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The Top 10 Benefits of AAT Qualifications

If you’re looking to develop your accountancy or bookkeeping career, studying an AAT qualification can really help to set you on the right. 

But this humble qualification has a whole host of benefits that can be easy to overlook. 

Here are the top 10 benefits of AAT qualifications, and why studying for one could really enhance your finance career!

1. AAT give you the essential skills employers want

With a focus on professionalism, common-sense and practical, real-world skills, AAT qualifications are designed in close collaboration with employers to give you the skills that you’ll need the most in your accountancy career. 

Some courses and qualifications can inadvertently focus on things that aren’t really relevant to most finance jobs nowadays, and even worse, not cover things that are relevant. AAT qualifications are focused on teaching you the most practical, relevant and up-to-date skills that you’ll need in a finance career in the 21st century. 

These qualifications are naturally pretty challenging but that’s for a very valid reason – they need you to have the very best skills.  AAT qualifications are widely recognised and respected by employers worldwide because of their focus on equipping professionals with practical skills and knowledge that you’ll actually need on the job.

So, who are AAT and why are they offering qualifications? Well, AAT (the Association of Accounting Technicians) is responsible for regulating and monitoring standards in the accountancy and bookkeeping field, as well as awarding skills-based qualifications.

 It’s a professional membership body based in the UK, with nearly 124,000 members and students in more than 100 countries across the world.

2. They can significantly raise your earnings

AAT qualifications are renowned in the accountancy and bookkeeping world for the quality of skills and knowledge that they give those who study them. Employers want these skills, so it’s natural that they’ll offer better salaries to those people with the qualifications that they’re looking for. As a result, an AAT qualification can significantly raise your earnings compared to if you didn’t have one. 

On average, AAT students have an average salary of around £22,000, whilst full members of AAT have an average salary of about £30,000. 

A female professional sat at a desk reading some work papers and a male professional standing reading some papers

3. They can fast track your progress in other professional bodies

For a lot of accountants and bookkeepers, their eyes are firmly focused on one specific prize: Chartered Status. 

Whilst AAT don’t offer the specific qualifications you need to be awarded Chartered Status, they do have a special partnership with the bodies that can, allowing you to be exempted from having to study specific exams when it comes to gaining your Chartered status. AAT currently has this arrangement with these professional bodies:

This exemption can save you a lot of time and money in practice, so it’s a great benefit of completing your qualifications with AAT!

4. They cover every stage of your career

A really practical benefit of studying with AAT is that they have qualifications for every stage of your accountancy and bookkeeping career, from absolute beginner through to seasoned expert. 

AAT qualifications are available across three different levels: Level 2, 3 and 4.

Level 2 qualifications are aimed at complete beginners starting out in Accountancy and Bookkeeping for the first time. They’re designed to equip you with the basic skills and knowledge that you’d need to net your first role in the field. 

Level 3 qualifications are the next step up. They’re aimed at people with some experience of accountancy or bookkeeping and they’re designed to help you next more intermediate-level positions.

Level 4 qualifications are the highest that you can study with AAT. They’re focused on equipping you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need for senior roles. 

An overhead shot of hands holding a pen and going through a form

5. They’re affordable

It’s right to be conscious of how much a qualification costs and if it’s really going to offer you a return on investment when you consider the benefits that can come with it. When looking at AAT qualifications, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that, on balance, they’re pretty affordable compared to other qualifications in the industry, providing a lot more useful benefits. 

On average, AAT qualifications will usually cost around:

6. They can be completed entirely online

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve probably been living out most of your professional life online, thanks to COVID-19. With lockdowns and restrictions causing most in-person educational settings to close down, there was a scramble to move learning online. Most professional qualifications providers weren’t able to, but that wasn’t the case with AAT. 

Most AAT qualifications can be completely entirely online – all you need is an internet connection and a laptop. As a result, AAT were able to continue to offer their qualifications throughout this entire crisis, providing a welcome chance for people to enhance their professional skills during lockdown!

Online AAT qualifications provide flexibility, and the fact that you can complete them at entirely your own pace, means that you can fit them around other commitments in your life.

7. They’re great for people changing careers

Thanks to the broad range of qualifications on offer, that cover practically all experience levels, and their well-regarded beginner qualifications, AAT qualifications are well-suited to people who are looking to change careers. For example, many AAT qualifications such as the AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting doesn’t actually require any accountancy or bookkeeping experience to study – just a general interest in the subject. This can really help when it comes to gather the knowledge and skills that you’d need to kickstart a career in the accountancy and bookkeeping field. 

A female accountant working at a desk on her laptop

8. You can qualify for membership of AAT

AAT is an internationally-respected professional membership body for the accountancy and bookkeeping field. It’s respected and recognised by employers across the globe, and membership is fairly strict – you have to prove that you have, or you’re working towards, the skills thatAAT expects its members to have. 

Once you’ve completed the AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting, you’ll qualify for full membership of the body, bringing a whole host of benefits. The AAT website lists some of them (helpfully) below:

  •       Use of AAT designatory letters
  •       Access to helplines, like health and safety, employment law, CIPP payroll, ethical advice and insolvency advice
  •       Access to free events and training (CPD webinars and branch events)
  •       Discounted events and training (Mastercourses and conferences)
  •       Access to free technical resources via AAT Knowledge Hub (including tax, financial reporting, management accounting and payroll)
  •       Exclusive discounts through AAT Rewards
  •       Access to Discussion forums
  •       Industry news and updates via AAT News
  •       Exclusive networking events

9. They’re nationally and internationally recognised

AAT qualifications are recognised around the world by employers. Regulated by the UK’s four main qualifications bodies, Ofqual (England), CCEA (Northern Ireland), SQA (Scotland) and Qualifications Wales, AAT qualifications are known for the strength of the skills and experience that they offer, as well as their focus on giving student the practical, relevant knowledge they’ll need to thrive in the workplace. That makes them a popular with employers and candidates a like.

10. It’s cheaper than a university degree

An AAT qualification is significantly cheaper than an accountancy degree if you look at the figures. And that can make all the difference when it comes to choosing where to study.

The average accountancy university degree will set you back, on average around £9,250 in tuition fees. When you add up maintenance loans on top of that, it’s likely that you’d graduate with a significant debt if you study an accountancy degree. An AAT qualification on the other hand, will only usually cost you between £800 to £1,500 – a significant saving.

There’s no guaranteeing that you’d even end up with the skills that employers in the field expect in candidates too, as university degrees can often focus on theory at the expense of building practical, workplace-focused skills.

Build your accountancy career with an AAT qualification

On the other hand, an AAT qualification focuses more on teaching you about the practical skills that you’ll need in the workplace.

AAT qualifications are well worth the initial expense, proving to be a long-term investment that will bring you a range of benefits over your professional career. We hope this blog has got you thinking about that! 

Get your free AAT course guide here and develop your accountancy and bookkeeping career today. 

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