AAT Qualification Levels | AAT Levels Explained

KBM Training & Recruitment Ltd. (KBM) is a specialist training provider in the field of accounting and finance. KBM has accreditation from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) for the delivery of AAT Courses.

KBM is happy to answer your questions; "Which AAT Level can I study? There are different AAT Levels, Foundation Certificate Level 2, Advanced Diploma Level 3 and Professional Diploma Level 4.

Following points will help you to answer the majority of the questions you have in your mind for AAT Levels.

  • What is the AAT?
  • What is AAT Level's Syllabus?
  • How AAT Assessments take place?
  • Information on the Marking
  • Information on Results
  • Information on the Grading

What is the AAT?

AAT operates internationally with around 150,000 members worldwide in over 90 nations. AAT qualified accountants are instrumental to every gradation of the funding and accounting world, including students, individuals previously working in accountancy and those who are independently self-employed.

AAT certified individuals are focused, centred, accounting experts. These skilled individuals are senior and all around experienced in situations with a vast amount of businesses –from large well-recognised companies to open division foundations.

AAT qualification is recognised as a professional accounting certification universally. They employ AAT qualified individuals for their insight, abilities, determination and energy because AAT is a popular method to attaining a professional qualification, which has respect at higher levels.

What is AAT Level's Syllabus?

1. AAT Level 2

AAT Level 2 includes a scope of establishment accounting and fund aptitudes in five compulsory units:

  • Bookkeeping Transactions
  • Bookkeeping Controls
  • Elements of Costing
  • Using Accounting Software
  • Work Effectively in Finance

As an AAT Qualified individual, you will be able to progress into a career in many industries such as business, finance or expert accountancy, or even into future education.

All five units within the course are compulsory: AAT asses four of the five Units individually in end-of-unit assessments, and this course also includes a synoptic assessment that students sit towards the end of the course. The synoptic assessment reflects and assesses knowledge gained from the qualification.

Any student who completes this qualification will develop accountancy skills in double-entry bookkeeping and basic costing, as well as learning of purchase, sales and general ledgers. Students will adopt skills to use accounting software effectively and to develop professional skills. It also strengthens the behaviours needed to contribute effectively to the workplace. Working in accounting requires excellent communication skills, IT skills and learning of the business environment, all of which are completed by this qualification.

Progression Opportunities after AAT Level 2 Qualification

Studying this course will develop expertise and enabling students to seek employment opportunities with confidence and to progress to the next level of learning accountancy.

The qualification will create skills in double-entry bookkeeping and will learn how to utilise control accounts journals and a trial balance. Students will also learn how to use the accounting software package, how to process financial information according to company regulations and schedules, and how to provide information to colleagues, suppliers and customers as needed. The finance, accountancy, business and communications skills acquired during AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting can lead to possible employment avenues like:

  • Accounts Assistant
  • Accounting Administrator
  • Account Payable Clerk
  • Purchase/Sales Ledger Clerk
  • Trainee Finance Assistant
  • Trainee Accounting Technician

2. AAT Level 3

AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting completes a broad range of complex accounting processes, including maintenance of cost accounting statements and preparation of reports and returns. It comprises of six compulsory units:

  • Advanced Bookkeeping
  • Final Accounts Preparation
  • Management Accounting
  • Costing
  • Indirect Tax
  • Ethics for Accountants
  • Spreadsheets for Accounting

This qualification is to assure that students are well prepared to progress into a career in the trade, finance and professional accountancy industries, and can even enter further education. The students will study and will have a master level skills on financial processes, including advanced bookkeeping & final accounts; accounting rules and concepts. They will also get knowledge of business issues on value-added tax (VAT), problems in business, management accounting techniques and ethical practices for accountants. This course will further provide software capabilities through spreadsheet training.

All the units of this course are compulsory; four of the Units assessment is on an individual basis at the end of of-unit assessments. This qualification also comprises of a synoptic assessment that students sit towards the end of the course, which reflects and assesses information and understanding learnt from the course.

