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What are the AAT levels equivalent to?

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AAT is a great place to start if you’re interested in accounting and finance. But what is it actually equivalent to compared to other qualifications? Here we explain the comparisons to give you a better idea.

Please note, that this is just an approximate idea of the levels and not an exact equivalence.

Firstly - what is AAT?

AAT stands for Association of Accounting Technicians and is a leading accounting body for accounting professionals. The AAT qualification is the start of an accountancy career for anyone without any previous experience.

It’s made up of three levels - Foundation, Advanced and Professional. Each level takes around a year to complete.

Foundation - Level 2

The Foundation Certificate in Accounting is equivalent to GCSE level of study. It covers the basic principles of accountancy, and is your starting point if you’ve never studied accountancy before.

You’ll learn the basic principles of accountancy, such as double-entry bookkeeping, costing and preparing financial statements, as well as how to use accountancy software. Most people complete this level within six to 12 months.

You don’t need any prior experience to study AAT Foundation - but you do need good maths, IT and English skills. AAT has a skillcheck test you can do to see which level of AAT to start at.

Advanced - Level 3

The Advanced Diploma in Accounting is roughly equivalent to A Level study. It builds on the knowledge gained in the Foundation level. If you work in accounts or have studied accountancy before, you may be able to start at this level, instead of doing Foundation first.

You’ll learn about complex accounting techniques, and master a number of accounting disciplines. These will include financial processes, advanced bookkeeping, final accounts and ethical practices for accountants. Most people complete this level within six to 12 months.

You will need to have passed AAT Foundation or you may be exempt from Foundation if you have relevant work experience, or A Levels. Again, you can take the AAT skillcheck test to see which level to start at.

Professional - Level 4

The Professional Diploma in Accounting is equivalent to an HNC level qualification, or the first year of a university degree. It is the final AAT level, teaching you more complex accounting theory, and lets you choose two specialist subjects.

You’ll learn about budgeting, management accounting, preparing financial statements, accounting systems, and tax. Most people can complete this level in 12 to 18 months.

You can only do Professional if you have passed the Advanced level. If you have a university degree in accountancy, or related, it may be more appropriate to try ACCA, CIMA, or ACA.

Interested in AAT?

If you think that AAT might be the qualification for you, check out our AAT pages for more information, including our range of different study methods to choose from.

Relevant sources:
https://www.osbornetraining.org/aat-qualification-faq
https://www.lsbf.org.uk/blog/online-learning/what-is-aat-and-what-their-levels-are-equivalent-to