AAT Levels 3 and 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting

Course DurationLearning Hours: 670-740

DurationDuration: Up to 42 Months

Number of ExamsExams: 9

85.8% AAT Level 3 Pass Rate

Continue your AAT studies on this combined Level 3 and 4 qualification.

Free AAT registration worth £228

At Level 3, you will develop an understanding of business and its structure and purpose, and appreciate the wider business environment.

You will develop skills supporting complex financial processes, such as final accounts, reports and returns, use of technology to provide management accounting information, and completion of VAT returns.

The Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting will enhance the skills you developed in your Level 3 studies, so you can maximise your employment opportunities.

Our highly effective learning materials ensure you can progress quickly and smoothly. Our level 3 pass rate is 92.3%, and our level 4 pass rate is 91%. Those pass rates are based on exams from 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022 on AQ2016 syllabus.

No other training provider includes as many materials, lessons, examples and activities.

Exceptional AAT pass rates
Winner! AAT Training Provider Awards 2024
Study whenever you want - at your own pace
Award-winning tutor support
Dedicated accounting and bookkeeping training provider
Interest-free payment plans to spread the cost

Includes free bonus course

Free Xero Course and Certification

This enhances your CV and gives you the experience of using one of the most in-demand types of accounting software.

Training Link focuses on three subjects: Accounting, Bookkeeping, and Payroll.

This keeps us focused on delivering the best student experience. And that’s why over the last 28 years we’ve won over 20 awards – from AAT’S Best New Training Provider in 2018 to ICB’s Large Training Provider of the Year on 11 occasions. And several of our tutors have been awarded ‘Tutor of the Year’ by the ICB.

And in 2024 we were the only training provider to be nominated in three categories at the AAT awards:

  • Distance Learning Provider of the Year
  • Tutor of the Year
  • Distance Learner of the Year

Training Link has created all of the study material in our blended and blended live course packages. The printed study manuals, online resources, videos, tests, and mock exams – are exclusive to Training Link and are not available from any other distance learning provider.

And because we control this material, we continually improve it based on student feedback and results. This is what helps Training Link students achieve a 85.8% pass rate at level 3 based on exams from 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2023.


Our most cost-effective option. Ideal if you want a digital-only study experience with tutor support. This does not include Training Link’s bespoke online materials or books.


Our most popular package. This is the core Training Link study experience.

Included in the Blended course package

Our printed study manuals contain: lessons, examples, activities and assessments
Award-winning Tutor support by e-mail and phone
Videos – on-demand tutorials and explainers
Online resources to help fast-track your studies

  • Extra lessons
  • E-books
  • Tests
Exam preparation including our own mock exams
Student services department – 7-days a week
Talk with tutors and students on Student Street
Entitlement to apply for a Totum card

Blended Live

Want live online classes? Then this is the package for you.

On our Blended Live course package you’ll still enjoy all of the benefits of our standard ‘Blended’ course package but with the addition of scheduled live online classes which take place every two weeks. And if you miss a live session, you’ll be able to watch them on-demand shortly afterwards.

Choose a course package to see pricing.

AAT was established in 1980 and is the world’s leading professional body for accounting technicians with over 130,000 members.

AAT’s qualifications are internationally-recognised, OfQual regulated, and the syllabus has been developed after feedback from businesses so students develop real-world skills which improve their employability. They award 80% of all vocational qualifications in accounting.

Organisations such as Sainsbury’s, P&G, Morgan Stanley, the Ministry of Defence and many more continue to hire AAT qualified members for their knowledge, skills, and diligence.

Studying for an AAT qualification is a much more cost-effective option for school-leavers. It offers the promise of a career in a well-respected profession and doesn’t lead to the eye-watering levels of debt associated with a typical university education.

80% of AAT members that have completed an AAT accounting qualification agree that it has increased their earning potential.*

* – source – AAT’s salary survey 2021

You can complete this course in 42 months or less.

Level 3

Unit 1 – Business Awareness

You will gain an understanding of the business, its environment and its influence on an organisation’s structure. You will also learn the role of its accounting function and its performance.

  • Understand business types, structures and governance, and the legal framework in which they operate
  • Understand the impact of the external and internal environment on businesses, their performance and decisions
  • Understand how businesses and accountants comply with principles of professional ethics
  • Understand the impact of new technologies in accounting and the risks associated with data security
  • Communicate information to stakeholders

Unit 2 – Financial Accounting: Preparing Financial Statements

You will gain the skills to produce statements of profit or loss, statements of financial position for sole traders, and partnerships using a trial balance. In your job, you may be required to prepare the final accounts and this unit will give you the theoretical knowledge needed to do this.

It will also allow you to understand how final accounts are produced, either manually or by using accounting software.

