Learning accounting the fun way

A Sri Lankan introduces The Bottom Line, a game about business transactions for students
By Hansini Munasinghe

“When I was young I dreaded Accounting,” said Lakshman De Silva, the mastermind behind the new accountancy game, The Bottom Line. Designed for students of the Ordinary Level and beyond, it is a fun and easy way to learn accounting, he says.

“I always wanted to see things in shapes and colours. I could not understand the notes in the books until I drew everything on a big board,” explained Mr. De Silva. It was this experience that motivated him to create this game for students.

Spread across a big game board of laminated accounts and ledgers, The Bottom Line is played using cards, two special ten-sided dice and a pen of erasable ink. Each player is given a chance to pick up a card that describes the nature of a business transaction, and to roll the dice to decide the value of the transaction. Then he or she must enter it in the books. Each player is allowed a designated amount of time to enter as many transactions as possible. At the end of the game, each player’s accounts are checked for balance and the winner is selected according to the best accountancy skills. If there is a tie, the winner is decided according to the highest profit and net assets, explained Mr. De Silva.

The Bottom Line has two levels of game play. In Level One, the game cards have a description and a code number alongside the business transaction that can be used as a reference when entering the accounts. But in Level Two, the players are only given a description of each business deal, and he or she must use his or her knowledge of accountancy to decide in which accounts the entries must be made. Mr. De Silva explained that this allows students to first play Level One to familiarize themselves with each type of transaction and then test their knowledge at Level Two. He is also planning on introducing an even more realistic third level of game play that will also include taxes.

Over the past two decades, his work and travel have taken him across the African continent to countries like Kenya, Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland. “Wildlife and loafing” are my passions, he says. Interestingly, he also worked as a script writer for the film Dadayama (1984), and his love of the cinema has followed him all the way to New Zealand where he now lives with his family.

His game, Bottom Line, was first introduced to a school in Wellington, New Zealand, where it soon became popular amongst students and teachers. Mr. De Silva has decided to bring this idea with him to Sri Lanka and to launch the game on a commercial level. Bottom Line is priced at Rs. 1995 and available at the Lakehouse Bookshop.

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