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AAT Q2022 syllabus update

On 1 February 2022, the AAT will be launching their new bookkeeping and accounting qualification, Q2022. Periodically, the AAT updates their qualification to reflect the current and future business environment, the needs of employers and the industry. This ensures that you are prepared for these changes and the impact it has on accountancy.

What has changed?

The AAT has spent a considerable amount of time designing Q2022 so that it meets the needs of students. They have also ensured that it is future proof for the evolving environment we work and live in. More importantly it prepares Accounting Technicians for the skills that are required within the workplace.

  • The AAT has introduced four key themes into Q2022 which runs through the three qualification levels: Technology, Ethics, Sustainability and Communication
  • The AAT has also removed repetition of syllabus content which existed within a number of units under AQ16. As a result these units have now been combined.
  • The good news is that you have fewer assessments to complete in order to achieve the AAT Qualification:




Qualification Level Number of Assessments Qualification Level Number of Assessments
Level 2 5 Level 2 4
Level 3 5 Level 3 4
Level 4 6 Level 4 5
  • The Level 3 and Level 4 synoptic assessments (ADSY and PDSY) have been removed from the qualification, however these units still form part of the End Point Assessment (EPA). Therefore Level 3 and Level 4 Apprenticeship students will still need to complete these units as part of their EPA.
  • Level 2 apprenticeship students are still required to complete the Intray assessment as part of their EPA.
  • Apprenticeship students will not be required to learn any new syllabus content for their synoptic assessments as the content is being examined within the other units.
  • You will no longer be required to pay an annual subscription fee. Instead when you start to study Q2022, you will need to pay a one-off fee for the qualification level. This will then give you lifetime access, which is normally four to five years.
  • The Level 2 and Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping assessments will also start to be graded (Pass, Merit and Distinction) under Q2022.
  • The Foundation Award in Accounting Software qualification is being completely withdrawn, there will be no equivalent replacement.

When do the changes take effect?

event31st January 2022

Last day you can register for AQ16

event 1st February 2022

First day you can register for Q2022

event30th June 2023

Last day you can sit AQ16 Assessments

Syllabus changes

  • Level 2 Certificate in Accounting keyboard_arrow_up keyboard_arrow_down

    Introduction to Bookkeeping (ITBK) and Principles of Bookkeeping Controls (PCBO)

    • No significant changes to the AQ16 BTRN and BKCL units
    • On completion of these units, you will have knowledge and understanding of both manual and digital bookkeeping.

    Principles of Costing (PCTN)

    Additional content has been introduced:

    • Introduction of Spreadsheet skills
    • Underpinning knowledge required as to how costs change at different level of outputs
    • Budgets and analysis of variances

    The Business Environment (BESY)

    • This is a new unit that has been introduced and is the only synoptic unit which you have to complete at Level 2.
    • It introduces professional ethics and looks at both internal and external business environments.
    • Working Effectively in Finance continues to be assessed under this unit.

    Using Accounting Software (UACS)

    This unit has been removed entirely from this level as an assessment.

  • Level 3 Diploma in Accounting keyboard_arrow_up keyboard_arrow_down

    Financial Accounting: Preparing Financial Statements (FAPS)

    • This unit is a combination of two AQ16 units: Advanced Bookkeeping (AVBK) and Final Accounts Preparation (FAPR).
    • Content is largely unchanged but changes in partnerships and funding of investments in non-current assets have been removed.
    • However, you will be expected to interpret financial statements using profitability ratios.

    Management Accounting Techniques (MATS)

    • Includes spreadsheet techniques - you will need to demonstrate similar skills as those tested under AQ16 SPSH.
    • Removal of LIFO, process costing (though accounting for waste remains), just-in-time, long-term investment appraisal and limiting factor decision making.
    • You will also need to understand the principles of cash management.

    Tax processes for Business (TPFB)

    • This assessment will be based on FA2021
    • You will also need to understand the principles of payroll.

    Business Awareness (BUAW)

    • This is a new unit which has been introduced to Level 3.
    • New content includes:
      • analysing the external environment using the PESTLE model
      • micro-economic environment
      • Importance of sustainability
      • Impact of technology and data within an organisation
      • Communication to relevant stakeholders
    • You will also be assessed on Ethics for Accountant and Law from AQ16 content.
  • Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting keyboard_arrow_up keyboard_arrow_down


    Applied Management Accounting (AMAC)

    • This unit combines Management Accounting: Budgeting (MABU) and Management Accounting: Decision and Control (MDCL)
    • Focuses on three fundamental areas of management accounting: planning, decision-making and control
    • Removal of backward variances
    • You will also need to show understanding of Investment Appraisals.

