Moreover, almost 40% of employees admit they search online to work out how to do their jobs better in their own time.
The survey found a fifth of managers think training their staff will just help them develop their own careers - rather than benefiting their current role.
The research included 2,000 people, half being employees and the other half being managers working in finance/accountancy-related roles.
It also found that 30% of staff (912,513) have never had any form of work-related finance training.
Almost three-quarters (72%) want to learn more at work to help them do their existing jobs better, and 46% of workers agreed training would increase their productivity.
Mark Farrar, Chief Executive of the AAT, said most UK employees are spending a tiny amount of their time at work improving their skills through any form of formal training or accredited learning.
“With UK labour productivity falling at the fastest pace since 2008, there has never been a more important time to focus on helping our workers up-skill,” he added.
“Yet, there are fundamental differences in how employees and managers approach workplace learning, meaning workers are currently spending more time on tea breaks than training.”
Both employers and employees believe time is the biggest barrier to training, followed by funding and finding the right training.
However, 75% of employees and 80% of employers agree that their company could afford to invest more in training needs.
It also found that 70% of those polled said external training brings in new ideas to a team and business, while 46% think it is better planned and better delivered than any internal training.
|AAT Employees training report
Barriers to training
|Finding the right training
|Support from line manager
|Convincing my employer it’s good for business
More than one million (1,064,598) of the UK's employees are dedicating more time to tea breaks than to work-based training, according to a study by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).