Alive and kicking;Secondary;Reviews;General;Books

5th June 1998 at 01:00
FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING. CD-Rom. PC pound;12. YITM, The Television Centre, Kirkstall Road, Leeds LS3 1JS. Tel: 0113 222 8360

Teachers of business studies want to bring their subject alive. Accounting prin-ciples, recording transactions, stock valuation and ration analysis are all features of the Advanced GNVQ and A-level business studies and can be somewhat dull to teach.

What brings a syllabus to life is showing how the component parts affect business activity and the people involved. Finance and Accounting, the second CD-Rom in the Interactive Business Series, succeeds in explaining the relationship between finance and accounting and the stakeholders, inside and outside business.

Designed as a teaching aid for vocational A-level business studies and NVQ level 3, the CD-Rom is a new opportunity for students to explore the world of accounting. It is divided into three sections: a financial management simulation, a theory section covering the accounting requirements for professional and academic courses, and a set of book-keeping exercises and printable accounting templates.

The simulation, which can be played at three levels, forms a role-playing game where you assume the role of a financial officer for an apple juice business called Zapple. The player is put in the role of a student on placement for 15 months in the office responsible for accounting decisions. An in-tray provides tasks that require decisions to be made. The player has to apply accounting techniques to arrive at solutions, and decisions are recorded on the screen.

The section on who adds value in an organisation is not easy. The user is asked to con-sider making some depart-ments - at Zapple and at their own school, college or local hospital - redundant or the buying of specialist services. The user is asked to work out such ques-tions as, "What is the main added value in the organi-sation?" and "Who on the staff provides the most added value?" Provocative stuff.

Richard Evans

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