Everything You Need to Know About the AAT Syllabus in 2022



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The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) is the UK’s leading professional body offering globally recognised skills-based accountancy and finance qualifications.

Whether you’re just starting your accountancy career or looking to develop your existing skills, AAT qualifications will help you reach your goals - and guess what? It's now easier than ever to get AAT qualified when you study online as it gives you more flexibility to study on your own time, at your own pace so you can truly shape your studies to fit your life. 

If you’re considering enroling on an AAT course, you’ll probably have lots of questions before you make your decision, so we’ve put together an overview of everything you need to know about the AAT syllabus in 2022 to help you out. 



Important Update! 

Please be aware that as of 1st September 2022, AAT will be launching a brand new qualification that will ultimately change the overall AAT syllabus. We'll provide more information nearer to the date, however, a few things to keep in mind for now include: 

  • Students on the current AQ16 courses will have until 30 September 2023 to complete their exams, and 
  • Any student who does not or cannot complete under AQ16 can transition to the new qualification AQ22, however, there will be a cost involved.

All students to whom the above point relates will be given individual support and advice.

Stay tuned for more details! 



Which AAT courses can I study?

AAT offer a number of courses in accounting and bookkeeping across three levels - Foundation (Level 2), Advanced (Level 3) and Professional (Level 4). Which course you study will depend entirely on your current accountancy skills and knowledge.

Here’s a quick breakdown of AAT's current qualifications:


AAT Foundation Award in Accounting Software

This bite-sized course covers one unit from the comprehensive Foundation Certificate in Accounting and teaches you to perform basic finance and admin duties using accounting software packages.

If you’re just looking to get to grips with accounting software and don’t need any other accounting training, then this is the perfect course for you.

AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting

This is a Level 2 qualification that gives you a thorough introduction to accounting practices including essential knowledge such as double-entry bookkeeping and costing.

It’s ideal if you have no previous accounting or finance experience and are looking to get your first role in the industry.

You’ll study 5 units and have 5 exams which you’ll sit at an approved AAT exam centre.

AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting

This is a Level 3 qualification and is best suited to those who have completed the Foundation Certificate or have significant practical experience in accountancy and a strong understanding of double-entry bookkeeping.

If you’re already working in accountancy and are looking to progress your career to the next stage, then this is the course for you.

You’ll study 6 units covering complex accounting practices including advanced bookkeeping, final accounts, and ethics for accountants, and sit a number of in-person exams at an approved AAT exam centre.

Please also note that the synoptic unit now requires a computer-based exam and a separate spreadsheets assessment that is externally marked by an AAT-appointed marker. 

Upon completion of this course, you’ll be a fully qualified bookkeeper and can apply for AAT associate bookkeeping membership.

AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting

This is a Level 4 qualification and is the highest level of AAT you can study. Very few people begin their AAT studies with this course as you need to be comfortable with everything that is covered in both the Foundation Certificate and the Advanced Diploma.

This is the course you’ll want to study if you plan on taking on a senior accounting role, setting up your own accountancy practice, or fast-tracking your qualification to become a Chartered Accountant. 

You’ll study 4 core units including management accounting and financial statements, then choose 2 optional units from a selection that includes credit management and business tax. Once again all your units will be assessed via exams which must be sat at an AAT approved exam centre.

When you finish your course, you’ll automatically become an affiliate member of AAT and can apply to become a full AAT member (MAAT) or AAT Fellow (FMAAT) once you build up the required work experience. 

AAT also offer five shorter bookkeeping qualifications if you’re looking to develop or master that particular skill, the two most popular being: 

If you’re still unsure which AAT course is right for you, try taking the AAT Skillcheck test
It’s a quick online multiple-choice test that only takes about 30 minutes to complete and will give you the results instantly.




Can I study AAT at any age?

You have to be aged 19 or over to study AAT qualifications with ICS Learn, but there’s no age limit with other organisations so it’s never too early - or too late - to make the change if you dream of a career in accounting and finance.

What are the AAT exams?

At each level of AAT, you’ll have a set number of computer-based exams in the form of both unit and synoptic assessments.

Unit assessments will test what you’ve learned in that specific unit. They’re generally multiple-choice questions but occasionally require written answers. 

Synoptic assessments, on the other hand, test what you’ve learned across several of the units. They allow you to demonstrate your new knowledge and skills by applying them to a real-world accounting scenario.

Keep in mind you must complete all the individual unit assessments before you sit the synoptic exam.

To give you some further insight, here’s a breakdown of how each unit is assessed at each level: 

AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting exams

The Foundation Certificate has 4 unit assessments and 1 synoptic exam.

Unit assessments:

  • Bookkeeping Transactions
  • Bookkeeping Controls
  • Elements of Costing
  • Using Accounting Software

Units covered in the synoptic:

  • Bookkeeping Transactions
  • Bookkeeping Controls
  • Elements of Costing
  • Work Effectively in Finance

AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting exams

The Advanced Diploma has 4 unit assessments and 1 synoptic exam.