  • Understand the accounting principles underlying final accounts preparation
  • Understand the principles of advanced double-entry bookkeeping
  • Implement procedures for the acquisition and disposal of non-current assets
  • Prepare and record depreciation calculations
  • Record period end adjustments
  • Produce and extend the trial balance
  • Produce financial statements for sole traders and partnerships
  • Interpret financial statements using profitability ratios
  • Prepare accounting records from incomplete information

Unit 3 – Management Accounting Techniques

You will learn about the role of management accounting and how organisations use this information to make decisions.

  • Understand the purpose and use of management accounting within organisations
  • Use techniques required for dealing with costs
  • Attribute costs according to organisational requirements
  • Investigate deviations from budgets
  • Use spreadsheet techniques to provide management accounting information
  • Use management accounting techniques to support short-term decision making
  • Understand principles of cash management

Unit 4 – Tax Processes for Businesses

This unit explores tax processes that influence the daily operations of businesses. It helps you develop skills in understanding, preparing, and submitting value-added tax (VAT) returns to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

You will gain the knowledge and skills to keep businesses compliant with laws and practices that apply to VAT and payroll. You will learn about legislation and the importance of maintaining technical knowledge by monitoring updates.

  • Understand legislation requirements relating to VAT
  • Calculate VAT
  • Complete VAT returns
  • Understand principles of payroll
  • Report information within the organisation

Level 4

The mandatory units are:

Applied Management Accounting

This unit focuses on the three basic areas of management accounting: planning, control and decision-making.

All organisations need accurate, business-focused information to make sound judgements.

This unit will allow you to understand the budgetary process. You will be able to construct budgets and identify and report both on areas of success and on areas of concern. You will also gain the skills to critically evaluate organisational performance.

  • Understand and implement the organisational planning process
  • Use internal processes to enhance operational control
  • Use techniques to aid short-term and long-term decision making
  • Analyse and report on business performance

Drafting and Interpreting Financial Statements

You will gain the skills and knowledge to draft the financial statements of single limited companies. And you’ll learn how to draft the consolidated financial statements for groups of companies.

You will become proficient in your knowledge and understanding of international accounting standards.  You will apply this when you draft the financial statements. You will also understand the regulatory and conceptual frameworks that underpin the preparation of limited company financial statements.

  • Understand the reporting frameworks that underpin financial reporting
  • Draft statutory financial statements for limited companies
  • Draft consolidated financial statements
  • Interpret financial statements using ratio analysis

Internal Accounting Systems and Controls

All organisations must guard against fraud through good control systems. But, many businesses underestimate the probability and impact of employee fraud. The accounts department plays a vital role in preventing the misuse of resources, and this unit shows you how to evaluate internal controls and recommend improvements.

  • Understand the role and responsibilities of the accounting function within an organisation
  • Evaluate internal control systems
  • Evaluate an organisation’s accounting system and underpinning procedures
  • Understand the impact of technology on accounting systems
  • Recommend improvements to an organisation’s accounting system

And choose two from the following optional units:

Business Tax

This unit introduces students to UK taxation relevant to businesses. You will understand how to compute business taxes for sole traders, partnerships and limited companies. You will also identify tax planning opportunities and understand the ethical standards.

  • Prepare tax computations for sole traders and partnerships
  • Prepare tax computations for limited companies
  • Prepare tax computations for the sale of capital assets by limited companies
  • Understand administrative requirements of the UK’s tax regime
  • Understand the tax implications of business disposals
  • Understand tax reliefs, tax planning opportunities and agent’s responsibilities in reporting taxation to HM Revenue & Customs

Personal Tax

You will gain essential knowledge of income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. You will be ready to compute these taxes and appreciate how taxpayers can minimise their overall tax liability.

  • Understand principles and rules that underpin taxation systems
  • Calculate UK taxpayers’ total income
  • Calculate income tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) payable by UK taxpayers
  • Calculate capital gains tax payable by UK taxpayers
  • Understand the principles of inheritance tax

Audit and Assurance

You will gain an awareness of the audit process from planning and risk assessment to the final completion and production of the audit report.

You will also get a practical perspective on audit and assurance, with an emphasis on the application of audit and assurance techniques to current systems. You will be equipped with the skills to undertake an audit under supervision and will gain an understanding of the regulatory frameworks and ethical requirements.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the audit and assurance framework
  • Demonstrate the importance of professional ethics
  • Evaluate the planning process for audit and assurance
  • Evaluate procedures for obtaining sufficient and appropriate evidence
  • Review and report findings

Cash and Financial Management

This unit focuses on the importance of managing cash within organisations. It covers the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions on financing and investment in accordance with organisational policies and external regulations.

  • Prepare forecasts for cash receipts and payments
  • Prepare cash budgets and monitor cash flows
  • Understand the importance of managing finance and liquidity
  • Understand ways of raising finance and investing funds
  • Understand regulations and organisational policies that influence decisions in managing cash and finance

Credit and Debt Management

You will learn how to apply the principles of effective credit control systems, including appropriate debt management systems.

