The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) have recently launched a new suite of qualifications called ‘Qualifications 2022’ (Q2022). This is the first substantial change that they have made to their syllabus since 2016, so it’s worth looking at because it will have implications on recruitment and career prospects.
Who are AAT?
AAT are one of the largest professional associations for accounting professionals in the world. They have over 130,000 members in more than 100 countries. They award qualifications to accountants to improve career prospects, the legitimacy of which are recognised by employers globally. AAT have over 4,000 licensed members in the UK, and you can choose from nearly 500 training providers.
What were the qualifications?
AAT have separate bookkeeping and accounting qualifications. With AQ2016, to become a fully qualified bookkeeper with AAT and earn AATQB status, you had to complete bookkeeping levels 2 through 3. To become a fully qualified accountant with AAT and earn MAAT or FMAAT status, you had to complete accounting levels 2 through 4.
These were the courses to complete if you wanted AATQB status:
- Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping (Level 2)
- Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping (Level 3)
You had these courses to complete if you wanted MAAT or FMAAT status.
- Foundation Certificate in Accounting (Level 2)
- Advanced Diploma in Accounting (Level 3)
- Professional Diploma in Accounting (Level 4)
These courses were designed to help with both bookkeeping and accounting:
- Access qualifications (Level 1)
- Foundation Diploma in Accounting and Business (Level 2)
- Foundation Award in Accounting Software (Level 2)
What are the qualifications now?
With Q2022, you can complete the following courses to achieve AATQB status:
- Certificate in Bookkeeping (Level 2)
- Certificate in Bookkeeping (Level 3)
You can complete these to achieve MAAT or FMAAT status:
- Certificate in Accounting (Level 2)
- Diploma in Accounting (Level 3)
- Diploma in Professional Accounting (Level 4)
These courses are offered to help build your skills in bookkeeping and accounting:
- Award in Bookkeeping (Level 1)
- Award in Business Skills (Level 1)
What are the differences?
The main changes are the removal of repetition of syllabus content between levels and fewer assessments for all levels. At Levels 2 and 3, papers on The Business Environment and Business Awareness have been added. This is to ensure that AAT qualified accountants have an even greater understanding of how to apply their knowledge in real-world business situations. This should, in theory, improve employability in both industry and practice roles.
The reason that there’re fewer papers is that some have been combined. For bookkeeping, Advanced Bookkeeping and Final Accounts Preparation have been combined into Final Accounting. For Accounting, Budgeting and Decision & Control have been combined into Advanced Management Accounting.
Unsurprisingly, 4 new themes have appeared throughout each level: technology, communication, ethics and sustainability. With MTD on the very near horizon, a wider focus on technology comes as no surprise. Similarly, sustainability is a hot topic in business, so accountants need to understand the implications of their work on the environment.
Transitioning to Q2022
If you registered before 31.08.2022 and you’re not able to finish Level 4 before 30.09.2023, you’ll have to transition to Qualifications 2022. To work out where to start, First Intuition, a training provider for AAT, have released this.
Most percentages will carry over from AQ2016 to Qualifications 2022 but have a look at these considerations because some students may need to take more exams or might want to re-sit them to improve their scores.
What you can do with an AAT qualification
It is well known that at AIMS Accountants for Business you must be fully qualified with a professional body to join. If you’ve completed your Level 4 and achieved MAAT or FMAAT status, this qualifies you to join us.
Just because these qualifications have undergone substantial changes doesn’t mean that if you achieved MAAT or FMAAT status from AQ2016 or before, you no longer qualify to be an AIMS Accountant. You absolutely do qualify! All this means is that things have been updated to reflect the current business climate and to make sure that new accountants have current knowledge. Changing the qualifications is logical so that they reflect the emerging needs of employers. This will put AAT students in the best possible position when applying for accounting roles in either industry or practice.