Bookkeeping qualifications

AAT Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping

Level 3

Learn enhanced skills and expertise in bookkeeping activities, critical for the smooth and efficient running of all finance departments.

What it covers

This qualification will develop complex skills and knowledge necessary to work in a bookkeeping role or to progress to higher level accountancy roles or study. Students completing this qualification will become competent in financial processes including accounting principles and concepts, advanced bookkeeping and preparing financial statements. They will also be introduced to business issues regarding payroll and value added tax (VAT), including an understanding of the documents and reports produced on payroll software, timescales for submissions and payments.


Financial Accounting: Preparing Financial Statements

This unit provides students with the skills required to produce statements of profit or loss and statements for financial position for sole traders and partnerships, using a trial balance. Students will gain the double-entry bookkeeping skills needed to record financial transactions into an organisation's accounts using a manual bookkeeping system.

Percentage contribution of this unit to the overall qualification grade: 70%.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the accounting principles underlaying final accounts preparation.
  • Understand the principles of advanced double-entry bookkeeping.
  • Implement procedures for the acquisition and disposal of non-current assets.
  • Prepare and record depreciation calculations.
  • Record period end adjustments.
  • Produce and extend the trial balance.
  • Produce financial statements for sole traders and partnerships.
  • Interpret financial statements using profitability ratios.
  • Prepare accounting records from incomplete information.

Tax Processes for Businesses

This unit explores tax processes that influence the daily operations of businesses and is designed to develop students' skills in understanding, preparing and submitting Value Added Tax (VAT) returns to HM Revenue & Customs. The unit provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to keep businesses, employers and clients compliant with laws and practices that apply to VAT and payroll.

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

Learning outcomes

  • Understand legislation requirements relating to VAT.
  • Calculate VAT.
  • Review and verify VAT returns.
  • Understand principals of payroll.
  • Report information within the organisation.

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 6–12 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 bookkeeping membership

If you successfully complete this qualification you can apply to become an AAT bookkeeping member (AATQB), and if you're thinking of starting your own practice you'll be able to apply to become an AAT Licensed 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 £213. This fee is made up of:

  • a one-off registration fee of £91, 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
  • two unit assessments, both priced at £61.

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. 

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 you the opportunity to change your life and unlock your potential with our AAT Bursary.

Check if you are eligible

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.
AAT was the best starting point for my career as it's a strongly viewed qualification that can lead to higher levels. Every unit I study has helped me to understand my practice, work better and support my clients more effectively.
Craig Dyer AATQB, AAT Licensed Bookkeeper

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