Progression Opportunities AAT Level 3 Qualification

The accounting skills developed through this qualification will make a student to seek a job with full confidence and to pursue the next level of learning in accounting. Students will develop skills including the expertise of complex financial concepts, like final accounts, reports and returns, spreadsheet utilisation, VAT returns and professional ethics. Students need to identify and use relevant understanding, methods, knowledge and skills to complete tasks and solve problems that are well defined but complex. They will be required to take the role for initiating and completing tasks and procedures, as well as exercising autonomy and judgement on short parameters like awareness of various perspectives or approaches within an area of work or study. This qualification will develop skills to make student competent and capable to take job role as:

  • Accounts Assistant
  • Accounts Payable Assistant
  • Expenses Supervisor
  • Account Payable Clerk
  • Audit Trainee
  • Finance assistant
  • Credit Controller

3. AAT Level 4

The AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting contains high-level accounting and finance topics and duties. It will make students comfortable with a broad range of financial management capabilities and applications, and achieve competencies in drafting financial reports for limited companies, recommendation on accounting strategy, and building and presenting complex management reports. Students will develop their knowledge and skills regarding specialist fields like taxation, auditing, credit management, treasury management and cash management.

This qualification has four mandatory units and two specialist units from a choice of five options. The compulsory units are:

  • Management Accounting; Budgeting
  • Management Accounting; Decision and Control
  • Financial Statements of Limited Companies
  • Accounting Systems and Controls

The optional units are:

  • Business Tax
  • Personal Tax
  • External Auditing
  • Cash and Treasury Management
  • Credit Management.

Employers contribute to the experience and development of AAT qualifications. Practitioners and industry experts will evaluate the real workplace abilities, setting in a real workplace scenario for the students who complete an AAT assessment.

Progression Opportunities after AAT Level 4 Qualification

Once completed this level 4 qualification, students automatically will become AAT affiliate members. The relevant work experience will make them eligible for full AAT membership, which will give them a MAAT title; they can use this tile after their name. The essential and most liked outcome of the AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting is that it will lead to a wide variety of well-paid accounting and finance job roles, some of them include:

  • Assistant Management Accountant
  • Professional Accounting Technician
  • Assistant Auditor
  • Senior Bookkeeper
  • Senior Financial Officer
  • Accounts Payable
  • Payroll Manager
  • Commercial Analyst
  • Expenses Supervisor

How AAT Assessments take place?

Students need to complete the three compulsory units assessments; one synoptic exam along with the unit assessments for the two optional units to complete this course. The proportion of this course assessment through an external examination is 100%. 

All assessments in all the qualifications include:

  • Set and marked by AAT
  • Computer-based
  • Time-limited
  • Training providers or assessment centres will prepare
  • Assessments at at approved venues and centres under a controlled environment.

Regarding the grades, the units and synoptic assessments have no individual grading. Still, the marks obtained in all the Assessments will contribute to the student's overall grades for the qualification.

Information on the Marking

AAT marks all the assessments, which can be:

  • Computerised (completely computer-marked)
  • Mixed marking (half by computer and half by a human)
  • Human marking (entirely by a human)

Computer marking is completed within the assessments software accordingly to objective marking system devised during exam development. AAT select the team of assessors having proper subject matter knowledge who carry out the human marking. Markers use a marking scheme designed during assessments development.

Assessments have proper and quality assurance, including:

  • Sampling for marking consistency
  • Standardisation of markers
  • Review of borderline scripts.

Information on Results

  • Provisional results of the computer-marked exams will be available after the assessment - at the spot.
  • AAT allocate timescales on their website for the Results of reviews which are entirely or partially human-marked 
  • AAT will inform students about what percentage of the marks they achieved in their assessments; they will use the same while assigning their grades for the qualification, e.g. Distinction, Merit or Pass.

The feedback system of the AAT gives a simple brief of students' performance in all the exam. The statement of feedback will confirm their overall mark and includes a breakdown of the mark scheme for the task. The system develops the feedback automatically to help students identify which topics they are confident with and any topic areas requiring further studies. The system will provide students with a short description of each task to explain the performance in that specific task against the topics assessment. It has the five feedback descriptors; each indicates how the student performance was in that work. Students will get general advice on how to complete their studies or continuing professional development (CPD) plans.

Information on the Grading

To achieve the qualification and to obtain a grade, a student should complete all the mandatory unit exams with all the required, optional synoptic assessment and unit exams.

Students completing AAT Accounting courses will receive a grade based on their performance on the course curriculum. Unit assessments and synoptic exams have no individual grading, and the marks will count during the calculation of the overall grade.

AAT will give students an overall course grade (distinction, merit, and pass). Students who do not achieve the Grades will not receive a course certificate and will not be an AAT certified. The grading is indicated below, which is only illustrative. The raw marks will be converted into a percentage mark and rounded up or down to the nearest whole number.

Grade Definition       Percentage Threshold

Distinction                  90-100%

Merit                           80-89%

Pass                             70-79%

Unclassified                0-69%

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