  • Understand relevant legislation and contract law that impacts the credit control environment
  • Understand how information is used to assess credit risk and grant credit in compliance with organisational policies and procedures
  • Understand the organisation’s credit control processes for managing and collecting debts
  • Understand different techniques available to collect debts

You need to hold a Level 2 AAT Accountancy qualification or equivalent. Please contact us if you hold a qualification or have experience in Bookkeeping and Accounts. We can then advise you on possible exemptions.

A good understanding of the English language is essential.

If you are not sure if level 3 is the correct starting point for you, try our AAT skills check.

Skills developed through this qualification could lead to employment as:

  • an Accounts Assistant
  • an Accounts Payable and Expenses Supervisor
  • an Assistant Accountant
  • an Audit Trainee
  • a Credit Controller
  • a Finance Assistant
  • a Finance Officer
  • a Payroll Supervisor
  • a Senior Bookkeeper
  • a Tax Assistant

By the time you are level 4 qualified this qualification could lead to employment as:

  • Professional Accounting Technician
  • Assistant Financial Accountant
  • Assistant Auditor
  • Cost Accountant
  • Assistant Management Accountant
  • Fixed Asset Accountant
  • Commercial Analyst
  • Indirect Tax Manager
  • Payroll Manager
  • Payments and Billing Manager
  • Senior Bookkeeper
  • Senior Fund Accountant
  • Senior Financial Officer
  • Senior Insolvency Administrator
  • Accounts Payable and Expenses Supervisor
  • Tax Supervisor
  • VAT Accountant

AAT’s salary survey from 2021 suggested that the average level 4 student salary was £30,000.

Q: Is registration included?

Yes. As a special offer, we are including your Level 3 registration at no extra cost.

Q: Are assessment fees (exams) included?

No. You will need to book your own exams at an approved AAT assessment centre of your choice. You would pay the test centre directly at the time of booking.

Q: What is the average completion time for these courses?

Our statistics show that our students take anything from 6 months to 15 months to complete the Level 3 course. And anything from 9 months to 18 months to complete the Level 4.

Ofqual suggest the Total Qualification Time equates to 620 hours for Level 3 and 985 hours for Level 4.

As this is distance learning you create your own schedule- you can fast-track your studies if you want, but if you need to take longer that’s OK too.

Q: Can I start at Level 3?

If you have an equivalent Level 2 qualification or Accounting and Bookkeeping work experience then you should be OK to go straight into Level 3.

If you are unsure we recommend you try our AAT Skills Check. It takes 20 minutes and gives you an accurate test based on the required knowledge.

The units are assessed by a Computer Based Assessment (CBA). You will complete these at an approved AAT assessment centre of your choice. Assessment fees are payable to the centre/venue and may incur an administration fee.

On completion of all units, you will get a Certificate from the AAT.

Assessment preparation

On our Blended and Blended Live course packages, you will encounter a series of online knowledge tests throughout the course.  This includes End of course tests and Online exam simulation tests (Mock Assessments). Our specialist department will provide you with feedback advice and support, plus any additional lessons and tests you may need prior to taking an assessment.

Arranging an assessment:

There are over 200 external assessment venues available in the UK. To find your nearest venue go to AAT’s Assessment Venue Search.

When the time comes to take an assessment, you can choose from the list and contact them to arrange a suitable time and date.

Want more flexibility?

Our tutor support timeframes are deliberately generous and far exceed what most students need.

Most of our students finish well in advance of the course duration. But what happens if you do need a little longer?

This is where our course extension options come into play. We offer one-month, three-month, and six-month extensions so you can feel reassured by knowing that if you do need extra time you have that option.

Watch 3 of our videos – for free

Three free video examples – one for each level of study.

Whether you’re new to the subject or are studying at a higher level, these short, five-minute videos give you a flavour of what you can expect inside our e-learning platform.

Our videos perfectly supplement our award-winning study experience which is rooted in printed study manuals and award-winning tutor support.

Watch our videos now »


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Our finance option is provided in partnership with Omni Capital. For your finance application to be considered you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Be employed for at least 16 hours per week or retired and in receipt of a private or company pension. Certain state benefit schemes may be considered.
  • Be a permanent UK resident with a 3 year address history
  • Have a good credit history with no late payments, debt relief orders or bankruptcies
  • Have a valid email address and can access it

Please note that meeting the criteria listed above does not guarantee finance acceptance.

If you want to enrol on a course and you have questions about your Omni Capital application or want to discuss other payment options please call us on 0800 594 2822.

Introducing Blended Live...

Our new Blended Live study option includes scheduled live online classes which take place every two weeks.

Learn more »