Qualification specifications and outlines

AAT qualifications are recognised and valued by employers as vocational and technical qualifications that prepare students for the world of work and for working specifically in accountancy and finance roles.

Qualification specifications have been available for the AQ2016 qualifications for first teaching since 1 September 2016.

Qualification specifications are provided for Qualifications 2022 (Q2022), which will be available for first teaching on 1 September 2022.

The qualifications are outlined below.

Qualification specifications, purpose statements and letters of support

AQ2016

We want to make training providers' experience of delivering our qualifications as engaging and easy as possible. The specification document contains everything you need to know about the qualification, and should be used by everyone involved in the planning, delivery and assessment.

AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting – Level 2

The AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting at Level 2 has been available for teaching since 1 September 2016.

The purpose of the AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting is to offer grounding in the core accounting knowledge and skills needed to progress either to employment or to further study. This qualification is suitable for young people who have just left school as well as for adults returning to work after a break or for anyone wishing to change career.

This qualification comprises five mandatory units that cover a range of foundation accounting and finance skills, giving a total of 240 guided learning hours.

Sample assessment and mark schemes (SAMS)

SAMS highlight the types of questions likely to be included in a live assessment.

Tasks are accompanied by mark schemes and are reflective of the depth of content coverage, level of demand, duration and mark allocation of tasks that will be in the live assessment.

Letters of support from professional bodies

Letters of support from employers

AAT Foundation Diploma in Accounting and Business – Level 2

The AAT Foundation Diploma in Accounting and Business at Level 2 has been available for teaching since 1 September 2016. This qualification offers technical training in accounting and is ideal for anyone wishing to pursue a career in accountancy and finance.

The purpose of the diploma is to offer the foundation accounting knowledge needed to progress to employment or further study in accountancy and finance, alongside business and personal skills that are transferable to any sector, and additional business knowledge relevant to accountancy. The broader focus of the diploma enhances employability and is particularly suitable for young people studying full time.

This qualification comprises nine mandatory units that cover a broad range of core accounting skills, as well as accountancy-related business skills including communication and personal skills. This qualification has a total of 240 guided learning hours.

Sample assessment and mark schemes (SAMS)

SAMS highlight the types of questions likely to be included in a live assessment.

Tasks are accompanied by mark schemes and are reflective of the depth of content coverage, level of demand, duration and mark allocation of tasks that will be in the live assessment.

Letters of support from professional bodies

Letters of support from employers

AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting – Level 3

The AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting at Level 3 has been available for teaching since 1 September 2016.

The purpose of the AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting is to provide students with the specialist knowledge and skills required for progressing either to employment in an accounting or finance role, or to enable progression to further education. This qualification offers technical training in accounting and is ideal for anyone wishing to pursue a career in accountancy and finance. By studying for this qualification students will acquire lifelong professional accountancy and finance skills.

This qualification comprises six mandatory units, giving a total of 390 guided learning hours.

Sample assessment and mark schemes (SAMS)

SAMS highlight the types of questions likely to be included in a live assessment.

Tasks are accompanied by mark schemes and are reflective of the depth of content coverage, level of demand, duration and mark allocation of tasks that will be in the live assessment.

Letters of support from professional bodies

Letters of support from employers

AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting – Level 4

The AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting at Level 4 has been available for first teaching since 1 September 2016.

The purpose of the AAT Level 4 Professional Diploma in Accounting is to enhance the skills developed from the AAT Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Accounting qualification, enabling students to maximise opportunities in their current or new employment. By studying for this qualification students will acquire lifelong professional accountancy and finance skills.

This qualification comprises four mandatory, and two specialist units, from a choice of five options, giving a total of 420 guided learning hours.

Sample assessment and mark schemes (SAMS)

SAMS highlight the types of questions likely to be included in a live assessment.

Tasks are accompanied by mark schemes and are reflective of the depth of content coverage, level of demand, duration and mark allocation of tasks that will be in the live assessment.

Letters of support from employers

AAT Foundation Award in Accounting Software – Level 2

The AAT Foundation Award in Accounting Software at Level 2 has been available for teaching and student registration since 1 September 2016.

The purpose of the Award in Accounting Software is to offer students the necessary data processing and accounting software skills needed for most finance roles. The qualification will equip students with the knowledge and understanding to carry out typical bookkeeping transactions and tasks using accounting software.

This qualification comprises one mandatory unit, and has a total of 45 guided learning hours.

AAT Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping – Level 2

The AAT Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping at Level 2 has been available for teaching and student registration since 1 September 2016.

The purpose of the Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping is to ensure students have the solid bookkeeping skills necessary for most finance roles. Students will develop practical accountancy skills in the double-entry bookkeeping system and in using associated documents and processes, as well as dealing with VAT ad trail balances while developing their understanding of the relationship between various accounting records.

This qualification comprises two mandatory units, and has a total of 105 guided learning hours.

AAT Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping – Level 3

The AAT Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping at Level 3 has been available for teaching and student registration since 1 September 2016.

The purpose of the Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping is to ensure that students have the advanced skills necessary to work in a bookkeeping role or to progress to higher level accountancy. Students will develop skills and knowledge required to complete complex bookkeeping transactions while gaining an understanding of the advanced bookkeeping principles and concepts, issues around indirect tax (VAT) and how to prepare financial statement. This will all be learnt within the context of the ethical issues that a bookkeeper may encounter in their professional life.

