Best Bookkeeping Qualification

The best way to obtain a bookkeeping qualification

The best opportunity to acquire a bookkeeping qualification has been provided by the Association of Accounting Technicians. If you have followed our free seven part bookkeeping course, you may be motivated to study for the AAT Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping.

You can then continue to qualify to a professional bookkeeper status and use the designatory letters AATQB after your name.

To access the first part of our free bookkeeping course click here.

Completing an AAT qualification demonstrates to an employer that you have the technical and professional skills and are committed to developing your skills and knowledge.

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)

Across the globe there are about 130,000 AAT students and members in more than 90 countries. There will be students studying for a career in finance, people already working in accountancy ans self-employed business owners.

The AAT support and develop their students with more than 500 AAT approved training providers worldwide. In addition, they have an extensive branch network providing students with support, training and the chance to meet other AAT students in their local areas.

A student who passes an AAT assessment is passing a test of real workplace skills, set with the input from industry experts.

Level 2 AAT Foundation Courses

In this article we will be examining the courses for:

(1) The Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping

(2) The Foundation Award in Accounting Software.

For the Certificate in Bookkeeping GCSE grades A* – C are required but in the Award in Accounting Software the AAT does not set any prerequisites for the study of this qualification.

The Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping

This has a course duration of approximately 12 weeks and successful completion can lead to employment as: Clerical Assistant, Trainee Bookkeeper, Accounts Clerk, Finance Assistant and Accounts Administrator.

The fees vary dependent upon your chosen route (e.g, a college attendance or an online course) and the chosen provider. You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs. Loan eligibility does not depend on your income and does not involve any credit check. You will have to repay the loan when the course has been completed AND your income is more than £25,000 a year.

For Advanced Learner Loan details click here.

The AAT website includes a list of training providers. You are required to choose your training provider before you register as a student with the AAT.

I am including details from a long established online trainer – ICS Learn, who have a 9.6/10 Trustpilot rating from 3,000+ independent student reviews. The ICS training fee for the Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping is £345 (March 2019) and can be paid with a £60 deposit and 5 monthly payments of £57.

There are additional fees for AAT student registration (£44 for 12 months), AAT exams (£70 – £80 per assessment) and Exam Centre Admin fees.

ICS Learn Student Support

  • Average completion time is 3 months, ICS provides 6 months’ support periodUnlimited 1:1 tutor support online or by ‘phone

    Live online AAT classrooms, recorded to watch back anytime

    Interactive online learning designed by AAT experts

    24/7 access to the Student Community, your all-in-one online learning platform

    AAT student forums so you can comment and share advice with other students

    In-house student service team so you’re never more than a message or ‘phone call away from a helping hand

    Mock tests throughout your course to ensure you’re well-prepared for your exams

    Your exams consist of two computer-based AAT exams sat at your local AAT centre.

The Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping Syllabus

Much of this syllabus will, having completed our FREE seven part bookkeeping course, be familiar to you. The subjects included in the syllabus which are also included in our course are:

The books of prime entry (sales and purchase day books etc.)

The cash book and petty cash book

The ledgers: sales ledger, purchases ledger and general ledger

The accounting equation

Classification of accounts: assets, liabilities, income, expenses, capital etc.

The trial balance

Double entry bookkeeping

The columns within an account and the columns in the books of prime entry

Balancing accounts

Sales and purchase ledger control accounts

Transfering data from the books of prime entry into the relevant accounts in the ledgers

Reconciling the sales and purchase ledger control accounts

The journal

Making the appropriate entries from the bank statements into the cash book.

You will still need to go through the lessons for these subjects as there will be some explanations which I will not have covered in the brief course.

The additional subjects you will learn from the course include:

Petty Cash Vouchers, Invoices< Credit Notes, Remittance Advices, Statements

Types of Discounts and how to record them – Prompt Payment Discount, Trade Discount, Bulk Discount

Value Added Tax and calculations

Coding Supplier and Customer Accounts – creating alphabetical, numerical and alphanumerical codings

Documents: quotations, discount policy, customer order, delivery note, price list

Identifying discrepancies: under or over payments, incorrect discount taken, incorrect amounts

Checking: the accuracy of supplier invoices and credit notes, non-delivery of goods, incorrect goods or quantities, incorrect calculations

Prepare payments to suppliers and the documents to use

The two cash column analyzed cash book entries

Direct debit/standing order schedules

The imprest system used for some petty cash books

Use of suspense accounts

Different payment methods including various bank transfer methods

VAT control account

Uses of the journal

Payroll transactions and tax/NI/pensions

The average time to complete this course working 10 hours per week is 12 weeks.

The Foundation Award in Accounting Software

The following skills are useful before commencing this course:

Manual Bookkeeping skills

Control account reconcilliations

Basic journal adjustments

The information included in our FREE bookkeeping course will provide you with an understanding of these skills.

The foundation award in accounting software course will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to confidently carry out everyday bookkeeping transactions and tasks using accounting software. This is an ideal qualification for those already working in finance, returning to work after a break or looking to change career.

The qualification can help to gain employment in a financial administration role, gain promotion or for gaining skills to support the financial processes within their own business.


Completing this qualification will provide you with practical accountancy skills in entering accounting transactions into accounting software and reconciling with bank statements. You will be able to set up general ledger accounts for new and existing businesses and process entries including sales and purchase documentation, bank and cash entries and journals.

You will also learn how to produce the various reports which are available within the software packages and gain an understanding of the purpose for these reports.

Training Providers

Again I will refer to the ICS student support and for this course their cost is £270 (March 2019) with an expected completion time of 6 weeks. There will be one 2 hour computer based assessment and you will need to pay the exam fee and the exam centre fee. You will also need to be an AAT registered student.

Course Content

You will be shown how to:

Set up and amend general ledger accounts and add relevant opening balances

Set up and create customer accounts including opening balance information

Set up and create supplier accounts including opening balance information

The processing of sales invoices from source documents and ensuring VAT is posted to the correct account

The processing of sales credit notes from source documents and ensuring VAT is posted to the correct account

Process receipts from customers and allocate the amounts against the opening balances, invoices and credit notes

The processing of purchase invoices from source documents and ensuring VAT is posted to the correct account

The processing of purchase credit notes from source documents and ensuring VAT is posted to the correct account

Process payments to suppliers and allocate the amounts against the opening balances, invoices and credit notes

Process bank and cash receipts ensuring VAT is posted to the correct account

Process bank and cash payments ensuring VAT is posted to the correct account

Set up and process recurring bank receipts

Set up and process recurring bank payments

How to top up petty cash

Process journal entries including the correction of errors, irrecoverable debts etc.

Agree payments and receipts with the bank statements and the processing of unrecorded payments and receipts to reconcile the bank balance at the end of an accounting period

Produce routine customer and supplier reports and be aware of the various reports available from the software

Produce a trial balance and the various general ledger reports available from the software.

I also recommend you to view my article Duties of a Bookkeeper, click here.

Should you have any comments or questions relating to this article, please leave them below and I will be happy to respond.


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