Earning potential with AAT

When planning your career, you’ve probably got a lot of questions – how much can you earn while still a student? Where should you live to earn the most? Should you work in the private or public sector?

Let’s spare you more questions (your exams have that covered) and get to answering some of them.


The mean salary of an affiliate  is £21,875 a year, rising to £29, 925 for AAT members (MAAT) and £38,225 for fellow members (FMAAT). Managers earn around £28,000 at the junior level and £43,000 at senior/director levels.

What about bonuses?

34% of AAT members received a bonus in the last two years, a slight rise since 2013. The average bonus is 7% of salary, weighing in at around £2,200 for F/MAATs working full-time.

What’s the pay gap like?

Not great. While equal proportions of men and women have received a bonus in the last two years, the pay gap is at 18%. Men working full-time earn an average of £27,000, while women earn £23,000. Note that these statistics compare overall average earnings, not earnings between comparable jobs.

Where should I live?

For full AAT members, London has the highest salaries at an average £40,000 a year, followed by east/south-east England and Scotland at between £30,000 and £33,000 a year. The south-west of England follows at £28,000, with the Midlands, north England and Wales averaging £25,500 – £27,000 a year.

For student members, London and Scotland are hot destinations, with employees earning around £23,000 a year. Students in the south-east of England earn £20,000, with other regions earning between £16,000 and £18,000 on average.


Benefits are an important part of evaluating the total compensation package of a job, as they make up on average 10% of salary.

Healthcare and pensions

The public and non-profit sectors win on pensions: 80% of AAT members in those sectors have a company pension scheme, compared to 60% of those working in the private sector. A third of private non-accountancy firms offer private healthcare. For accountancy firms and not-for-profits, this number is one in five; in the public sector, one in ten.

Continued learning

If increasing your knowledge and gaining further qualifications is your goal, the public sector and accounting firms are most likely to provide opportunities – but only just. More than half of public sector employers will pay for you to further your learning through additional courses; 34% offer paid time off to study. 13% provide an incentive for completing AAT qualifications, too.

Nearly two thirds of accounting firms will pay for further learning courses, and 37% will pay for time off to study. 50% of non-accounting private sector firms will pay you to take further courses; a quarter provide paid time off to study. One in ten private sector employers incentivise completion of AAT qualifications.

In the non-profit sector, almost half will pay for you to take further courses, and a quarter pay you for study leave. 7% incentivise AAT qualifications.

Family and work/life balance

If you’re one of the 50% of employees who believe that flexible working hours and the ability to work from home is the most important perk a job can provide, you’ll be pleased to know more than half of public sector roles offer this opportunity. 37% of non-profits and one in five private firms do the same.

The public and not-for-profit sectors are most likely to provide opportunities for families, with a quarter of public sector employers and 20% of non-profits offering above-statutory maternity benefits. One in five have family friendly policies.

Job satisfaction

What use is money if you dislike your job? Luckily for you, accountancy and several related jobs made Glassdoors’ top 25 careers list, and in 2013 accountants rated their job as the best in the world. Studying might be hard, but it’s definitely worth it.

(All statistics are from the AAT Salary Survey 2015 unless otherwise specified.)

Lauren Jack is a content writer for ICS Learn.

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