    Drafting and interpreting Financial Statements (DAIF)

    • Content remains the same as AQ16, apart from minor word changes

    Internal Accounting Systems and Controls (INAC)

    • This unit was assessed within the AQ16 PDSY unit
    • No major changes to the syllabus content although you will need to understand the impact of technology on accounting systems.


    Business Tax (BNTA)

    • Duplication with Personal Tax has been removed
    • Reference material has been updated to remove IR35 and Research and Development as they are no longer examined
    • You will now be assessed on ‘Understanding the tax implications of business disposal’. This has been introduced to incorporate the Q2022 new themes.

    Personal Tax (PNTA)

    • Duplication with Business Tax has been removed
    • Calculations for Inheritance Tax (IHT) have been removed. You are now only required to have an understanding of IHT
    • Capital Gains Tax - some reliefs have been introduced.

    Audit and Assurance

    • More focus on Internal Audit and internal processes as less businesses require external audits
    • You are now being assessed on corporate governance and the role of the audit committee.

    Cash and Financial Management

    • More focus on managing finance and liquidity
    • Less focus on treasury management

    Credit and Debt Management

    • Content remains more or less the same as AQ16


What does this mean for me, as a student?

The key message from the AAT and Kaplan is that for now, you should continue and complete your current level on the AQ16 version. You have until June 2023 to complete the qualification level.

If you are midway through your AQ16 level studies when Q2022 is launched, you can transfer over to the new qualification.

However, due to content changes with the qualification, there is no direct transfer between AQ16 and A2022. We recommend that you refer to transition rules to fully understand the implications involved if you do decide to transfer midway through your qualification level.

What does it mean for me, as an employer of AAT students?

The key message from the AAT and Kaplan at this early stage, students should continue and complete their current level on the AQ16 version. For example, if your employee is midway through their AQ16 Level 2 when Q2022 is launched, they should complete Level 2 via AQ16 and progress onto Q2022 for Level 3.

Students will have until June 2023 to complete their level, and Kaplan will continue to support your students so that they can successfully achieve the level and progress onto the next level.

What if I am an apprentice student?

The advice is the same, from Kaplan and AAT: you should complete the level you're on with AQ16, and then when you progress to the next level apprenticeship (if that's after February 2022) you would move onto the new Q2022.

It is possible to transfer whilst midway through a level, but we don't advise this because only a maximum mark of 70% from AQ16 is transferable to Q2022. However, should you still wish to pursue transition arrangements, please see the transfer information below. And if you need more advice, contact our Student Services team. You must also notify your Talent Coach if you are intending to switch to the new Q2022.

What does it mean for my apprentices?

We encourage you, as the employer, to discuss the syllabus change with our client services team, so that you know what the new syllabus will entail from February 2022. But there's no need for you to hold back on commencing apprentices on AQ16 in the months before February 2022. We advise students to complete the level before taking up Q2022 on their next level.

There may also be differences in membership fees for some levels, which have yet to be confirmed by AAT.

What are the transition rules?

Whilst it's not our, nor the AAT's, recommended course of action, students are able to transfer whilst they are part way through their AQ16 qualification level over to Q2022. However, it's important that you are aware of the following:

  • Not all units are transferable so despite successfully completing them you will simply lose them once you have transferred over e.g. UACS and FSYA do not have equivalents in the new Q2022
  • Of those units that are transferable to Q2022, the maximum mark you will be awarded is 70%. For individuals aiming for a distinction under Q2022, this is not ideal as you would need to sit the equivalent unit to gain the higher mark.
  • The AAT student annual membership will no longer exist under Q2022 as you will need to pay a one off up front fee for each level. There is no dispensation for students who transfer over from AQ16 whilst mid way through their annual membership.

Kaplan is here to support you regardless of the decision you make, and we are more than happy to discuss the various options available to you to help you make the right decision for you. Contact Student Services for advice and your options going forward.

What will happen to my AAT membership?

If your annual membership is due whilst studying your AQ16 qualification, you will need to renew it in the normal way. Otherwise you risk your membership lapsing and you won't be able to sit your exams.

When you start a new level on the 2022 qualification, you will find annual membership no longer exists. Instead, there will be an upfront fee for each specific level which gives you membership for the duration whilst studying for that level. The AAT are still to confirm what the fees will be for each level. Assessment fees will still apply for each exam.