Licence eligibility and exemptions

AAT students and affiliates

You won’t be eligible to apply for a licence until you become an AAT professional member.

If you offer bookkeeping or accountancy services to the public, you must not make any reference to AAT in relation to your work and you must follow all relevant regulations. This includes registering with an appropriate money laundering supervisory authority. If you’ve completed the AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting, you are strongly encouraged to apply for AAT professional membership and a licence.

If you’re unsure if you’re eligible for a licence, use our licence checker.

AAT professional members

If you want to provide self-employed bookkeeping or accountancy services to the public in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, you must hold a valid AAT licence and be supervised for anti-money laundering compliance. You must also adhere to these requirements if you’re working as, or holding yourself out to be in public practice as:

  • a sole practitioner
  • a partner of a firm
  • a director or principal with at least 5% shares belonging to you, your household or your family
  • a designated member or member of a limited liability partnership.

You may not need a licence if you’re offering services under one of the following circumstances.

Authorised and regulated by a chartered and certified accountancy body

If you're authorised and regulated by a recognised chartered and certified accountancy body, you're not required to obtain an AAT licence. A list of bodies is outlined in the Licence exemption policy (PDF).

Providing services to another accountancy firm on a subcontractor basis only

If you're providing services on a subcontractor basis only, you don't need an AAT licence. However, you must ensure:

  • you're covered by either the subcontracting accountant’s or your own Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)
  • you've been trained and have an understanding of the anti-money laundering policies, procedures and controls in place at the firm
  • you have a subcontracting agreement in place, clarifying your role and responsibilities along with the agreed PII and money laundering compliance arrangements in place.

Providing services on a voluntary basis

If you're only undertaking self-employed work on a voluntary basis to family/friends, or a small charity or a non-profit-making entity, you don't need an AAT licence. You're able to help out in this way providing the following conditions are adhered to.

  • You must only provide services in areas where you hold appropriate knowledge and experience.
  • You must not earn any remuneration from your work except the reimbursement of reasonable expenses.
  • You must not represent yourself as an AAT licensed member or being in public practice.
  • You must advise clients whether you hold PII cover at the outset of any work undertaken.
  • You must follow all AAT member regulations and policies including complying with our CPD policy (PDF) and Code of Professional Ethics (PDF).

What to do if you think you’re exempt

It's your responsibility to familiarise yourself with AAT’s licence requirements and determine whether or not you should hold a licence and be supervised for anti-money laundering compliance. If you’re unsure, you can use our licence checker to help you.

You should read our Licence exemption policy (PDF) and contact us if you need further guidance.

If you’re providing services and believe you’re exempt from requiring an AAT licence, you must complete and return the licence exemption application form (PDF) immediately.

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