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Difference between CAT and AAT

Difference between CAT and AAT

There are many different types of accounting certifications available, but two of the most common are CAT and AAT. Both certifications offer excellent career opportunities, but there are some key differences between them. In this blog post, we will explore those differences and help you decide which certification is right for you.

What is CAT?

  • CAT Certified Accounting Technician is a globally recognized accounting credential that demonstrates that an individual has the skills and knowledge to perform accounting tasks at a technician level. CAT is a computer-based examination, and candidates must achieve a passing score in order to earn the CAT credential. CAT is offered by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (ICPA) and is open to all interested individuals, regardless of their country of residence or nationality.
  • In order to sit for CAT, candidates must first register with ICPA. Once registered, candidates will have access to CAT study materials and can schedule their examination at a time and location that is convenient for them. CAT is comprised of two parts: Part 1 covers Financial Accounting, and Part 2 covers Management Accounting. Candidates must pass both parts in order to earn the CAT credential. For more information on CAT, including how to register and prepare for the examination, please visit the ICPA website.

What is AAT?

  • AAT Association of Accounting Technicians is AAT is a professional membership body for accounting technicians. AAT Accounting Technicians provide valuable services across all sectors, from small businesses and sole traders to large corporations. AAT members are employed in a variety of roles such as bookkeepers, accounting technicians, payroll administrators, and self-employed AAT Licensed Accountants.
  • AAT’s mission is to promote and develop the profession of accounting technicians, and to support and inspire members to achieve their full potential. AAT memberships offer many benefits including access to exclusive resources, networking opportunities, CPD, and discounts on AAT products and services. AAT Licensed Accountants also have the opportunity to use the AAT Professional title and post-nominal letters. AAT Licensed Accountants are highly valued by employers for their technical expertise and commitment to professional development.

Difference between CAT and AAT

  • CAT and AAT are both professional qualifications in accounting, CAT being offered by ICAEW and AAT by ACCA. Both qualifications will develop your ability to work with figures and give you the skills to work as an accountant or in another finance-related role. However, there are some key differences between the two qualifications. CAT is a shorter qualification, taking on average just over a year to complete, whereas AAT can take up to two years.
  • CAT is also more focused on academic theory, with examinations taken at the end of each module, whereas AAT has a more practical focus, with assessments taken throughout the course. As a result, CAT may be better suited if you are looking for a qualification that will lead to further study, such as a degree in accounting or finance, whereas AAT may be better suited if you are looking for a qualification that will help you get started in your career in accounting or finance.


The Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) designation is a globally recognized accounting certification, while the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) is a United Kingdom-based organization. Both CAT and AAT offer similar levels of training and certification in accounting principles and practices. However, the AAT also offers specialized courses in topics such as bookkeeping, auditing, and taxation. If you are looking for an internationally recognized accounting designation that covers all aspects of practical accounting knowledge, then the CAT may be right for you. If you are interested in pursuing a more specialized education in UK-specific accounting topics, then the AAT may be a better fit.

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