Birmingham City University has used a specially adapted Sage Qualifications course to help give Accounting students crucial skills for the future.

When Birmingham City University (BCU) was looking to update its Accounting and Finance curriculum, it began to reconsider its use of accounting software. The university had previously created its own exercises based on Sage software, which students completed as a part of their coursework. However, BCU struggled to find tutors with suitable expertise. Paul Caulfield, a teaching fellow at the university’s business school, decided to investigate the possibilities for a self-taught course.

“I very quickly found out about the Sage Qualifications courses,” says Caulfield. “At that point I got in contact and found that they were very positive, very accommodating. They adapted the course for our first year students, creating a qualification which allowed us to support student’s aspirations without dedicated experts.”

The ongoing inclusion of a self-taught course delivered via an online portal by Sage Qualifications has since proved popular with students, and a major attraction to those considering joining BCU.

“I had a great experience taking the Sage Qualifications course, as it gave me a chance to look into the real-world examples and learn in the most realistic way possible,” says Reneta Atanasova, a second-year Accounting and Finance student. “It’s given me confidence that that I have chosen the right path in studying at BCU.”

“Students have said that it’s part of the reason they’ve come to BCU. It’s quite competitive for students in Birmingham, with three universities to pick from, so this helps give us that little bit of an edge to try and attract them,” says Caulfield.

This flexibility was especially useful during the coronavirus outbreak.

And such has been the success of the Sage elements of the degree course, Sage Qualifications is helping BCU in its plans to make the course available to students outside the university. Caulfield says: “We feel that there’s a market there, especially for people who don’t have time to go once a week to a class in the daytime or evening. And as a good customer, Sage Qualifications will allow us to offer the course at the same price as for students. They’ve been supportive, and very flexible. It’s a top service.”

This flexibility was especially useful during the coronavirus outbreak. As universities became subject first to social distancing measures and then students having to stay in their homes, Sage Qualifications responded quickly, creating new and different ways of testing, including the capability to conduct assessments remotely. “They’ve worked marvellously with me to get all the details right and allow students to access the course from home,” says Caulfield.