Unit assessments:

  • Advanced Bookkeeping
  • Final Accounts Preparation
  • Management Accounting: Costing
  • Indirect Tax

Units covered in the synoptic:

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

AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting exams

The Professional Diploma has 3 mandatory unit assessments, 2 unit assessments for elective units and 1 synoptic exam.

Mandatory unit assessments:

  • Financial Statements of Limited Companies
  • Management Accounting: Budgeting
  • Management Accounting: Decision and Control

Unit assessments for elective choices:

  • Business Tax
  • Personal Tax
  • Credit Management
  • Cash and Treasury Management

Units covered in the synoptic exam:  

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




Where and when can I sit my AAT exams?

You’ll sit your AAT exams at an AAT-approved exam centre. You'll take your unit assessments once you’ve finished studying each unit, and towards the end of your qualification (and once you feel prepared), you’ll sit your synoptic exam.

If you’re studying AAT in a classroom setting, you’ll sit your exam at the college or learning centre where you attend classes. If you’ve chosen to study AAT online, you can find your nearest exam centre using this search tool.

For each AAT Level, there are specific times of the year when you can sit your synoptic exams. These are known as ‘synoptic windows’ and you can find the full timetable for 2022 here.

Unit assessment exams are scheduled more frequently, so you can contact your nearest AAT exam centre to find out their timetable. 

How much do AAT exams cost?

You can expect to pay between £98 and £120 for each AAT exam depending on which qualification you’re studying.

AAT exam fees are often an additional cost on top of your course fees, but some course providers may include them, so be sure to check this when you enrol! 

What are the AAT grade boundaries?

Your final result will be graded as either Pass, Merit, or Distinction. The AAT grade boundaries are as follows:

  • Pass: 70 - 79%
  • Merit: 80 - 89%
  • Distinction: 90 - 100%
  • Fail: Below 70%





Can I resit my AAT assessments if I fail?

Yes, you are entitled to resit any assessment that you fail.

However, there are some restrictions that apply to the number of resits you can take per year if you’re aged 16-19, are not an apprentice, and live in England and Wales. If this applies to you, you’ll only have 2 attempts to pass each assessment at Foundation and Advanced level.

If you feel like you need extra help from your tutor in order to resit, check that you’re still within the support period granted by your course provider - you may have to pay an additional fee to extend it.

Can I become a member of AAT?

Of course! In fact, in order to study AAT accounting qualifications and sit your assessments, you need to join AAT as a student member. You’ll also be able to access additional AAT resources and support to help you with your studies, which can be a huge help when preparing for your exams.

Once you’ve completed the Professional Diploma, you’ll automatically become an affiliate member of AAT which grants you access to advice and support from AAT as well as technical resources and exclusive discounts.

If you’ve already gained work experience in accounting/finance and have completed the Professional Diploma, you apply to become a full member of AAT (MAAT). This allows you to use the designatory letters MAAT after your name on your CV, business cards, emails and letters.

Your next step in progressing your membership would be to apply for fellow membership (FMAAT), which is the highest level of membership AAT offers and allows you to upgrade those designatory letters to FMAAT. You’ll be eligible to apply for fellow membership when you have been a full member for 5 years or more. 




Which jobs can I do after completing an AAT qualification?

Studying AAT qualifications will help you begin or accelerate your accountancy career, as each level prepares you for the next stage of your development.

Here’s a quick guide to where each level can take you and which jobs you'll be able to apply for at each AAT level:

AAT Foundation Certificate
 in Accounting jobs

Studying this course will enable you to begin your finance career and apply for entry-level roles such as:

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

AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting jobs

This course prepares you to make the jump to a wide variety of more advanced roles, including:

  • Accounts Payable & Expenses Supervisor
  • Accounts Payable Clerk
  • Assistant Accountant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Credit Controller
  • Finance Assistant
  • Payroll Administrator
  • Tax Assistant

AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting jobs

After studying this course you can set up your own accountancy practice or apply for senior roles such as:

  • Senior Finance Officer
  • Senior Fund Accountant
  • Commercial Analyst
  • Cost Accountant
  • Fixed Asset Accountant
  • Indirect Tax Manager
  • Payments and Billing Manager
  • Payroll Manager
  • Senior Insolvency Administrator
  • VAT Accountant


After completing the AAT Professional Diploma, you can also fast-track your Chartered Accountancy qualification with all the UK Chartered Accountancy bodies, including:

  • ACCA: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • CIMA: Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
  • CIPFA: Chartered Institute of Public and Finance Accountancy
  • ICAEW: Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  • ICAS: Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

We hope after reading this that you've now learned everything you need to know about the AAT syllabus in 2021. With so many career routes available, AAT is the ideal way to launch your lucrative finance career.

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