referees.

Make sure you’re familiar with:

Part 3

The next step to completing your application is split into three parts.

Arrange and confirm your plans for anti-money laundering supervision

All AAT licensed members must register for anti-money laundering supervision. Most of our members are eligible to be supervised by us, but you can be supervised by another body if appropriate. We provide resources and support to all our licensed members to help them understand the current money laundering regulations in force.

Arrange and confirm your Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) is a mandatory requirement for all AAT licensed members. It protects both you and your clients, and your application won’t be approved until you have arranged suitable cover. AAT members are eligible for exclusive rates on PII if arranged through AAT’s partner provider.

Arrange and confirm your continuity of practice cover

All AAT licensed members are encouraged to arrange continuity of practice cover, in the event that you become unable to serve your clients. It’s mandatory for all members who have seven or more clients.

Make sure you’re familiar with:

Part 4

The final step to completing your application is split into four parts.

Tell us about any investment, insurance, pensions, audit or insolvency work

As there are some financial services that AAT is not authorised to regulate, you’ll need to let us know about any work you undertake in these areas and confirm that you’ve registered with the appropriate authority. 

Confirm if you want support in promoting your business

All AAT licensed members can appear on our online Find an AAT Licensed Accountant or Bookkeeper directory. This is promoted to the public to help them find licensed members in their area. You can choose to just display your name and town, or you can include additional contact information so potential clients can get in touch.

Confirm you are "fit and proper" to be a licensed member

This section includes declaring information regarding any insolvency, criminal convictions, disciplinary sanctions, civil sanctions and other financial and legal issues that we need to be aware of. If you tick "Yes" to any of the statements, you’ll need to supply extra information on these areas with your application so it can be reviewed by our Professional Standards team against AAT's "Fit and proper" requirements

Complete your declaration

The final step in your application is to complete the declaration to confirm that you will abide by all AAT regulations and policies and relevant government legislation. You’ll also need to confirm that you will issue letters of engagement to each client – you can use our templates to help you with this.

You must also confirm that you are registered with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Make sure you’re familiar with:

3. Submit application and pay fees

Your annual licence fee must be paid in full when you submit your application, which will be processed on receipt. You can pay by credit/debit card, cheque/postal order or by banker's draft. Or, if you already pay your membership fees by Direct Debit, we will collect your payment by this method and you won’t need to arrange a separate payment.

When you have arranged your fee payment and completed your application, please send them to us by email or post.

4. Finalise any queries with AAT

When we’ve received your application form and fee, we will review the information you have supplied and contact you within 10 working days. We may need some extra information from you, based on the information included on your form. We will do our best to contact you about any queries as quickly as possible and are usually able to approve applications within around two weeks.

Your renewal will be due on the 1st of the month, regardless of the date your licence is approved. For example, if your licence is approved on 20 February 2018, your renewal date will be 1 February each year.

5. Receive licence approval

Once we are satisfied that you have met all the criteria, we will approve your licence and you will receive confirmation by email. Your licence will be effective immediately and valid for one year, when you’ll need to renew. We’ll then send your certificate and licensed member welcome guide within two weeks.

6. Register as self-employed with HMRC

Understanding your employment status and registering appropriately with HMRC as soon as your business is active is crucial: it will affect how you pay tax and whether you have any employment rights.