CIPFA and AAT team up to provide complete public finance apprenticeship pathway


The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) are working together to deliver a seamless apprenticeship programme for all aspiring public sector finance professionals. 

Combining the joint expertise of these two leading professional bodies, CIPFA and AAT will provide a complete integrated journey, for those just starting out in accountancy through to those aspiring to be a fully qualified chartered accountant. 

Designed within the CIPFA Education and Training Centre (CETC), the apprenticeship pathway will take students initially through AAT’s Advanced (Level 3) and Professional (Level 4) Diplomas in Accounting and then all the way through CIPFA’s established public sector finance professional qualifications. 

Students joining the scheme will benefit from having all their classes taught at the CIPFA training centre in London, by a CIPFA qualified tutor with public sector finance experience. 
Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive of CIPFA, said: “Public sector accountants are the bedrock of the services we all rely on and it is vital therefore that tomorrow’s public finance professionals have access to the best available training today. 

“By collaborating with AAT, we can now take public finance apprenticeship students from the first steps along their career pathway, all the way to being Chartered Public Finance Accountants (CPFA).”

Mark Farrar, Chief Executive of AAT, said: “We are fully committed to being at the heart of apprenticeship solutions that can benefit the accountancy sector – from the perspective of both student and employer. 

“This new scheme will help deliver highly-skilled accounting employees into public sector companies throughout the length and breadth of the country. We look forward to closely working with CIPFA to help nurture the next generation of talent in this sector.”

Case study: from AAT to CIPFA 

Many hundreds of individuals have already succeeded in taking AAT qualifications as part of a CIPFA apprenticeship in order to fuel their progress in accountancy. One of these is Selina Lee, who has been working as a CIPFA Apprentice for Wychavon District Council.
“When I finished my MBA in Finance, I found it very difficult to find a job,” Selina says. “I did some research online, and realised that I needed the AAT qualification if I wanted a job in the finance area. Therefore, I started studying AAT back in 2013 when I was 38 years old.”
As a result of taking on these studies, Selina managed to find the job with the council, helping make decisions on behalf of local communities. While in the role, she has worked with reconciliations, financial statements and treasury management.
“My role has given me an exciting day every day, because I have been able to learn new things from each task,” Selina adds. “It has proved challenging and enjoyable.”
When Selina completes her AAT qualifications, which she is on track to do next month, she intends to move on to take CIPFA qualifications that can lead her towards chartered accountancy status.
“Ultimately, I want to put the knowledge that I am learning into practice,” she adds. “These qualifications could one day lead me on the way to set up my own business.”

Notes to editors


The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) is one of the leading professional accountancy bodies in the UK and the only one which specialises in the public services. It is responsible for the education and training of professional accountants and for their regulation through the setting and monitoring of professional standards.

About AAT

AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) is the UK’s leading qualification and professional body for technical accountants and bookkeepers, and has over 140,000 members in over 100 countries. We offer a range of qualifications that are open to all regardless of previous education or age, such as the AAT Accounting Qualifications that provide a non-degree route into chartered accountancy, and the AAT Bookkeeping Qualifications that can support business growth through accurate and up-to-date financial records. Students encompass a wide range from school and college leavers, to older people hoping to change their career or learn the skills to run their own business.

An AAT Accountant is a qualified accounting professional with the practical and technical skills needed to support businesses with their accounting activities. Typical job roles of an AAT Accountant include: Financial Accountant, Commercial Analyst, Senior Finance Officer, Payroll Manager, VAT Accountant and Tax Supervisor. An AAT Accountant in the UK can sign off the accounts for small companies that meet two out of three of the criteria of turnover less than £10.2m, total assets less than £5.1m and less than 50 employees. Currently over half a million businesses trust AAT Accountants and AAT Bookkeepers to service their accounting requirements.

AAT awards around 90% of all technical qualifications in accounting in the UK, and generous exemptions are provided by many of the senior UK bodies including ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAEW, and ICAS. AAT has been listed in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For 2017.