By Hannah Dolan Students An introduction to Q2022 27 Jul 2022 Qualifications 2022 is the exciting new updated suite of qualifications from AAT that has been updated to reflect the changing role of the accounting technician. The job of an accountant is changing rapidly. Many of the repetitive number-crunching jobs can be carried out by technology and automated computer software. This opens up new and exciting opportunities for accountants to play a more strategic and business advisory role for their clients. An updated industry Instead of simply presenting a set of accounts every year or every quarter, they can help business owners actively engage in growing and developing their companies, using real time data insights to analyse sales and income patterns and make informed decisions. COVID has massively impacted all areas of every industry and changed many traditional roles in business. Accounting is no different. Overall, the effect has been to move to digital a lot quicker. Accountants were not able to go in and see their clients and so everything had to be online. Many businesses adopted cloud accounting and digital processing so they could continue their business during this challenging time. Qualifications 2022 is a new and exciting version of our suite of qualifications from AAT Level 1 through to AAT Level 4, and it introduces some teaching and learning around cybersecurity, cloud computing and business analysis which will be valuable for students as they progress into their first jobs and subsequent accountancy career. Why has Qualifications 2022 been introduced? Q2022 is the updated suite of our qualification. We review typically our qualifications every four to five years to make sure they are up to date and reflect what employers and businesses need. However, this doesn’t meant that the current ones are no longer fit for purpose. They remain valued by employers and provide the skills and knowledge students need. For students who are working and studying, they will be absorbing many of these life skills and changes to the working environment as part of their daily lives at an accountancy practice or in a busy finance department. It’s important to note that completed qualifications on AQ2016 are not taken away from students with the introduction of Q2022. The development of this qualification has really honed in on how the role of the technician is moving forward, and the skills that will serve them now and for the future within a broad range of roles. It provides a broader skill set and aims to produce more rounded individuals, which is what employers are saying they want. The qualification sizes are the same, and the level of the content is similar. Existing students will be learning these skills on the job if they are working and studying at the same time, so they are going to be absorbing this new culture and skills while they are at work. Key themes to enhance industry knowledge Based on the outcome of research undertaken as we started to consider the development of content for the new qualifications, there were four key themes which were identified as being important. These skills and qualities have always been at the heart of the AAT qualifications, but this iteration of qualifications has enhanced them. They cover ethics, communication, technology and sustainability. How will the new fee structure work? With the launch of Q2022 we’re changing our payment/fee structure. Students will not be required to pay an annual student membership fee for the Q2022 qualifications. Instead, they will pay a one-off registration fee at the point the register onto the new qualification of choice. This will give them access to the qualification for its lifetime, typically four to five years. Registration will give them access to the study support resources and the ability to be scheduled for assessments. What is the tutor experience going to be like? Tutors may need to adapt their teaching style to accommodate the new business awareness units. For some, they will be teaching the technology units for the first time. Teaching of the soft skills like communication will be embedded within the course, and business awareness looks at communication and learning to deal with different people across businesses. Students will also be studying how a business is structured in order to understand how they work, how limited companies are different from sole traders, for example. Students studying for the Accounting qualification will need to be aware of the last synoptic assessment window dates, if they still have this assessment to sit. *Note – lapsed students can reinstate/rebuy access to an AQ2016 they started but didn’t complete up until 2pm Friday 29 September so they can sit the remaining assessments. They will need to consider how many assessments they have remaining to complete and the length of time this will take to ensure the reinstate/rebuy access with sufficient time. More information Find out more about Qualifications 2022 and the exciting new opportunities Watch the videos on why these changes to the qualification have been made More resources and information on Qualifications 2022 (login to view) Hannah Dolan is AAT Comment’s Content Editor.