Accounting qualifications

AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting

SCQF Level 8 in Scotland

Level 4

Study this qualification to master complex accounting tasks and qualify for senior finance roles, as well as AAT full membership.

What it covers

This qualification covers complex accounting and finance topics and tasks leading to students becoming confident with a wide range of financial management skills and applications. Students will gain competencies in drafting financial statements for limited companies, recommending accounting systems strategies and constructing and presenting complex management accounting reports.


Applied Management Accounting (mandatory)

This unit allows students to understand how the budgetary process is undertaken. Students will be able to construct budgets and then identify and report on both areas of success and on areas that should be of concern to key stakeholders. Students will also gain the skills required to critically evaluate organisational performance.

Percentage contribution of this unit to the overall qualification grade: 30%.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand and implement the organisational planning process.
  • Use internal processes to enhance operational control.
  • Use techniques to aid short-term and long-term decision making.
  • Analyse and report on business performance.

Drafting and Interpreting Financial Statements (mandatory)

This unit provides students with the skills and knowledge for drafting the financial statements of single limited companies and consolidated financial statements for groups of companies. It ensures that students will have a proficient level of knowledge and understanding of international accounting standards, which will then be applied when drafting the financial statements. Students will also have a sound appreciation of the regulatory and conceptual frameworks that underpin the preparation of limited company financial statements.

Percentage contribution of this unit to the overall qualification grade: 20%.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the reporting frameworks that underpin financial reporting.
  • Draft statutory financial statements for limited companies.
  • Draft consolidated financial statements.
  • Interpret financial statements using ratio analysis.

Internal Accounting Systems and Controls (mandatory)

This unit teaches students to consider the role and responsibilities of the accounting function, including the needs of key stakeholders who use financial reports to make decisions. Students will review accounting systems to identify weaknesses and will make recommendations to mitigate identified weaknesses in future operations. Students will apply several analytical methods to evaluate the implications of any changes to operating procedures.

Percentage contribution of this unit to the overall qualification grade: 20%.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the role and responsibilities of the accounting function within an organisation.
  • Evaluate internal control systems.
  • Evaluate an organisation’s accounting system and underpinning procedures.
  • Understand the impact of technology on accounting systems.
  • Recommend improvements to an organisation’s accounting systems.

Business Tax (optional)

This unit introduces students to UK taxation relevant to businesses. Students will understand how to compute business taxes for sole traders, partnerships and limited companies. They will also be able to identify tax planning opportunities while understanding the importance of maintaining ethical standards.

Percentage contribution of this unit to the overall qualification grade: 15%.

Learning outcomes

  • Prepare tax computations for sole traders and partnerships.
  • Prepare tax computations for limited companies.
  • Prepare tax computations for the sale of capital assets by limited companies.
  • Understand administrative requirements of the UK's tax regime.
  • Understand the tax implications of business disposals.
  • Understand tax relief, tax planning opportunities and agent’s responsibilities in reporting taxation to HM Revenue & Customs.

Personal Tax (optional)

This unit provides students with the fundamental knowledge of the three most common taxes that affect taxpayers in the UK: Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax. With this knowledge students will be equipped to not only prepare the computational aspects of taxes, where appropriate, but also appreciate how taxpayers can legally minimise their overall taxation liability.

Percentage contribution of this unit to the overall qualification grade: 15%.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand principles and rules that underpin taxation systems.
  • Calculate UK taxpayers' total income.
  • Calculate Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) payable by UK taxpayers.
  • Calculate Capital Gains Tax payable by UK taxpayers.
  • Understand the principles of Inheritance Tax.

Audit and Assurance (optional)

This unit aims to give a wider understanding of the principles and concepts, including legal and professional rules of audit and assurance services. The unit will provide students with an awareness of the audit process from planning and risk assessment to the final completion and production of the audit report. Students will also get a practical perspective on audit and assurance, with an emphasis on the application of audit and assurance techniques to current systems.

Percentage contribution of this unit to the overall qualification grade: 15%.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the audit and assurance framework.
  • Demonstrate the importance of professional ethics.
  • Evaluate the planning process for audit and assurance.
  • Review and report findings.

Cash and Financial Management (optional)

This unit focuses on the important of managing cash within organisations and covers the knowledge and skills to make informed decision on financing and investment in accordance with organisational policies and external regulations. Students will identify current and future cash transactions from a range of sources, learn how to eliminate non-cash items and use various techniques to prepare cash budgets.

Percentage contribution of this unit to the overall qualification grade: 15%.

Learning outcomes

  • Prepare forecasts for cash receipts and payments.
  • Prepare cash budgets and monitor cash flows.
  • Understand the importance of managing finance and liquidity.
  • Understand the way of raising finance and investing funds.
  • Understand regulations and organisational policies that influence decisions in managing cash and finance.

Credit and Debt Management (optional)

This unit provides an understanding and application of the principles of effective credit control systems, including appropriate debt management systems. Students will be introduced to techniques that can be used to assess credit risks in line with policies, relevant legislation and ethical principles.

Percentage contribution of this unit to the overall qualification grade: 15%.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand relevant legislation and contract law that impacts the credit control environment.
  • Understand how information is used to assess credit risk and grant credit in compliance with organisational policies and procedures.
  • Understand the organisation's credit control processes for managing and collecting debts.
  • Understand different techniques available to collect debts.

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

The qualification usually takes around 12–18 months to complete, but this will depend on study method and course timetable.

Read the AAT career guide
Read the AAT career guide

Find out where an AAT qualification 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.

Achieve AAT full membership

If you successfully complete this qualification you can apply for AAT full membership (MAAT), and if you're thinking of starting your own practice you'll be able to apply to become an AAT Licensed Accountant or Bookkeeper.

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 is £564. This fee is made up of:

  • a one-off registration fee of £244, paid directly to AAT. This registration fee will give you access to the qualification for its lifetime, typically four to five years, and access to the study support resources, and enable you to sit the qualification assessments
  • five unit assessments (three mandatory and two optional from a selection of five), all priced at £64 each.

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. 

Reduced registration fee for AAT bookkeeping members

If you're already an AAT bookkeeping member (AATQB) you'll pay a reduced registration fee of £112. Make sure you're logged in and the discount will be automatically applied when you add the qualification to your basket.

Your unit assessments will still cost £64 each.

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.

AAT Bursary

AAT Bursary

We're delighted to be able to offer a bursary to financially disadvantaged people, giving them the opportunity to change their lives with an AAT qualification.

Applications open in June 2024.

Check if you're eligible and register your interest.

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.
Being a professional member demonstrates to myself an achievement and demonstrates to others my competence and professionalism. My AAT qualification gave me a good foundation of knowledge to do the job and the recognition has opened doors for me.

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