Association of Accounting Technicians
The Association of Accounting Technicians, or AAT, is a UK qualification and professional body for vocational accountants, with over 140,000 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 accounting technician. The AAT is based in London, but has branches with membership all over the UK and the rest of the world including Hong Kong and South Africa.
Logo of the AAT
|Region served||90 countries|
|Member's designations||MAAT, FMAAT, AATQB|
|Chief Executive||Mark Farrar|
The body was sponsored by four UK chartered accountancy bodies; CIPFA, ICAEW, CIMA and ICAS. From May 2017, ICAEW, CIPFA, CIMA and ICAS no longer participated in AAT’s governance structure and AAT took the decision to bring their sponsoring body partnerships to a close.
A strong relationship remains between AAT and its former sponsoring bodies albeit on a more operational basis with exemptions for the chartered qualifications remaining at the heart of those relationships. 
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) 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.
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..
In South AfricaEdit
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, perform some similar tasks to qualified accountants in the UK, but 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 obsolescence 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.
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 competenceEdit
Accounting technicians perform similar work based tasks to those members of chartered 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 chartered 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.
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 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.
- "Timeline - Accounting History". ICAEW.
- "Index of UK and Irish Accountancy and Professional Bodies". ICAEW. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06.
- "CIMA - AAT Students and Members". www.cimaglobal.com.
- "AAT Qualification Specification - published 10/2012 (website accessed 01/01/2015)" (PDF).