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Emma Woods, Shropshire, UK I am employed by Whittingham Riddell LLP, a firm of chartered accountants

I am employed by Whittingham Riddell LLP, a firm of chartered accountants, as a semi senior in the Business Services team. I manage an accounts preparation portfolio of small/medium sized companies, partnerships and sole traders. I am also involved in training clients and staff members on bookkeeping and tax software. After completing my A levels, I went straight into an accountancy apprenticeship and started studying for the AAT qualification. I completed AAT and went on to study for the ACCA qualification with Kaplan, qualifying a week before I enrolled onto the Oxford Brookes degree. I waited until I was fully qualified before I started the course to ensure that I could focus all my attention on my degree.

Why I chose to do the Oxford Brookes degree
I chose to complete the Oxford Brookes degree because having moved straight from college into full time employment; I missed out on the chance to obtain a degree. I believe a degree is an invaluable qualification and so I felt I could not pass up on this great opportunity. Additionally, as the class of degree is based upon the results achieved in the ACCA papers F4-F9, I knew I had gained sufficient marks that would enable me to obtain a first class honours degree. This therefore gave me the confidence to undertake the degree rather than starting from scratch with another university, where my previous hard work towards my ACCA qualification would not have been taken into account.

Why I decided to have an online mentor
I chose an online mentor because this gave me the option of having my classes and meetings in the evenings and meant that I would not need to have any time off work. It was also cheaper to attend an online class as I did not need to incur travel costs to attend classes. This was important because I had to cover all the costs myself.

How I organised my studies
Kaplan was very helpful in organising my studies using the online features. There were deadlines and targets for each week and it was all broken down into manageable sections. Without this structure I feel that I would have tried to complete everything at once and I would have been overwhelmed with the workload. Each mentor meeting set various targets to achieve by the next meeting and gave feedback on whether I was on target for the submission deadline. This helped focus my studies and kept me on track. In addition, the 12 week online programme meant that I had the same structure as Kaplan had provided with my ACCA exams, which helped with the transition from exam study to preparing my project.

My favourite elements about the course
My favourite part of the degree programme was the 15 minute webcam presentation to my mentor and other students. I really enjoyed this aspect as it enabled me to use my Powerpoint skills and present an overview of my project to the other students and obtain their feedback. I also enjoyed the online lecture casts as I found these were very easy to use and I could view them at my own pace as many times as I needed. Furthermore, I liked having access to a large online library which meant that I could do my research at home. Having all the resources online meant that they were readily accessible anywhere and made my learning experience even better.

My hopes for the future
Now that I have obtained my first class honours degree through Kaplan, I hope to be able to use my degree to differentiate myself from others and use my skills obtained in completing the degree to further my career. Finally, I am looking forward to my graduation ceremony where I will be able to wear my cap and gown and make my family proud.

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