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Overview of course

Aimed at experienced bookkeepers, this qualification studies areas such as double entry bookkeeping, financial statements and indirect tax (VAT).

If you successfully complete this qualification, you can apply for AAT associate bookkeeping membership and achieve professional AAT Bookkeeper status (AATQB).


Entry requirements

AAT does not set any prerequisites for the study of the AAT Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping. However, for the best chance of success, we recommend that students begin their studies with a good standard of English and Maths.


AAT Advanced Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping.

Further course detail

Accounts Preparation

This unit is the first of two Advanced financial accounting units. It develops Foundation skills, incorporating advanced bookkeeping and managing records for non-current assets, in preparation for producing final accounts for unincorporated organisations.

The purpose of this unit is to build on skills and knowledge learned in the Foundation level accounting units and to develop bookkeeping skills, taken to an initial trial balance. This is valuable progress for the student, both in terms of moving towards preparing final accounts and also in terms of offering employers more technical skills at this stage. The bookkeeping skills that students have acquired at an earlier stage will be reinforced and developed in this unit. While the daybooks and some of the ledger accounts may be familiar, the accruals basis of accounting is introduced to underpin many of the adjustments that are commonly found in the workplace, including accruals, prepayments, accounting for irrecoverable and doubtful debts and the period end valuation of inventory. This takes the student to the position of being able to draw up a trial balance using adjusted figures, and extend it to identify the profit or loss for the period.

Students will study non-current asset accounting in some depth, including the accurate recording and control of the valuable resource of non-current assets which is vital to all organisations. On completion of this unit, students will understand and know how to use the non-current assets register as an important and independent record of the details of each individual non-current asset. The student will know how to use the various ledger accounts required to record the acquisition and disposal of non-current assets, how to calculate the gain or loss on disposal, and how to choose and apply depreciation methods and rates.

Students are expected to know and explain why they are following certain procedures, rather than just knowing that they have to be followed. While recognising that computerised accounts packages and spreadsheets will normally be used in the workplace, this unit helps the student understand the background processes. On completion of this unit, students will also begin to understand how ethical principles apply in the context of their work in this area. This enables the student to be a more independent member of a team and to work intelligently in their role, requiring increasingly less supervision as their knowledge grows and starting to supervise more junior members of the team.

This unit refers to value added tax or VAT. This is an indirect tax operating in the UK but this type of tax may also operate and be known by another name in other countries.


Final Accounts Preparation

This Advanced level unit is about preparing final accounts for sole traders and partnerships, and helping students to become aware of alternative business organisation structures.

This purpose of this unit is to provide the background knowledge and skills that a student needs to be capable of drafting accounts for sole traders and partnerships, and it provides the background knowledge of the regulations governing company accounts. A successful student will be able to complete tasks while being aware of potential ethical issues and know how to report information effectively. The student should become an accomplished member of the accounting team who is able to work with little supervision and who can see a financial picture of the organisation as a whole.

Students will be able to recognise the different types of organisations that need to prepare financial statements and will understand why such statements are important to users in the business environment. The financial accounting techniques and knowledge that they have already acquired will be developed to prepare accounting records when the records are incomplete, and students will become familiar with mark-up and margin.

Students will recognise special accounting requirements for partnerships. They will become aware of legislation and regulations governing financial statements, and will be able to recall and apply ethical knowledge to situations arising during the preparation of accounts. This unit also introduces students to the terminology and formats used by accountants in the financial statements of companies, working with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) terminology that is utilised across AAT.

Using all of this, the student will be able to prepare final accounts for sole traders and partnerships from an initial trial balance and present these to their line manager. They will then gain awareness of the more detailed requirements for the preparation of company financial statements.

This unit refers to value added tax or VAT. This is an indirect tax operating in the UK but this type of tax may also operate and be known by another name in other countries.


Indirect Tax

This Advanced level unit is about indirect tax: specifically, the tax that is referred to in the UK and throughout this unit as value added tax (VAT). The unit is designed to develop students' skills in preparing and submitting returns to the relevant tax authority in situations where the transactions that have to be included are relatively routine. However, some non-routine issues are also included in this unit.

This unit provides students with the knowledge and skills that they need to keep their employers and clients compliant with the laws and practices that apply to the indirect taxation of sales and purchases. The content is designed to ensure that students can perform these tasks relatively unsupervised, particularly in terms of routine and some non-routine VAT tasks. However, it is expected that the student will still require some management for more involved and intensive VAT transactions. It is important that the student understands and applies the VAT rules from an ethical point of view. All VAT work must be carried out with integrity, objectivity and a high degree of professional competence. There must be due care with regard to confidentiality about any personal data being processed and, from a business protection aspect, with the correct approach to professional behaviour.

Students will learn about VAT legislation and the importance of maintaining their technical knowledge through monitoring updates. Students must be taught how to complete VAT returns accurately and must understand the implications of failing to do so. Inaccuracy and omission, late submission of returns and late payment or non-payment of VAT need to be understood in terms of the sanctions and penalties that are available to the relevant tax authority.

In particular, students will learn how to calculate the VAT value correctly in different circumstances, verify the calculations of the submitted return and correctly use an accounting system to extract relevant data for the return.

The VAT registration and deregistration rules are important aspects of learning at this level, and this includes the need to monitor sales closely to avoid breaching regulations. The existence and basic terms of special VAT schemes are also important.

Students will learn about how to deal with errors made in previous VAT returns and how and when these errors are corrected. They will also learn about communicating VAT matters to relevant individuals and organisations, including the special rules that apply when goods and services are imported into and exported out of the UK and the European Union (EU).


Students must successfully complete three unit assessments to achieve this qualification. All assessments are computer based, time limited and are set and marked by the AAT. The assessments will take place at our Bury St Edmunds campus. The qualification is not graded.


After completion of this qualification, it is not advised that a student progress to AAT level 4 accounting, however should you wish to make this consideration, it would be suggested to firstly 'topup' the level 3 bookkeeping to the level 3 advanced diploma in accounting.


19+ loan is available to those over 19 years.

There are bursaries available to students that meet certain criteria, please speak/visit student welfare for further information.


From 1 April, adults in England who are 19 and over and do not yet have A levels, an advanced technical diploma or equivalent, can now take their first full Level 3 qualification for free.

Eligible adults can choose from almost 400 qualifications, to help them gain access opportunities and get a better job and AAT Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Accounting is included in this offer.

The offer is part of the government's Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Plan for Jobs, helping adults develop the skills to succeed in work throughout their lives, and supporting businesses to find or develop talented people of all ages to fill skills gaps.


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