Sébastien Bianchi, lecturer at IFP School's Economics and Management Center
This month, Sébastien Bianchi, a lecturer at IFP School's Economics and Management Center, tells us about a made in IFP School game, a type of "Monopoly" combining learning and creativity. Yet another tool helping IFP School to develop its approach to learning via innovation.
Hello Sébastien, at the end of September, IFP School's Center for Economics and Management started using an accounting training tool in the form of a game. Could you tell us a little more?
Absolutely! We asked a service provider to create a simulation game enabling students to study accounting via the balance sheet and profit and loss account. It has been designed in the form of a board game, which simulates various events in a company's life. Participants manage their own companies and post the appropriate accounting entries. It's a bit like "Monopoly" but with an entries book to keep updated.
What's interesting about this accounting game is its collaborative nature. Individual decisions made by players have no impact on the other players, unlike computer-based simulation tools. Everyone plays for themselves but within an environment whereby they can help each other. It's an approach that is extremely conducive to learning and one that contributes to the development of IFP School's teaching programs in general.
Why did you opt to use this format?
Firstly, the teaching of accounting has always suffered from a poor reputation. While not an inherently complex subject, there is a lot of information to retain and the vocabulary can be forbidding, which can put students off. The aim of this game is to use an interactive approach to win students over to accounting.
Moreover, this format is possible because the learning objective is not to turn students into fully fledged chartered accountants. The purpose is to make sure they are capable of describing the financial structure of the company (assets, debts, cash-flow) using legal accounting statements. If we wanted to go further than this, we would have to introduce additional teaching programs to accompany the game.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of this training?
Accounting can appear abstract at times; the game makes everything real. Students manipulate and record money flows in a concrete way. I think this aspect is fundamental because in economics-based professions, things tend to be relatively virtual. It's also quite simple to use because there is no need for any IT; the training takes place over a single day with a maximum of 20 students per trainer. It's extremely efficient without being overly sophisticated!
On the other hand, students who already have a grounding in accounting often want to go faster and further than the game allows. They want to get into more detail concerning stock management and VAT. So it's important to clearly specify the objective at the start of the session. If not, people can get frustrated.
So what next?
We could undoubtedly incorporate this approach into training programs on entrepreneurship or adapt the model to other subjects. The possibilities are countless because it has been a big success!