Accounting qualifications

AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting

Level 2

Study this accounting qualification for a foundation in finance, covering areas like double entry bookkeeping, basic costing principles and accounting software.

What it covers

This qualification delivers a solid foundation in finance administration, covering areas such as double entry bookkeeping, basic costing principles and using accounting software.

Students will learn finance, accountancy, business and communications skills.


Bookkeeping Transactions

This unit introduces students to the double-entry bookkeeping system and the associated documents and processes. Students will reach the stage of extracting an initial trial balance, before any adjustments are made.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand financial transactions within a bookkeeping system.
  • Process customer transactions.
  • Process supplier transactions.
  • Process receipts and payments.
  • Process transactions through the ledgers to the trial balance.

Bookkeeping Controls

This unit covers more complex Foundation level bookkeeping procedures, which will enable students to develop their understanding of the relationship between the various accounting records and consolidate their knowledge of double-entry bookkeeping.

Students will gain the confidence they need to perform well in the workplace and the unit will prepare them for greater responsibility. Students will develop the ability to prepare the VAT control account as well as the sales and purchases ledger control accounts, including reconciliation with the sales and purchases ledgers.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand payment methods.
  • Understand controls in a bookkeeping system.
  • Use control accounts.
  • Use the journal.
  • Reconcile a bank statement with the cash book.

Elements of Costing

This unit gives students a basic introduction to costing, while building a sound foundation in the knowledge and skills they need for more complex costing and management accounting units such as Advanced level Management Accounting: Costing and Professional level Management Accounting: Budgeting.

Students will understand the importance of the costing system as a source of information for internal management decision making. In contrast to the more outward perspective of financial accounting, the skills developed in this unit will allow students to provide information to managers that can be used to assist in internal business planning, decision making and control.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the cost recording system within an organisation.
  • Use cost recording techniques.
  • Provide information on actual and budgeted costs and income.

Using Accounting Software

This unit provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to carry out typical bookkeeping transactions and tasks using accounting software.

In the modern business environment, processing data and information into accounting software is a necessary task in most finance roles. This unit teaches students the practical steps for processing accounting information electronically and will allow students to reinforce their understanding of the sequence in which bookkeeping tasks are carried out.

Learning outcomes

  • Set up accounting software.
  • Process sales and purchases transactions.
  • Process bank and cash transactions.
  • Perform period end routine tasks.
  • Produce reports.

Work Effectively in Finance

This unit will help students to develop the professional skills and behaviours needed in the workplace. While this unit is set in the context of the finance function, these skills are transferable to many other working environments.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the finance function within an organisation.
  • Use personal skills development in finance.
  • Produce work effectively.
  • Understand corporate social responsibility (CSR), ethics and sustainability within organisations.

Foundation Certificate Synoptic Assessment

The synoptic assessment asks students to apply knowledge and skills gained across the qualification in an integrated way, within a workplace context. Scenarios change over time to ensure validity.

Get started now

Find a local training provider to deliver your course and once you've registered with them, you're ready to register with us.

How long it takes

This qualification will usually take around one year to complete, but this will depend on study method and course timetable. It may be possible to complete it in as little as six months.

Read the AAT course prospectus
Read the AAT course prospectus

Find out more about where AAT qualifications can take you.

Read the qualification specification
Read the qualification specification

Download this PDF for a detailed view of the qualification and the individual unit learning objectives.

How and where to study

You can study through distance learning online, blended learning, or in the classroom. Do it in the evening, part-time or full-time, whatever suits you. You'll need to find a training provider, even if you're choosing distance learning.


Training provider fees


This fee covers your tuition (if attending a course of study) and is paid directly to your training provider.

Standard qualification fee

The standard qualification fee comprises four assessment fees at £49 per assessment, plus one synoptic assessment fee at £52, giving a total of £248.

You will be required to pay the assessment fees to your training provider or assessment venue.

Note: training providers and assessment venues may charge an additional administrative fee for each assessment. Administrative fees, if charged, can vary from one organisation to another. 

AAT membership fees

You need to register for AAT student membership in order to study this qualification, sit assessments and access study support resources to help you succeed. Read about the benefits of student membership.

  • £155 for UK students
  • £145 for international students

These are paid to AAT. The fees cover:

  • AAT admission fee
  • AAT annual student membership fee.
Check what funding options are available
Check what funding options are available

You may be eligible for support from your employer or other bodies.

Download all AAT fees
Download all AAT fees

Here's a list of all qualification-related fees in PDF.

Entry requirements

Students can start with any qualification depending on existing skills and experience. For the best chance of success we recommend that students begin their studies with a good standard of English and maths.

Already got some accounting experience? Test your knowledge with AAT Skillcheck to find out the best qualification to start with.


Those who can provide evidence of gaining a previous, relevant qualification from an external awarding body may not have to sit all AAT assessments.

We believe that if you've already studied qualification units featuring the same content, you shouldn't need to duplicate work. This means students can fast track onto the most appropriate AAT qualification.

Students may be eligible for exemptions if they have:

  • previous finance or accounting qualifications
  • an accounting or finance degree.
I always had a passion for accounting and AAT helped nurture me into becoming a professional accountant.
Keneilwe Moshokgo, AAT student

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