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Boosting Your Earning Potential: A Look at AAT Qualified Accountant Salaries

Earning an AAT qualification opens doors to various opportunities within the finance sector. But a key question for many considering this path is: how much can you earn as an AAT qualified accountant?

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) is a globally recognized professional body offering accounting qualifications that equip individuals with practical skills for a successful career in finance. Achieving an AAT qualification signifies dedication to accounting fundamentals and unlocks diverse career pathways in finance. But a key question for many considering this path is: how much can you earn as an AAT qualified accountant?

This article explores the earning potential of AAT qualified accountants, providing insights into average salaries at different levels of qualification and experience. We’ll delve into the impact of AAT membership status and additional factors that can influence your earning potential.

AAT qualifications are directly associated with increased earning prospects, offering promising career advancement opportunities. The AAT itself conducts regular salary surveys, with the most recent one being conducted in 2021. This survey revealed positive trends, with average salaries increasing across all membership levels compared to the 2019 survey.

The 2021 survey results showed a median salary of £40,000 for FMAAT members (Fellow Members of the AAT), highlighting the potential for significant earnings growth as you progress through the qualification pathway. It’s important to remember that these are average figures, and individual salaries can vary depending on several factors, which we’ll explore in more detail later.

Earnings by AAT Qualification Level

The AAT offers a structured qualification pathway, with each level progressively equipping you with more advanced accounting skills and knowledge. Let’s look at the typical salary ranges for each qualification level:

AAT Levels 2 & 3 Students: As a student pursuing your AAT qualifications, you can still enter the workforce and gain valuable experience. The average salary for AAT Levels 2 & 3 students, according to the 2021 survey, is around £21,000 This provides a solid foundation for your career progression.

AAT Foundation Diploma in Accounting (Level 3): Completing the AAT Level 3 qualification allows you to apply for AATQB (AAT Qualified Bookkeeper) membership. This opens doors to bookkeeping roles, with an average salary range of £21,000 to £24,000, as reported in the 2021 survey.

AAT Diploma in Accounting (Level 4):  This qualification signifies a significant step up in your accounting knowledge. AAT members who have completed the Level 4 Diploma and gained MAAT (Member in Association of Accounting Technicians) status can typically expect salaries in the range of £26,000 to £35,000 according to the 2021 survey.

AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting (Level 5):  This advanced qualification prepares you for senior accounting roles. While the 2021 survey didn’t provide specific figures for Level 5, the general trend suggests a potential salary range of £35,000 and upwards, with experience and additional qualifications further influencing your earning potential.

FMAAT (Fellow Member of the AAT): FMAAT membership signifies extensive experience and expertise within the accounting field. The 2021 survey indicated a median salary of £40,000 for FMAAT members, with some earning significantly more depending on their industry, location, and seniority.

The Impact of AAT Membership Status

Beyond qualification level, your AAT membership status also plays a role in your earning potential. Here’s a breakdown of the different membership categories:

AAT Student: As a student, you can still find entry-level accounting positions while gaining valuable experience.

AATQB (AAT Qualified Bookkeeper): This membership allows you to provide bookkeeping services and typically commands a higher salary than non-qualified bookkeepers.

MAAT (Member in Association of Accounting Technicians):  This membership signifies completion of the Level 4 Diploma and opens doors to a wider range of accounting roles with increased earning potential.

FMAAT (Fellow Member of the AAT):  This prestigious membership demonstrates extensive experience and expertise, often leading to the highest earning potential within the AAT membership structure.

Additional Factors Influencing Salary

Several other factors can influence your earnings as an AAT qualified accountant, including:

Industry: Salaries can vary depending on the industry you work in. Certain sectors, such as finance and banking, may offer higher salaries compared to others.

Location: Geographic location can also play a role, with salaries typically being higher in major cities and financial centers.

Experience: As you gain more experience, your value to an employer increases, which can lead to higher salaries

While AAT qualifications and membership status form a strong foundation for your earning potential, several additional strategies can help you maximize your income. Here are some key considerations:

Specialization:  Developing expertise in a specific accounting niche, like tax, management accounting, or auditing, can significantly increase your value and earning potential. Employers are often willing to pay a premium for specialized skills.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD):  The accounting field is constantly evolving with new regulations and technologies. Demonstrating a commitment to CPD through ongoing learning shows employers your dedication and keeps your skillset relevant, making you a more valuable asset.

Negotiation Skills:  Don’t underestimate the power of negotiation. When offered a job, research typical salary ranges for your position and experience level.  Confidently present your qualifications and the value you bring to the company, and be prepared to negotiate your starting salary and benefits package.

Networking:  Building strong professional relationships can open doors to new opportunities. Attend industry events, connect with AAT members on LinkedIn, and participate in online forums to expand your network. This can lead to referrals for higher-paying positions you may not have found otherwise.

Communication and Soft Skills:  Technical skills are essential, but strong communication, interpersonal skills, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team are equally important. These soft skills are highly valued by employers and can significantly impact your earning potential in leadership or client-facing roles.

Considering Self-Employment:  For ambitious individuals with the AAT Licensed Accountant qualification, starting your own practice can offer the potential for higher earnings and greater control over your work schedule. However, this path requires strong business acumen, marketing skills, and the ability to manage your own workload.


Remember, your earning potential is not static. By continuously developing your skills, seeking additional qualifications, and strategically managing your career path, you can significantly increase your earnings as an AAT qualified accountant. The AAT itself offers valuable resources and support to help its members navigate career development and maximize their earning potential.

Philip Meagher
4 min read

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