6 Ideas to Make Your Accounting or Finance Course More Engaging

6 Ideas to Make Your Accounting and Finance Courses More Engaging

From illustrating concepts with real-world examples to utilizing interactive simulations, here are expert ideas on making accounting and finance courses more engaging:

1. Make it Relatable

To engage the students in my finance classes, I use examples and weekly mini-assignments to illustrate the use of key concepts in their everyday lives. 

For example, the time value of money drives many of today’s corporate decisions. Unfortunately, bond valuation and capital budgeting have little relation to their lives. I illustrate these concepts by showing the importance of starting a retirement fund immediately after graduation, calculating the differences in retirement account totals starting today, delaying 10 years, waiting 20 years, and beginning in 30 years to start saving. 

We also talk about the monthly payment to buy a car or a house, the valuation difference given a choice of a gift at graduation or delaying a gift of a larger amount after earning an MBA, how to compute the real interest earned on a CD or the real cost of interest on credit card debt, the long-term effects of “benign” interest, and other examples.

Bob Wood, Professor of Finance, University of South Alabama

2. Flip the Classroom

One method I unequivocally endorse is the “flipped classroom” model —flipping the traditional model on its head. Students do their theory of finance at home, and then, in class, it’s time to trade, study case studies, or discuss current financial headlines. 

Flipping the classroom, professors create an active, unpredictable environment akin to a trading floor, but through this technique, instruction is invigorated and students are equipped with the type of on-the-ground competency that is necessary for the mastery of finance — and that they will need well after college or university to boost their career prospects. It also helps develop a deeper understanding of how it works: the students are learning to think and react with the agility that is otherwise found in a day trader.

Kevin Huffman, Day Trader and Owner, Kriminil Trading

3. Incorporate Friendly Competition

Spark friendly competition by playing games. Accounting and finance are notorious for being very serious and brainy courses, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Professors can incorporate games during class to make the course fun and engaging, without sacrificing the quality of education students receive. This will make it possible for students to have fun while learning, and vice versa.

Get creative with putting together accounting- and finance-related games. It can be team games with a championship match at the end of the course, or a best-of-the-best type of game. Making it a friendly competition is the trick to keeping the course interesting and to enticing everyone to participate, because no one likes losing, after all.

Baidhurya Mani, Founder, SellCoursesOnline

4. Analyze Real-World Business Scenarios and News

In my opinion, incorporating project-based learning that aligns with current events in the finance world can greatly enhance student engagement in accounting and finance courses. One strategy is to assign projects that require students to analyze and present recent financial news, mergers, acquisitions, or market trends. 

This approach not only keeps the coursework relevant and up-to-date but also encourages students to stay informed about the financial world. Projects can be tailored to require a combination of financial analysis, forecasting, and strategic planning, mirroring the multifaceted nature of finance professions. 

Encouraging students to use a variety of sources and present their findings to the class promotes critical thinking, research skills, and public speaking. This method makes learning more dynamic and prepares students for the realities of the finance industry.

Jim Pendergast, Senior Vice President, altLINE

Read “5 Real-World Projects to Engage Your Financial Accounting Students” for resources for your course!

5. Role Play Financial Scenarios

Drawing from my experience in finance, I’d recommend that finance professors integrate role-playing activities to inject enthusiasm into their courses. This involves creating simulated scenarios where students assume various financial roles, such as investment analysts or corporate finance managers. 

Students can practically apply theoretical concepts through these scenarios, fostering a more engaging and interactive learning experience. This strategy not only makes the coursework enjoyable but also provides students with valuable insights into the complexities of real-world financial decision-making.

Michael Ashley, Finance Expert and Founder, Richiest.com

6. Engage with Interactive Simulations

One strategy I’ve found particularly effective in making courses more engaging is the incorporation of interactive simulations and games. This approach transforms traditional, often theoretical concepts into practical, hands-on learning experiences.

Interactive simulations, such as stock market games or business management simulations, allow students to apply accounting and finance principles in a controlled, yet dynamic environment. For example, using a stock market simulation game, students can manage a portfolio of stocks, making buying and selling decisions based on real-time data. This not only reinforces their understanding of market fluctuations and investment strategies but also introduces an element of competition and excitement to the learning process.

Similarly, business management simulations that require students to make financial decisions for a virtual company can be highly engaging. These simulations often encompass various aspects of business operations, from budgeting and forecasting to financial reporting. By taking on the role of a financial manager or accountant within these simulations, students can see the direct impact of their decisions on the virtual company’s financial health, encouraging them to think critically and strategically.

Michael Dion, Chief Finance Nerd, F9 Finance

Use Stukent Resources to Incorporate Expert Ideas In Your Course

With Stukent® Simternships™, students step into the roles of accountants, business professionals, entrepreneurs, and more. They get hands-on experience with real-world tasks. It’s a powerful, engaging way to cement learning.

“I felt like Stukent helped me to grow as a better student and better future accountant,” said Elle Ratliff, a student at Baylor University who used the Financial Accounting Simternship. “The simulation was so lifelike that it was easy to imagine myself as an accountant in the real business world.

And Stukent courseware takes the textbook to the next level. Stukent pairs an accessible, annually updated text with educational resources built with you in mind. Your courseware includes ready-made lesson plans, lecture slide decks, auto-graded quizzes, Expert Sessions videos on demand, and more to help take the pain out of course prep.

To learn about Stukent’s first-in-the-world Simternships and courseware and to get FREE instructor access to Stukent materials, visit our website.

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