Applying for an AAT licence

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 in accordance with AAT’s licence requirements.

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

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.

Both licence fees include anti-money laundering (AML) supervision and resources. AML supervision is subject to eligibility. If you’re applying to become an AAT Licensed Accountant you’ll also need to pay an application fee in addition to your membership and licence fee. (See all fees.)

AAT Licensed Bookkeeper

Who can apply Services you can be licensed to offer
  • Associate AAT bookkeeping member (AATQB)
  • Full AAT member (MAAT)
  • Fellow AAT member (FMAAT)

AAT Licensed Bookkeepers are regulated to provide up to five 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 as outlined in the Licensing policy. The services are:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial accounting and accounts preparation for sole traders and partnerships
  • Computerised accountancy systems
  • Value Added Tax
  • Payroll

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

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

AAT Licensed Accountant

Who can apply Services you can be licensed to offer
  • Full member (MAAT)
  • Fellow AAT member (FMAAT) 

AAT 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 as outlined in the Licensing policy. The services are: 

  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial accounting and accounts preparation for sole traders and partnerships
  • Computerised Accountancy Systems
  • Value Added Tax
  • Payroll
  • Financial accounting and accounts preparation for statutory purposes
  • 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 to clients 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 be an AAT Licensed Accountant. 

How to apply

Download the AAT licensed member annual declaration form (PDF), which contains full guidance on how to complete each section. Please ensure you download the form to your device and save your progress as you go: do not complete the form within your browser or your changes may not be saved.

 

Before you start

Do your homework

Applying to become an AAT licensed member is a significant step in your career. Ensure you have familiarised yourself with the support and information available.

Check you’re eligible to apply

In order to be approved as an AAT licensed member, you must also hold AAT professional membership. If you’re not a current professional member, find out more and start your application 

Prepare your supporting information

In order to complete your application, you’ll need to prepare some details in advance. You’ll need to:

Complete your application – part 1

In the first part of your application form, you’ll need to tell us about yourself and the business you want to run. This will include providing information on the following areas:

  • your personal and business contact details
  • your membership and practice status
  • your business model
  • additional parties including shareholders, directors, employees or subcontractors
  • your clients. 

Complete your application – part 2

This is split into three areas. In this section you will need to:

  • tell us about the services you wish to offer and the experience you have in each area. If you’re applying to be an AAT Licensed Accountant, you’ll also need to include evidence of your CPD in each service and your practice management experience
  • confirm you’ve passed the AAT diagnostic tests. You’ll need to pass 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. 
  • provide details of your professional reference 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.

Complete your application – part 3

In this part of your application you will need to confirm:

  • your Money Laundering Reporting Officer 
  • your 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. If you choose to be supervised by us, you’ll need to send us an original Basic Disclosure Certificate with your application that has been issued within the past three months.
  • your Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII). 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.
  • your continuity of practice cover, under our continuity of practice policy. 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.
  • details of any investment, insurance, pensions, audit or insolvency work you undertake. 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.
  • you will register with appropriate third parties, including the Information Commissioners Officer (ICO) and HMRC.

Complete your application - part 4

  • confirm if you want to appear in the AAT licensed member directory. All AAT licensed members can appear on our online 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. You 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.

Complete your application - part 5

In this section you will need to:

  • arrange payment for your application. 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.

Complete your application - part 6

Please only complete this section if you have a relevant additional business

Send your application to us with your fee

When you have completed your application, please send it to us by email or post. If you have enclosed a Basic Disclosure Certificate with your application we recommend you send this along with your completed application by Royal Mail Signed For delivery.

You’ll also need to pay your fees along with your application. This includes your licence fee and membership fee. If you’re applying to become an AAT Licensed Accountant you’ll also need to pay an application fee to cover the cost of assessing your application.

Respond quickly to our queries

When we’ve received your application form and fee, we’ll 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 two weeks. If you do not receive confirmation of receipt of your application within this time, or you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Once we are satisfied that you have met all the criteria, we will approve your licence and you’ll 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. 

* 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 August, your renewal date will be 1 August each year.

Register with HMRC as soon as you’re approved

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