Welcome to the coffeehouse: A team accounting challenge

Critical thinking skills are crucial for success in accounting. This week-to-week challenge helps students further develop those skills by putting them in charge of running a local coffee shop chain. Students will work through real-world business and accounting situations by evaluating and making strategic decisions that affect the company’s bottom line.

Each week (for up to 12 weeks), you’ll present a situation to your class that touches on one of the business areas accountants contend with, such as management, marketing, operations and finance. Working in teams (of 3-5), students must discuss the situation and the proposed strategic options for dealing with that situation. In addition to selecting the option they think is best for the company based on the details provided, teams will also create lists of additional questions they would ask, information they would need and factors they should consider in making that decision. The depth of these lists will depend on how much weekly class time you’d like to devote to the challenge. 

Once teams have made their decisions and compiled their lists, you’ll lead a class discussion (using the included Teacher’s Notes) about which of the three options would be best for the company. Discussions should revolve around supporting rationale for the best decision, reasoning as to why the other options weren’t as strong and what students were able to come up with for their lists. Sharing these lists as a class will not only present additional discussion topics as they relate to curriculum, but also allow students to learn from one another and see how their natural curiosity can be used in a career in accounting.

Click ‘Download’ on the upper right of this page to access the challenge. Educators: Please ensure you are logged in to access additional classroom instructions. If you have any questions, you may contact us at startheregoplaces@aicpa-cima.com.

*Please note: The businesses named in this activity and the information about them are totally fictional. Any likeness to actual businesses is completely coincidental.