Association of Accounting Technicians
|Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
Logo of the AAT
|Region served||90 countries|
|Member's designations||MAAT, FMAAT|
|Chief Executive||Mark Farrar|
The Association of Accounting Technicians, or AAT, is the UK’s leading qualification and professional body for vocational accountants with over 133,000 members worldwide. It was created by the merger of two founding institutes in 1980: the Institute of Accounting Staff (then a subsidiary of ACCA) and the Association of Technicians in Finance and Accounting (then a subsidiary of CIPFA). It is a technician level qualification offering higher apprenticeships which entitles those who have completed the exams and obtained relevant supervised work experience to become an accountant. The AAT is based in London but has branches with a strong membership all over the UK and the rest of the world including Hong Kong and South Africa.
The body is sponsored by four UK chartered accountancy bodies. These are: CIPFA, ICAEW, CIMA and ICAS
AAT versus CAT
The only UK accountancy body which does not sponsor the AAT is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). This organisation used to be a sponsor of the AAT but broke away in order to form a rival qualification called the Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) award. The ACCA implemented this policy as it wanted a technician level qualification that offered accountancy apprenticeships based on the same business model as itself.
AAT in Scotland
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland is also keen to implement AAT courses into its own business model. It presently has no plans to develop an ICAS technician qualification in direct competition with the AAT's UK model as proposed in the late 1990s. Crucially it has remained a sponsoring body since the inception of the AAT. Some of the ICAS membership are keen to go down a fully branded ICAS Technician route. To date the ICAS branding of AAT in Scotland is producing tangible results given the strength of both organisations.
AAT in South Africa
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants decided to sponsor the AAT program offering higher apprenticeship accounting courses and it has expanded since 2011. AAT(SA) has no signatory powers for any of its South African members, this is because there is not sufficient audit content within the qualification offered. SAICA and AAT are working towards gaining authority in a number of other areas, such as Commissioner of Oaths and review status. This sort of authority does take time to approve and the new South African Company Legislation is not yet finalised.
Since 2010 every level of the AAT qualification has a number of modules, each of which culminate in a computer based assessment.
The AAT Intermediate Level 3 qualification or Level 6 in Scotland, is approved for the University entrance system with a value of 160 UCAS tariff points.  This is also included in the KS5 performance tables. The final AAT qualification, the AAT Advanced Level is equivalent to QCF Level 4 and SCQF Level 8.
Accounting Technicians, when certified as being experienced and competently qualified, can perform exactly the same tasks in a financial environment as most qualified Chartered Accountants. The main differences being that in the UK, Accounting Technicians can not sign off companies audit reports. Certain AAT Members In Practice (MIP) are recognised by the DTI to sign off the Independent Review of charity accounts. An Independent Review is similar in status to the work which an AAT member could undertake under the old Reporting Accountant standard. The obsoletion of Reporting Accountant has instigated calls from senior members of the Association, for their body to recognise these more senior members' qualifications and work experience with some new distinguishing status.
If an AAT member is also a qualified Chartered Accountant then they can be exempt from being an AAT MIP if they choose. AAT is a recognised professional qualification, separate from, but working together, for the furthering of the accounting profession, with colleagues, from all the main chartered accountancy sponsoring bodies.
In 2014 AAT expanded its suite of qualifications and launched new courses in accounting, bookkeeping, computerised accounting, tax and business skills.
Areas of Vocational Expertise and Academic Competence
Accounting Technicians perform similar work based tasks to those members of its sponsoring bodies the main exclusion being that it is not possible for an AAT Member to sign off an auditor's report. However, they can, if additionally they hold a practising certificate with one of the sponsoring bodies regulated and authorised to produce audit reports. The AAT is now one of the accountancy bodies in the UK allowed to let its suitably experienced and qualified members perform independent examinations of charities accounts, subject to the audit exemption thresholds for incorporated charities.
See also 'Qualifications' above.
Employer Accreditation The AAT employer accreditation scheme recognises employers with a positive and planned approach to the professional development of their AAT members, whether through studying for an AAT qualification or, once qualified, supporting them in their continuing professional development.
AAT Accredited Employer Scheme shows employers' commitment to their staff and their professional development. More importantly it provides the employer with a range of benefits including:
Full and fellow members will automatically meet their mandatory CPD requirements by following their employer's training and development processes Support in managing student member's Advice on trainee recruitment and funding AAT Accredited Employer logo and certificate.
Current list of AAT Accredited Employers is available at http://www.aat.org.uk/sites/default/files/assets/AAT-accredited-employers-directory.pdf
- AAT website
- AAT's discussion forums
- AAT's blog, AAT Comment
- AAT Ethics site
- AAT on Facebook
- AAT on Twitter
- AAT on LinkedIn