AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting

Tech Levels (reformed)
  • England
  • Wales
  • International
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland

This qualification is listed on the DfE 16-19 performance tables in the Tech Level category.

This qualifications meets the full requirements for reformed Tech Levels, which all qualifications will have to meet for inclusion in the 2018 performance tables.

Tech Level qualifications are primarily developed for learners aged 16-19 studying on either a full or part-time basis.

Tech Levels are aimed at learners with a keen interest in a particular industry, occupation, or occupational type.

Along with developing transferable skills required to work in a number of job roles, this qualification is designed to equip learners with the high level specialist technical knowledge and skills to enable them to work within a specific industry.

It can help provide entry into employment in a particular sector, onto an apprenticeship or into higher education in a related vocational area.

It has been recognised by a trade or professional body, or at least five employers.

There is a requirement for all students to undertake meaningful activity involving employers in the course of their study.

Education context

Following the Wolf review of vocational qualifications in England in 2011, the Department for Education announced a number of characteristics that Level 3 Tech Level qualifications have to demonstrate to feature in performance tables from 2016 onwards.

As a result, over 90% of the Level 3 qualifications previously recognised in performance tables are now not recognised.

The intention was to make reformed qualifications more rigorous and robust. As a result, they have to meet specific requirements in respect of purpose, size, recognition, content, assessment, and grading.

Between 2016 and 2018, awarding bodies have been permitted to phase in the reforms.

This qualification meets the full requirements for reformed qualifications.

Awarding organisation
  • AAT
Qualification code

This qualification covers a range of complex accounting tasks, including maintaining cost accounting records, and the preparation of reports and returns. It comprises six mandatory units:

  • Advanced Bookkeeping
  • Final Accounts Preparation
  • Management Accounting: Costing
  • Indirect Tax
  • Ethics for Accountants
  • Spreadsheets for Accounting
Subject areas
  • Accounting and financial studies
  • Level 3

Level 3 qualifications regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).

A levels are also Level 3 qualifications regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework.

Level 3 is the same level as the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6.


Unit assessments and the overall qualification is graded Fail/Pass/Merit/Distinction.


To ensure assessment is rigorous and robust, all reformed Tech Level qualifications must meet the following assessment criteria:

  • There must be a minimum of 30% external assessment
  • There must be an element of synoptic assessment
  • There are new rules for internal assessment, with only one opportunity to submit each assessment
  • Quality assurance of internal assessment must be rigorous

    All assessments in this qualification:

    • are set and marked by AAT (with the exception of RPL, which is marked by the training provider)
    • are computer-based
    • are time limited
    • are scheduled by training providers or assessment venues
    • take place at approved centres and venues under controlled conditions

    Assessments are taken by students through a secure online assessment platform. Computer marked unit assessments include:

    • Advanced Bookkeeping
    • Final Accounts Preparation
    • Management Accounting: Costing
    • Indirect Tax

    The synoptic assessment assesses content from across the qualification, including 'Ethics for Accountants' and 'Spreadsheets for Accounting'. Tasks included are both computer and human-marked. 

    Recognition of prior learning (RPL) or work place evidence (WPE), where accepted, is assessed and internally verified by qualified staff at the training provider, and quality assured externally by AAT.

    Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

    To achieve the qualification and be awarded a grade, a student must pass all the mandatory unit assessments and the synoptic assessment. 

    The contribution of assessment towards the overall qualification grade is:

    • Advanced Bookkeeping: 20%
    • Final Accounts Preparation: 15%
    • Management Accounting: Costing: 20%
    • Indirect Tax: 10%
    • Synoptic assessment: 35%
    Resit arrangements

    Reformed qualifications are only allowed one resit opportunity. The resit must be a new task or assignment, different to the original assessment.

    Guided / notional learning hours
    390 hours
    Guided / notional learning hours notes

    Tech Levels require a minimum size of 300 GLH to provide learners with sufficient time for meaningful skills development that will equip them to follow a particular trade or profession, for comparison, the size of one A level is 360 GLH.

    UCAS Tariff points

    AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting - Level 3

    Grade Points
    D 56
    M 48
    P 40
    Key issues for UK HE admissions

    Tech Levels are designed to support progression to employment, an apprenticeship, or to higher education.

    Progression to higher education is generally within the vocational area of the Tech Level, and may be to a foundation degree.

    The exact curriculum studied may depend on the choice of optional units taken, however reformed Tech Level qualifications require a specified core of at least 40%.

    Applicants holding reformed Tech Level/Applied General qualifications will have had experience of external and synoptic assessment.

    Timing of assessments and results

    Unit assessments are available to be scheduled on demand throughout the year, except during periods set and communicated by AAT.

    The synoptic assessment for the AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting is available at fixed sittings set throughout the year and communicated by AAT.

    It is recommended that students complete all other assessments before attempting the synoptic assessment. There are restrictions in place to prevent premature scheduling of the synoptic assessment.

    Provisional results for assessments that are computer marked are available to training providers immediately on completion of the assessment, and are confirmed within one week.

    Results for assessments that are wholly or partially human marked will be available within six weeks, following quality assurance by AAT.

    Certificates are issued on a rolling two week basis to students who have successfully achieved the qualification in accordance with the rules of combination.

    Qualification date
    01 Sep 2016—31 Aug 2021
    Certification information

    AAT submits achievements of results directly to UCAS in accordance with UCAS' requirements and timelines.

    The results of many UK qualifications are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

    • A levels and results from larger awarding bodies are reported automatically
    • IB results are only reported with the candidate’s permission
    • Some results are not reported through ABL, this does not reflect the validity of the qualification.

    The results available through ABL

    Where results are not available through ABL, HEPs will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.

    AAT does not currently publish the number of certifications for this qualification.

    Progression information

    On completion of this qualification, students will be able to progress either into employment or higher education.

    Tech Level qualifications offer progression to higher education, an apprenticeship, or employment.

    Progression to HE will probably be in the vocational area of the qualification, and may be to a foundation degree.

    Additional qualifications may be needed for progression to higher education.

    Tech Level qualifications are supported by at least five employers from the job sector the qualification is related to.

    All students have to take part in meaningful activity involving employers in the course of their study. Examples are work placements, taking part in projects, or some of the course being taught by someone who works in the industry.