Applying for an AAT licence

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.

Offering self-employed bookkeeping or accountancy services means:

Being an associate member, full member or fellow member who provides bookkeeping or accountancy services as:

  • a sole trader; or
  • a partner in a partnership (whether salaried or equity) that provides accountancy or bookkeeping services and holds at least 5% of the shares of the partnership; or
  • a director of a limited company that provides accountancy or bookkeeping services and holds at least 5% of the shares of the company; or
  • a Principal in any other corporate entity that provides accountancy or bookkeeping services and holds at least 5% of the shares of the entity.

Please note: shares belonging to anyone in the member’s household or family are treated as belonging to the member.

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 01 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.

£140 - Licensed bookkeeper fee

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 01 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. 

Licensed Accountant fee - 

£279 (£177 if gross fee income under £7,000)

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

 

How to apply for an AAT licence

Complete and submit the relevant AAT licence application form to customersupport@aat.org.uk

AAT Licensed Bookkeeper application (PDF)

AAT Licensed Accountant application (PDF)
 

1. Tell us about your business

'Fit and proper' declarations and disclosure
You will need to answer questions relating to your suitability as a licensed member. The questions relate to our Criminal convictions policy, Disciplinary sanctions policy, Insolvency policy and Civil sanctions policy. Read more about 'fit and proper' declarations and disclosure

Services you wish to offer
You will need to tell us which services you would like to offer under your AAT licence - read about the services you can offer under each licence tier. You cannot provide services unless they are covered by your licence.

Your self-employed business 
You will need to tell us about the self-employed business you plan to operate from. We need to know your business contact details, what kind of business you will trade as (sole trader, limited company or partnership), the number of clients you expect to have, whether you have employees or subcontractors and your predicted income.

2. Knowledge and experience

1. Work experience
You will need to tell us about your work experience in each service you want your licence to cover. Your work experience can be from any job, full time, part-time or voluntary. We need the name of the employer or organisation where you worked and a summary of the duties you performed. Bullet point information is fine.

2. Online diagnostic tests
You will need to pass our online professional ethics and anti money laundering tests. The tests check knowledge and understanding of ethics as well as obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations. A pass rate of 71% is required. The tests should take approximately 20 minutes each to complete. You will be able to re-take the tests if unsuccessful.

3. Professional reference
You will need to provide a referee to confirm your suitability for a licence. Your referee must have known you in a professional capacity for at least six months and must not be a relative. Your referee will need to confirm your professional and ethical conduct and provide their contact details.

4. Continuing professional development (CPD)
If you are applying for an AAT accountancy licence you will need to tell us about the CPD you have undertaken in each service you want your licence to cover. Your CPD (log-in to MyAAT) can include work-based learning, formal courses and self-directed learning.

5. Practice management experience - needed for the AAT accountancy licence only 
If you are applying to become a licensed accountant you will need to tell us about your experience of practice management processes. Experience can be from self-employed work, voluntary work or involvement in practice management processes as an employee. Refer to our Practice Assurance Standards for information on areas to include.     

3. Compliance requirements

In order to offer bookkeeping or accounting services to clients, family or friends you must have the following arrangements in place. You will need to provide supporting evidence as part of your application:

Anti money laundering supervision
AAT licensed members must register for anti money laundering (AML) supervision. This is a legal requirement. AAT is a statutory supervisor so you can register for AML supervision when you apply for an AAT licence. You will need to provide information about any partners or directors and provide details of your Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO). Find out more about the MLRO and supervision criteriaIf you are supervised by another statutory supervisor you will need to inform us who this is. 

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)
You are required to have PII in place to cover the work you provide to clients. The Professional Indemnity Insurance policy (PDF) sets out the level of insurance you are required to have. You must provide details of your PII policy when you apply for an AAT licence. Find out more about AAT's PII requirements and apply for a quote (log in to MyAAT to access this content).

Continuity of practice
You are required to have continuity of practice cover in place to ensure your practice can continue in the event of long term absence or cessation of your firm. You will need to provide details of your chosen continuity cover. You should note that you are exempt from the requirement for continuity cover if you have six or fewer clients. The Continuity of practice policy (PDF) provides more detail.

Client care policy
You will be asked to confirm that you will comply with requirements set out in the Client care policy (PDF). This includes providing a letter of engagement to each client. AAT has template letters of engagement (sign-in to MyAAT) which you can adapt.

Data Protection Act compliance
It is a legal requirement that anyone who processes information regarding another person by way of business must register with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). When you apply for an AAT licence you will be asked to confirm that you have or will be registering with the ICO.   

4. Pay AAT fees

There are additional annual fees for an AAT licence and AML supervision. These are in addition to your annual membership fees. We cannot approve your licence until the fees have been paid.

Check AAT fees