Things You Need to Know About the AAT Syllabus in 2020

"A guide to AAT accounting qualification syllabus for year 2020. What you need to know about AAT and assessments, synoptic and results. Job role and salary scales."


AAT Syllabus in 2020

AAT (The Association of Accounting Technicians), UK's leading professional body offering skills-based accountancy and qualification

If you're just starting your accountancy career or want to develop your skills, AAT qualification will help you to reach your goals.

To get AAT qualified, you can choose to study online rather than the classroom to give you more flexibility to fit studies into your life than ever.

If you are considering to study AAT, you will probably have lots of questions before you make your decision. So we put together all your issues in a guide to know everything you need to know about studying AAT in 2020.

Which AAT courses can I study?

AAT offers many courses in accounting and bookkeeping across three levels - Foundation (Level 2), Advanced (Level 3) and Professional (Level 4). The route you will be studying depends on your current accountancy knowledge and skills.

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

Award in Accounting Software

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

If you are looking to get to grips with accounting software and don't want any other accounting training, then AAT qualification is perfect for you

AAT Foundation Certificate

Level 2 qualification gives you an introduction to accounting practices, including basic knowledge of accounting such as bookkeeping, double-entry, and costing

Have no previous experience in accounting or finance and looking to get your first role in the industry

You will study 5 units and have five exams which you will sit at the AAT approved exam centre

Advanced Diploma in Accounting

Level 3 qualification is best suited to those who already have completed the Foundation Certificate (Level 2) or have some practical experience in accountancy, and have a strong understanding of bookkeeping and double-entry system.

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

You will study 6 units covering sophisticated accounting practices, including advanced bookkeeping, final accounts, and ethics for accountants, and sit five exams at the AAT approved exam centre.

Upon completion of the course, you will a fully qualified bookkeeper, can apply for AAT bookkeeping membership.

Professional Diploma in Accounting

Level 4 qualification is the highest level of AAT. Only a few people choose AAT studies as you need to be more comfortable and knowledgeable with everything that covered in the Foundation Certificate and the Advanced Diploma.

The course you want to study if you plan on taking on a senior accounting role, setting up your accountancy practice, or want a fast-tracking qualification to become a Chartered Accountant

You will study 4 core units, including management accounting and financial statements, then choose two voluntary groups from the selection, which includes credit management and business tax. Once completed, all the units you will assess via exams which must be sitting at AAT approved exam centre.

After finishing your course, you'll automatically become an affiliate member of AAT. You can apply for a full AAT membership (MAAT) or AAT Fellowship (FMAAT) once you build the required work experience

AAT Foundation Certificate & Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping 

AAT also offers two bookkeeping qualifications if you are looking to develop a particular skill in bookkeeping. 

Still unsure about which AAT course is right for you, why not try the AAT Skillcheck test

It's an online multiple-choice test only takes about 30 minutes to complete and gives your results instantly



Can I study AAT at any age?

If your age is 19 or over you can review our AAT qualification, but there's no age limit, it's never too late to make the change. If you are dreaming a career in accounting and finance 

About AAT exams?

At each level of AAT, you will have a set number of computer-based exams in the form of the units and synoptic assessment.

Units assessment test you what you learned in that specific unit. They are mostly multiple-choice questions but sometimes require the written answers.

Synoptic Assessment

Test what you learned across several of the groups. 

You must complete all the individual units before you sit your synoptic exam.

Here is a breakdown of each unit how to assessed

Foundation Certificate in Accounting exams:

Foundation Certificate based on 4 unit assessments and one synoptic. 

Unit assessments:

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

Units covered in the synoptic:

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

Advanced Diploma in Accounting exams:

The Advanced Diploma consists of 4 unit assessments and synoptic

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 three mandatory unit assessments, 2 unit assessments for elective units and synoptic 

Mandatory unit assessments:

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

Units for elective choices:

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

Units covered in the synoptic: 

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

When and where I can sit my AAT exams?

You will sit your AAT exams at an AAT-approved exam centre. You will take a unit assessment once you've finished studying each unit; at the end of your qualification when you feel you prepared then, you will sit your synoptic exam.

If you are studying AAT in a classroom setting, you'll set your review at the learning centre. If you are studying AAT online, you have to find the nearest exam centre using the search tool

For each Level of AAT synoptic exam, you can sit your exams in specific times of the year, this known as 'synoptic windows', you can find the timetable for synoptic review 2020 here

Unit assessment exams scheduled frequently - Contact your nearest AAT exam centre to find out their timing. 


Cost for AAT exams

You expected to pay between £70 and £80 for each AAT exam depending on which qualification you are studying.

AAT exam fee is an additional cost on top of your course fee; some course providers may include them in your course fee, so be sure to check this when you enrol

AAT grade boundaries

Your final result graded as Pass, Merit and, Distinction. The AAT grade boundaries are:

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

Can I resit my AAT assessments?

Yes, you are entitled to resit the assessment you fail.

However, some restrictions apply to resits your exam that can take per year.

If you are age between 16 to 19, and you are not an apprentice, live in England and Wales, you'll only have two attempts to pass each assessment for Foundation and Advanced level.

Can I become a member of AAT?

Of course! Studying AAT qualifications and sit your exams, you need to join AAT student membership. You'll also access to the additional AAT resources and support to help your studies for preparing your exams.

Once you complete the Professional Diploma, you will automatically become an affiliate member of AAT which grants you access to advise and support from AAT, technical resources and, exclusive discounts.

If you already gained some work experience in accounting/finance and also have completed the Professional Diploma, so you can apply for full membership of AAT (MAAT). Allows using these designatory letters MAAT after your name on your CV, business cards, emails and messages.

Your next step is to progress your membership to fellow membership (FMAAT), the highest level of the group. AAT offers you and allows you to upgrade the designatory letters to FMAAT. You are eligible to apply for fellow membership when you have been a full member for five years or more. 

Jobs can I do after completing AAT 

Studying AAT qualification will help you to begin or accelerate your accountancy career. Each level of AAT prepares you for the next stage of development.

Here is a quick guide that each level can take you and the jobs you can apply for at each level of AAT:

Jobs after AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting

Studying the AAT Foundation Certificate will enable you to begin your finance career and use for entry-level roles such as:

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

Jobs after AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting

AAT Advance diploma prepares you to make the jump to a wide variety of more advanced roles such as:

  • Accounts Assistant
  • Accounts Payable and Expenses Supervisor
  • Accounts Payable Clerk
  • Assistant Accountant
  • Audit Trainee
  • Bookkeeper
  • Credit Controller
  • Finance Assistant
  • Payroll Administrator
  • Payroll Supervisor
  • Practice Bookkeeper
  • Tax Assistant
AAT Syllabus in 2020

Jobs after AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting

After studying this course, you can set up your 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
  • Accounts Payable and Expenses Supervisor
  • Assistant Financial Accountant
  • Senior Bookkeeper
  • Senior Insolvency Administrator
  • Tax Supervisor
  • VAT Accountant


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

With so many career routes available, AAT is the ideal way to launch your lucrative finance career.