tablet-alt-solid CFO Challenge - Accounting Simulation

Overview of Simulation

In this Management Accounting Simulation, students act as the finance management team of a global company, trading in watches. They are initially tasked with completing internal audits and external analysis of each of the market segments their company operates in: smart watches, luxury watches, modern watches and sports watches. 
The next stage is for teams to decide on their strategy: creating, implementing and then adapting their business plan throughout each round of the simulation (equivalent to one-year) in order to improve financial performance.

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Practical Management Accounting For Students

CFO Challenge is a management accounting simulation provides students studying finance-related disciplines with the opportunity to test financial and accountancy models and concepts within a realistic practical environment. 

The simulation is played across five rounds in which students need to regularly analyse the financial performance of their company and respond to internal and external changes that could impact their company's financial strength. 


Students work in teams within the simulation and take on senior roles within the company's finance department. Within this setting, students need to determine their team members’ roles within the finance team. For example, one team member could be the CFO, monitoring the overall financials for each round, and planning out the necessary investments and costs. Other team members could take the roles of CEO, Finance Manager, Management Accountant, or the Operations Manager.

Alternatively, roles can be divided into different market segments, allowing team members to monitor the financials for the market they have responsibility for e.g. the smart watch market, or the luxury watch market etc.

In the end all team members share the responsibility of reaching the targets they have set themselves in the Balanced Scorecard. 

Developing Students' Financial Analysis Skills 

In order to be successful in this simulation, calculations need to be made to achieve the best possible outcome for your company. One key calculation is based on sales and inventory: students need to calculate the cost per unit for each supplier they choose for each segment and calculate what the potential financial impact would be.

Each supplier has strengths and weaknesses, some are high quality and dependable but with a high price, while others are low quality but with a low price. By estimating the cost per unit for each supplier they are able to choose the amount they wish to purchase, while also taking into account the demand they need to service. This is just one of the many calculations that can be made within the simulations, with some others being HR-based (salaries, training, no of employees), as well as R&D costs, and marketing. All other costs can be viewed in the results page, with detailed figures. 


  • Students gain a greater understanding of financial management, applying theories, concepts, and models to their companies. 
  • Students develop and utilise effective team-working, financial analysis, and numerical skills.
  • Students are able to understand the various functions within a business and how finance-based decisions affect their performance. 
  • Students are able to reflect and appraise their decisions after each round to consider what went well and what did not go so well. 


The CFO Challenge simulation is usually assessed in several ways. Below you will find the most popular options:

  • Students design a new finance strategy for the next financial year based on their performance in the simulation. 
  • Individual students provide a reflective report on their role within the simulation, highlighting areas of strength and areas for improvement, decisions that went well and decisions that did not go well, and how they would do this differently next time.  
  • Written group report in which the teams write down each round what decisions they have taken and what they think the outcomes will be. They reflect on the decisions made during each round and continue logging this throughout the simulation.
  • Students conduct a 360 Peer Assessment in which students have to allocate a hundred points
    among their fellow team mates based on their contribution.
  • Students have to audit one of their fellow students' companies and need to outline their auditing approach, what they need to see and who they need to liaise with. 


Student levels: Undergraduate
 Modules: Management Accounting, Introduction to Finance, Financial Management, Financial Planning
Languages: nl gb 

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WHY CHOOSE An Accounting Simulation?

In an accounting simulation, theoretical models are put into practice. They provide participants with a unique experience in which team-working, analytical thinking and insight, and decision-making skills are trained and tested throughout each round, enabling student-led and experiential learning.


  • 20 years' experience of delivering business simulations
  • Working with over 300 universities worldwide
  • In-house operations support throughout the simulation, taking the administrative burden away from Lecturers
  • Updated simulations to reflect current affairs and markets

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