All self-employed AAT members offering bookkeeping or accountancy services to clients must hold a valid AAT licence.
An AAT licence entitles members to call themselves an AAT Licensed Accountant or AAT Licensed Bookkeeper, depending on the types of service they've been approved to offer clients.
It's in the public interest for AAT to regulate members who provide bookkeeping or accountancy services to clients. All applicants for an AAT licence must demonstrate technical competence, adhere to practice assurance standards and demonstrate their status as "fit and proper" persons to hold a licence.
AAT licence requirements
Protecting the public
- Client Care policy (PDF): sets out the requirements for client care placed on those holding a licence to provide self-employed accountancy services.
- Clients' Money policy (PDF): a firm must receive or hold clients' money only in accordance with this policy.
- Continuity of Practice policy (PDF): details AAT’s requirement for all licence holders to have cover in place to ensure their practice can continue in the event of long-term absence or cessation of the firm.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance policy (PDF): AAT requires that all licence holders have professional indemnity insurance covering the services they provide.
- Practice Assurance Standards (PDF): AAT firms must demonstrate that their procedures achieve the standards set by AAT’s Practice Assurance Standards.
How AAT licenses its members
- Licensing Regulations (PDF): a member may not undertake self-employed accounting or bookkeeping services unless licensed to do so in accordance with the Licensing Regulations.
- Licensing policy (PDF): sets out the terms upon which AAT will grant a licence.
- Licence Exemption policy (PDF): sets out the criteria upon which AAT may exempt associate, full and fellow members from holding a licence.
- To apply to be exempt from holding an AAT licence please see the Licence eligibility and exemptions page.
Practice assurance reviews
All AAT licensed members are subject to practice assurance monitoring, in order for AAT to ensure their practice is compliant with AAT’s regulatory and technical framework. During the review, an AAT representative will assess a firm’s compliance with AAT’s standards, policies and regulations in addition to statutory requirements and anti-money laundering legislation.
Anti-money laundering (AML) supervision
All regulated businesses, including AAT Licensed Accountants and Bookkeepers offering self-employed services, must ensure both their firm-wide and client-specific risk assessment processes and procedures are sufficiently robust to comply with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLR 2017).
AAT is recognised as a statutory supervisor for supervising the compliance of AAT licensed members, as detailed in schedule 3 of MLR 2017. We exercise our supervisory function by conducting practice assurance reviews and providing support to help our licensed members understand the controls and monitoring they must have in place to comply with the current money laundering regulations.
We have a responsibility to:
- help AAT licensed members understand relevant legislative requirements
- ensure that AAT licensed members comply with the law.
AAT is supervised by the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS), a regulator set up by the government to strengthen the UK’s AML supervisory regime and ensure that professional bodies' AML supervisors provide consistently high standards.
The AAT Glossary (PDF) provides definitions for the terms used in AAT's policies, regulations and guidance.