Game on: Business students apply fundamentals in ‘Accounting for Monopoly’

Sophomore business major Michelle Pho was in her financial accounting class at 8 a.m. on a recent Tuesday, trying to decide whether she should buy the Pennsylvania Railroad.

A few desks away, Wayne LaPlante, a sophomore business major, is entering into his general journal the $80 in rental income he collects on New York Avenue.

Around a classroom at the Pulichino Tong Business Center, a small group of students rolls dice and moves silver top hats and racing cars on a game board while playing Monopoly Accounting, an activity created by an adjunct faculty member rashida motiwala To help students in entry-level courses better understand the fundamentals of the accounting profession.

“Accounting lectures tend to be more factual — there’s not a lot of room for imagination or creativity,” said Motiwala, who taught Manning School of Business more than ten years.

By adapting the classic Monopoly board game and translating each move into an accounting transaction, Motiwalla hopes to engage students by enabling them to connect the concepts they learn in class to business situations they might encounter in the real world.

A woman wearing glasses talks to students sitting in class
Photo by Ed Brennen

Adjunct faculty member Rashida Motiwalla answers students’ questions during a pilot run of “Monopoly Accounting” in her class.

“Monopoly Accounting” is just a step away Accounting Department is sparking student interest in a field that is experiencing a nationwide decline in enrollment.

according to a 2021 Report According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the number of students completing a bachelor’s degree in accounting in the United States has gradually declined from 56,715 in 2016 to 52,481 in 2020. While the pandemic and a demographic decline in the number of college-age students are factors, the report says business schools need to do more to attract and retain students.

At Manning College, accounting faculty are doing this in several ways, according to department chairs and professors. Kantkar Karim.Among them: Incorporating data analytics into the curriculum, refocusing the content of intermediate courses, and adding three new options to the Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) program—Business Analytics, International Business, and Corporate Accounting Leadership

The department also hosts prominent speakers such as AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon and FASB member Christine Botosan, and has created an industry speaker series that includes Darlene Steffen ’76, a certified alumni Finance Planner and John Geraci ’97, managing partner of LGA Accounting LLP.

Two men in suits and glasses shaking hands while posing for a photo
Photo by Ed Brennen

Accounting Department Chair and Professor Khondkar Karim (left) welcomes AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon to University Crossing in 2019.

“These initiatives give students a clear understanding of the accounting profession, the business of auditing, accounting techniques and disclosure issues,” Karim said.

Associate Professor.professor Meanwhile, Karen Lin was recently appointed Director of Undergraduate Student Success in the department. In October, she organized a luncheon recognizing 11 accounting students Those who have received scholarships in the past year. She also accompanied a dozen accounting and finance students to the Institute of Management Accounting’s annual student leadership conference in Pittsburgh this fall.

Lin said the trip gave her a better understanding of “how to enhance students’ experiential learning.”

gamified accounting

“Monopoly Accounting” isn’t the first time teachers have incorporated games into their classrooms. Last year, Associate Professor.teaching professor Laura Christiansen Created a “Jeopardy!” game to help her financial accounting class students study for their final exam—an idea she borrowed from Assoc.professor Stephanie Tate.

“They did really well on the final exam,” said Christiansen, who plans to use the game again this semester for three parts of the class. “Students who haven’t talked to each other all semester get together. They’re super competitive.”

A closeup shot of a man counting the money of a monopoly with a calculator on the table in front of him
Photo by Ed Brennen

The students had to enter each Monopoly move into a general journal, which they then converted into a balance sheet and income statement.

This fall, in Motiwalla’s financial accounting class, students will have to convert an in-game general journal sheet into T-accounts (a method of organizing and summarizing transactions in a general ledger) as homework. Then they created the balance sheet and income statement.

“Accounting is so important, even if you don’t plan to become an accounting major,” says Motiwala, a tax partner at LGA. “If you run a business, you need to be able to read financial statements. If you’re going to manage your finances, you need to be able to create a budget.”

Motiwalla ran a business model simulation for several weeks after “monopoly accounting”. Students sell school supplies such as notebooks and pens at the Manning School, then work on the inventory management, cash management, accounts payable or accounts receivable teams. She plans to cover other games in future classes and share course content with other accounting teachers.

After the trial run of “Monopoly Accounting”, almost all the students in Motiwara felt that the class time was well spent.

A young man moves pieces on a Monopoly board while another player in a pink sweatshirt looks on
Photo by Ed Brennen

Students said the “Monopoly Accounting” game was a nice break from traditional lectures.

Junior marketing student Lessly Cabrera grew up playing Monopoly. She finds it “an engaging and productive break from the traditional approach of lectures and assignments”—and helps solidify concepts.

“For example, I think about someone paying my rent and then automatically think the rental income has increased,” said the Brockton, Mass., native. “But playing games and exchanging counterfeit money reminded me that I was debiting cash and crediting rental income.”

Like several of his classmates, sophomore finance major Harrison Regan admits he was “a bit confused at first” about the activity.

“I don’t really know how to apply accounting to Monopoly, but now it makes sense,” said the Chelmsford, Mass., native who won his group’s competition with a $1,030 toy bill. “I wish the lessons were longer so my team and I could play longer.”

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