CAT vs AAT: Difference and Comparison

Accounting is one of those fields that are required in all types of businesses irrespective of what domain or what sector the business is operating in.

Thus accountants and accounting technicians are always in demand. CAT and AAT are the two highly regarded qualifications that are required to become professional accountants.

Key Takeaways

  1. CAT stands for Chartered Accountant, a professional designation for accountants who have completed the required education, training, and professional experience. In contrast, AAT stands for Association of Accounting Technicians, a professional body for accounting technicians.
  2. CATs are qualified to perform a wider range of accounting and financial duties, including auditing and tax planning. In contrast, AATs perform routine accounting tasks such as bookkeeping and payroll.
  3. CAT requires a higher level of education and experience than AAT.


The difference between CAT and AAT is that CAT is an exam that is conducted by ACCA, which is an international organization that implements accounting standards for professional accountants. On the other hand, AAT is a test that is monitored by the Association of Accounting Technicians, which is a London-based organization.


CAT is a professional accounting exam that is a highly regarded qualification for professional accountants. It is administered by ACCA.

ACCA is an international organization that establishes the standards for professional accountants. Thus CAT is an international qualification accepted by companies in all the world’s major countries.

AAT is a test for professional accounting technicians. The test is offered by the Association of Accounting Technicians, which is a London-based organization of professional accountants.

It is a very old organization, and it operates on a global level. The test scores are accepted throughout the UK and also in other commonwealth countries.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCATAAT
DefinitionIt is an international junior-level qualification for professional accountants.It is a test that is required to qualify as a professional accounting technician.
Administering OrganizationCAT is administered by the international organization ACCAThe AAT test is conducted by the Association of Accounting Technicians, which is a London-based organization
AcceptanceCAT is a globally recognized course and is accepted in all major countriesA UK-based organization offers AAT test, and it is accepted in the UK, the US, and all the commonwealth nations
SyllabusCAT syllabus covers all the fundamentals of accountancyAAT syllabus is wider and broader, and it also includes modules on finance
OutcomesCAT qualifiers become members of CAT alumni and can work in different multinational organizations at junior accountant levelsAAT qualifiers can work in different finance fields. They can even pursue Chartered Accountant qualifications.

What is CAT?

CAT stands for Certified Accounting Technicians. It is a qualification offered by the international organization ACCA. CAT is one of the highest qualifications for professional accounting aspirants.

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ACCA, or Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, is an international organization that sponsors CAs and other professional accounting technicians.

The organization influences and establishes rules and standards for accounting professionals across the world. The organization also conducts CAT and other CA qualification exams.

CAT is a junior-level qualification, which is the first step in the path towards becoming a Chartered Accountant. It is an internationally recognized exam, and the qualifiers are accepted to work in many multinational companies.

The syllabus for CAT covers all the fundamentals of accounting. As it is a junior-level qualification offered by ACCA, it also includes the basics of the Chartered Accountancy course as well.

The CAT test is not a recognized standard of the Department of Trade and Industry. Thus although CAT qualifiers are eligible for working in the accounting department, they cannot work in the broader finance domain.

Yet CAT is considered an international qualification for aspiring CAs. Many students pursue CA after qualifying for the CAT test, as it gives them the required leverage for the qualification.

chartered accountant

What is AAT?

AAT is an internationally recognized test for aspiring accounting technicians. The Association of Accounting Technicians, a London-based accounting organization, organizes the test.

AAT is one of the oldest accounting organizations of its kind, and hence it is a ruling organization that influences the accounting standards and rules around the world.

AAT organization establishes the standard practices and rules for accountants and CAs around the world. Thus accounting departments in different countries and companies are modelled after the standards of the AAT.

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Thus AAT test is one of the highest qualifications for aspiring professional accountants. The test is widely recognized across different countries, and thus the qualifiers are eligible for work in the UK, the US, and many other commonwealth countries.

A benefit of the AAT test is that the Department of Trade and Industry also recognizes it in many countries. Thus qualifying students are also eligible to work in the government finance departments as well.

The syllabus for the test is also more advanced and broader as compared to other tests, such as the CAT. Along with the basic fundamentals of accounting, the AAT syllabus also contains modules from finance and commerce as well.


Main Differences Between CAT and AAT

  1. CAT is an international junior-level qualification for accountants. AAT is a qualifying test for professional accountants.
  2. ACCA monitors CAT. The Association of Accounting Technicians organizes AAT.
  3. CAT I is a globally recognized course, and it is accepted in all major countries. AAT test scores are accepted in the UK, the US and other Commonwealth countries.
  4. The CAT syllabus covers all the fundamentals of accountancy. The AAT syllabus is more advanced and broader than the CAT syllabus.
  5. CAT qualifiers are eligible to work in the accounting department of many different companies. AAT qualifiers can work in the finance fields as well as pursue CA courses.
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Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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11 thoughts on “CAT vs AAT: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Accounting is indeed a serious profession and it is very interesting to know that there are internationally recognized courses for accountants such as CAT and AAT.


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