Finance Boardgame Exercises to Build Financial Acumen

Finance is the language of business.  Whether your high-potential leaders actually work in the Finance department or whether they work in HR, IT, Operations, or Legal, financial terminology is used to describe the performance of the business.  But finance can be complex, confusing, and hard to understand.

We’ve developed an approach to help participants in our business simulation classes deepen their understanding of finance.  We embed a finance boardgame exercise into our agendas to get attendees hands-on with the numbers, literally.  It’s tactile, it clarifies common financial misunderstandings, and it even makes finance fun!

The simple tool and exercise produces surprisingly powerful results.  The exercise can be completed within 45-minutes as part of an existing agenda, or as a stand-alone 3-hour course.

Here’s an overview of how a finance boardgame exercise works:

  1. A live 45-minute exercise with several teams of 3-5 attendees.
  2. Typically inserted into the agenda after the Finance lecture.
  3. Teams move poker chips representing money on a ~2’x3’ gameboard that represents an Income Statement and a Balance Sheet.
  4. The exercise demonstrates the flow of money through specific scenarios such as the sale of a product, the financial impact of paying an insurance claim, the purchase and depreciation of a piece of equipment, etc.
  5. The exercise brings the financial statements to life and immerses participants into the details of the transactions as they actively move chips across the statements.

Click here to watch a video-demonstration of an insurance carrier finance boardgame.

And here’s a sample of a 3-hour agenda we’ve used with our insurance carrier customers:

  1. 60 minutes – Overview of Income Statement and Balance Sheet and 2-3 Financial Ratios (specific to an insurance carrier)
  2. 60 minutes – Insurance Scenarios:
    • Sell a 1-year insurance policy
    • 2 years later pay a loss
    • Under-reserved!
  3. 10 minutes – break
  4. 45 minutes – 10-K analysis of 2 insurance carriers