Careers Opportunities in Accountancy | Development Advice Guidance - Information & News From Your Career Guide

AAT Accounting Qualification

AAT is the UKís leading qualification and professional membership body for accounting staff with over 120,000 members worldwide. 

If you are looking for a career in finance then the AAT could be for you.  Maybe youíre already working in finance but without a qualification and want to build your skills, or thinking of changing careers or returning to work after a break.

The AAT can help to progress your career, over 70% of our members agree that an AAT qualification has increased their earning potential.

For instance, a school leaver could become a chartered accountant more quickly than someone who went to university because they can benefit from granted exemptions from the chartered bodies such as CIPFA, ICAEW, CIMA and ICAS. You donít need prior formal qualifications, but if you have relevant school qualifications, a degree or some accounting experience, you might be able to start at a higher level and progress through the qualification faster.

AAT courses are designed to be flexible and fit around your life and work commitments. You can study full/part-time or from home, work while you study and fast-track to chartered accountancy.

Our course is delivered through more than 450 AAT approved training providers.  To find one in your area and register as a student member visit

We also have an extensive branch network where members can access support and personal development opportunities, and meet other AAT members in their local area.

Our qualifications

Our vocational qualifications are designed to give our students practical accounting skills that can be used instantly in the workplace. Many employers prefer to recruit AAT trained staff and some employers also support their staff through the AAT qualification.

We assess understanding and ability through a combination of computer based tests and projects.  Our qualifications include:

       AAT Access Ė Level 1

       The AAT Accounting Qualification Ė Level 2, 3 and 4

Case studies to highlight the alternative options to university

Arman Ali Hussain, 17, Scotland

Trainee Accountant at Milne Craig Chartered Accountants


I left school when I was 16 and knew I wanted to work in accountancy. I was fortunate enough to have won an apprenticeship at Milne Craig Chartered Accountants and it was on my apprenticeship that I was introduced to the AAT qualification. 


Iíve been working for 10 months now and my training is completely funded by my employer. I donít think that university would have allowed me to get where I am today. I feel Iím far ahead of my friends that are graduates. They may be studying but they lack actual work experience. I know that the route Iíve chosen will allow me to progress up the career ladder much faster and give me the opportunity to be promoted quicker. 

Rebecca Williams, 21, Liverpool

Trainee Business Adviser, PKF Accountants & Business Advisers


I joined the Royal Navy after completing my A-levels, but after 6 months I decided it wasnít for me. I started looking into new career options and while researching the options I came across the AAT route.


I was lucky enough to get a position at PKFís Liverpool office with AAT. PKF is very supportive and I would definitely recommend this route to anyone looking for a career in accountancy. There is good career progression and lots of support during the studying. Because PKF is a mid-tier firm, there is also the benefit of exposure and support from many different service and sector lines.



Joshua Precious, 19,Hull

Trainee Accountant, Baker Tilly UK Audit LLP


Iíve been a Trainee Accountant at Baker Tilly accountancy firm for over a year now and I feel Iíve learnt so much within that year. I feel Iíve gained so much more by training and working at the same time, getting invaluable experience of being part of the finance team and being in an office environment. 


Based on my experience, Iíd encourage school leavers to explore the various opportunities into their chosen careers. Competition for jobs is so rife that if school leavers get the chance to work and train at the same time, they should jump at the chance. 

Some other useful links:

AAT recruitment site:

AAT members case studies: