Transaction Analysis Tic-Tac-Toe

Susan M. Moncada, Ph.D., CPA, Indiana State University
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Initial Publication Date: August 17, 2010


Transaction analysis is the process of identifying the specific effects of economic events on the accounting equation. Each transaction at a minimum has a dual effect on the accounting equation and it must always remain in balance. Students enrolled in principles of financial accounting courses need practice applying these concepts and playing tic-tac-toe helps to accomplish this task in a novel way. The game utilizes PowerPoint hyperlinked slides to emulate the game of tic-tac-toe. Instructors can also modify the tic-tac-toe questions to serve their individual needs.

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Learning Goals

As a result of completing this worksheet, students should be able to:
  • Analyze the effect of business transactions on the expanded accounting equation:
Assets = Liabilities + [Stockholders Equity + Revenues – Expenses]

Context for Use

This worksheet is designed to be used after students studying principles of financial accounting have been introduced to the following concepts:
  • Mathematical formulas that form the income statement, statement of retained earnings, and balance sheet.
  • Accounting equation and the accounts comprising each category
  • A basic understanding of transaction analysis prior to the recognition of adjusting entries. No adjusting entry transaction analysis items are included in this game.

Implementation options.
Transaction Analysis Tic-Tac-Toe can be used:
  1. As an in-class game for drill and practice or review with students divided into two teams. As an alternative, if students have laptop computers they can bring to class, then multiple teams can be formed with a pair of students playing the game.
  2. As a supplementary activity completed by students for drill and practice outside of class.

Description and Teaching Materials

Transaction Analysis Tic-Tac-Toe PowerPoint slides. (Rules and instruction for using the presentation to play tic-tac-toe are included on slides 2-3.) Transaction Analysis Tic-Tac-Toe (revised 6/21/11) (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 259kB Jun22 11)

Use this Tic-Tac-Toe Template to enter your own questions and responses.Tic-Tac-Toe Template (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 259kB Jun22 11)

Teaching Notes and Tips

  • Instructors need to practice running the tic-tac-toe game to become adept at where to click on each screen so that the game executes properly. Once the game is launched, clicking on the white areas of any screen will cause the game sequencing to malfunction. Similarly, displaying the wrong winner of a square cannot be corrected.

How the game is intended to be played once launched.

  • Each tic-tac-toe square links to a 3-response multiple choice question. Selecting a response hyperlinks to positive or negative feedback. Clicking the return button takes players back to either the question screen or tic-tac-toe game board depending on its use.
  • The calling team selects any square. If the item is answered correctly, the calling team wins the square. Selection passes to the competitive team.
  • Should the calling team miss the question, the competing team is allowed to steal the square by answering correctly. If the competing team also selects the incorrect response, the square goes to the calling team. Under both circumstances, the next square selected passes to the competitive team.
  • Process is repeated until a team achieves a tic-tac-toe.


Playing the tic-tac-toe provides for formative assessment as students can monitor their understanding of specific transaction analysis as the game progresses in class.

References and Resources

Kimmel, P. D., Weygandt, J. J. & Kieso, D. E. (2009). Accounting Tools for Business Decision Making, 3rd edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.