This qualification comprises three mandatory units, and has a total of 210 guided learning hours.

AAT Access qualifications – Level 1

The Access qualifications listed below have been available for registration since January 2018.

These Access qualifications are an entry point for students who need additional support to develop their finance or business skills. They are designed to give students the introductory knowledge and confidence to take on higher-level AAT qualifications and to progress in their lives and careers.

Download the qualification specifications and Sample Assessments and Mark Schemes (SAMS):

Letters of support from employers

Qualifications 2022

AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting

The AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting will be available for first teaching on 1 September 2022.

The purpose of the AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting is to offer grounding in the core accounting knowledge and skills needed to progress either to employment or to further study. This qualification is suitable for young people who have just left school as well as for adults returning to work after a break or for anyone wishing to change career.

This qualification comprises four units that cover a range of foundation accounting and finance skills, and has a total of 255 guided learning hours.

The qualification specification outlines all the learning objectives and assessment requirements.

Download the Level 2 Certificate in Accounting qualification specification (version 3.1) (PDF)

The qualification technical information (QTI) document provides technical information requirements for each unit within the qualification.

Download the Level 2 qualification technical information (QTI) (PDF)

The qualification Sample Assessment and Mark Scheme (SAMS) documents provide an indication of the question type and level of expected detail within the answer for the different question types.

Download the Level 2 Sample Assessment and Mark Scheme (SAMS) (PDF)

AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting

The AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting will be available for first teaching on 1 September 2022.

The purpose of the AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting is to provide students with the specialist knowledge and skills required for progressing either to employment in an accounting or finance role, or to enable progression to further education. This qualification offers technical training in accounting and is ideal for anyone wishing to pursue a career in accountancy and finance. By studying for this qualification students will acquire lifelong professional accountancy and finance skills.

This qualification comprises four units that cover a range of advanced accounting and finance skills, and has a total of 400 guided learning hours.

AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting

The AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting will be available for teaching on 1 September 2022.

The purpose of the AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting is to enhance the skills developed from the AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting qualification, enabling students to maximise opportunities in their current or new employment. By studying for this qualification students will acquire lifelong professional accountancy and finance skills.

This qualification comprises three mandatory units and two optional units from a choice of five, which cover complex accounting and finance tasks, and has a total of 390 guided learning hours.

AAT Level 1 Award in Bookkeeping

The AAT Level 1 Award in Bookkeeping will be available for first teaching on 1 September 2022.

The purpose of this qualification is to provide students with a basic introduction to the bookkeeping skills necessary for entry level roles. Student will develop practical accountancy skills in manual bookkeeping takas and an understanding of the associated documents and the role of a bookkeeper.

This qualification comprises of one unit and had a total of 75 guided learning hours.

Download the Level 1 Award in Bookkeeping qualification specification (version 1.1) (PDF)

AAT Level 1 Award in Business Skills

The AAT Level 1 Award in Business Skills will be available for first teaching on 1 September 2022.

The purpose of this qualification is to introduce students to the basic numeracy skills to support everyday business activities and to develop their employability skills. 

This qualification comprises two units and has a total of 75 guided learning hours.

Download the Level 1 Award in Business Skills qualification specification (version 1.1) (PDF)

AAT Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping

The AAT Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping will be available for first teaching on 1 September 2022.

The purpose of the Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping is to ensure students have the solid bookkeeping skills necessary for most finance roles. Students will develop practical accountancy skills in the double-entry bookkeeping system and in using associated documents and processes, as well as dealing with VAT ad trail balances while developing their understanding of the relationship between various accounting records.

This qualification comprises two units that cover a range of foundation bookkeeping skills, and has a total of 115 guided learning hours.

Download the Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping qualification specification (version 3.1) PDF)

The qualification technical information (QTI) document provides technical information requirements for each unit within the qualification.

Download the Level 2 qualification technical information (QTI) (PDF)

AAT Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping

The AAT Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping will be available for first teaching on 1 September 2022.

The purpose of the Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping is to ensure that students have the advanced skills necessary to work in a bookkeeping role or to progress to higher level accountancy. Students will develop skills and knowledge required to complete complex bookkeeping transactions while gaining an understanding of the advanced bookkeeping principles and concepts, issues around indirect tax and how to prepare financial statements. This will all be learned within the context of the ethical issues that a bookkeeper may encounter in their professional life.

This qualification comprises two units that cover a more advanced level of bookkeeping skills, and has a total of 210 guided learning hours.

Download the Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping qualification specification (version 3.1) (PDF)

AQ2016: Scotland

These qualifications have been available for first teaching since 1 September 2016.

AQ2022: Scotland

These qualifications will be available for first teaching on 1 September 2022.

Certificate in Accounting – SCQF Level 6

This is equivalent to the AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting, and to a Scottish Higher qualification.

AAT qualifications are included in the Modern Apprenticeship and Foundation Apprenticeship framework funded though Skills Development Scotland.

Diploma in Accounting – SCQF Level 7

This is equivalent to the AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting, and to a Scottish Higher National Diploma (HND).

It attracts £600 funding towards costs, an increase of £600.

Diploma in Professional Accounting – SCQF Level 8

This is equivalent to the AAT Level 4 Diploma in Accounting, and to a Scottish Higher National Diploma (HND).

It attracts between £1,049 and £1,124 funding towards costs.

AAT qualifications are included in the Modern Apprenticeship framework funded though Skills Development Scotland.