6 Myths about becoming an AAT student

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We’ve seen hordes of new AAT students recently, and some questions just keep popping up again and again. Today we’re busting some myths about studying AAT.

1. Do I have to become a MAAT to start studying AAT?

MAAT are the letters that appear after your name to indicate you have an AAT full membership (AKA MAAT status). You might have seen advertisements for this on your daily travels, but don’t let that confuse you – you don’t have to think about that just yet.

When you’re just getting started with AAT, you’ll register as a student, and this will be your ‘membership level’. As you progress through AAT, you have a number of professional membership options;

You can apply to become a MAAT if:

  • you have completed the Professional Diploma in Accounting (AAT level 4)
  • or have relevant qualifications or membership from another professional body
  • or have an accounting/finance degree from a partner university.

2. Can I skip levels?

The AAT Accounting qualification starts at level 1, and finishes with level 4. The Bookkeeping qualification has levels 1 – 3.

You can indeed skip certain levels (or even just specific assessments) of AAT, as long as you can provide evidence that you’ve covered the qualification units elsewhere. This could be a previous finance or accounting qualification.

This means you should not have to study topics that you’ve already studied elsewhere.

Use the exemptions navigator tool on our website to check if your previous qualifications offer you any exemptions. If they do, then you can apply for your exemption here.

3. How do I study Bookkeeping/AATQB?

This is a very common question from our new students.

AATQB is not listed as one of AAT’s qualifications because it’s actually a membership status. Once you’ve completed the Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping (level 3), you’ll be eligible to apply to become an AAT bookkeeping member, and attain the AATQB letters after your name. This is ideal for those looking to take their first steps in the professional world.

As a bookkeeping member, you have a number of options – see here.

4. Am I automatically an AAT member if I complete AAT level 1?

No. There are six different kinds of membership available with AAT, and only the affiliate membership is applied automatically upon completing the AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting. For the other membership types, you will have to apply.

In order to sit AAT assessments, you need to have a student membership, so you will apply for this before you complete level 1.

Click here to learn more about AAT membership.

5. Can I study ACCA/CIMA after I complete AAT?

Yes. If you want to study chartered accountancy, you’ll have to progress on to chartered studies. These studies are provided by the UK’s chartered accountancy bodies; ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAEW, and ICAS.

It’s up to you which body you choose to study with, but happily, all 5 chartered accountancy bodies offer AAT full members (MAAT), and fellows (FMAAT), generous exemptions and fast-track routes to chartered accountancy status. So you can progress quicker than those who followed the university path.

You can also maintain your AAT membership at a discounted rate whilst studying towards chartered status.

As some bodies offer more generous exemptions than others, and these exemptions may be based on which specific AAT exams you have taken, you may choose to become chartered through the most advantageous option.

Read more on some of the potential pathways here;

6.  Do I have to complete AAT level 4 to start my own accountancy practice? 

To start your own business, you need to be an AAT Licensed Accountant or Bookkeeper. To apply for your license you need to have completed the relevant AAT Qualification (accounting or bookkeeping) and gained either your AATQB or MAAT status.

There are a number of things you must supply in your application to become an AAT Licensed member, including arrangements for Professional Indemnity Insurance, registration with the ICO, and more.

Read more on the types of licence available, and which one you’ll need

In summary

AAT may be a whole new world to you as a new student, so a few questions are definitely expected. We’re the experts, and we’re more than happy to tell you all about AAT. Get in touch via our contact page, or call customer services directly on +44 (0)20 3735 2434.

Our telephone lines are open Monday to Thursday from 09.00 to 20.00, and Friday from 9.00 to 17.00 UK time.

Read more on becoming an AAT student:

The content team are the owners of AAT Comment.

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