The AIS Transaction Cycles Game

Susan M. Moncada, Ph.D., CPA
Indiana State University
Author Profile
Initial Publication Date: April 2, 2012


An accounting system consists of business processes which can be described as interrelated sets of structured activities performed by an entity to create value. The execution of business processes involves a logical time sequence and may require employees, external parties, resources, data, documents, and machines. Business processes are triggered by some economic event and have clearly defined starting and ending points. To learn about business processes various models have been developed to describe them. The Transaction Cycle model is one way to view basic business processes. The purpose of The AIS Transaction Cycles Game is to provide drill and practice or review of the elements that comprise the five typical transaction cycles identified as: revenue, expenditure, production, human resources/payroll, and financing. The game is based on the game called Connect 4. AIS Trans Cycle board image

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Learning Goals

As a result of studying course materials and completing this activity, students should be able to:
Determine which business process elements are associated with the revenue, expenditure, production, human resources/payroll, and financing/investing cycles.

Context for Use

The specific cycles within the Transaction Cycle model tend to differ somewhat among the accounting information systems' textbook authors. While the components of the Revenue, Expenditure, and Production Cycles are fairly standard, the remaining cycles can differ substantially. The AIS Transaction Cycle Game is primarily based on the model described by Romney & Steinbart, in the 12th edition of their Accounting Information Systems textbook.
  • Romney & Steinbart's version of the Transaction Cycle model along with those presented by of the other authors tends to ignore investing activities. As a result the Financing Cycle in the AIS Transaction Cycles Game has been renamed Financing/Investing Cycle in order to include investing activities, such as fixed asset and investment management.
  • In other versions of the model, the Production Cycle is sometimes called the Conversion Cycle. The terms are synonymous in this game.
  • The Payroll Cycle is sometimes an independent cycle or included with the Human Resources Cycle. In The AIS Transaction Cycles Game, payroll has been included in the Human Resources Cycle.

Description and Teaching Materials

  • The AIS Transaction Cycles Game (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 523kB Apr2 12) is an interactive PowerPoint presentation modeled after Connect 4. The game requires two players or teams, red and yellow. The 7 x 7 game board contains 49 circular slots or cells into which game chips are dropped. Each cell is tied to a transaction cycle element. When a team selects the correct transaction cycle to which the element belongs, the team gets to drop its chips (yellow or red), into its position on the game board. Should an incorrect answer be given, the cell remains unclaimed, and play progresses to the other team. The first player or team to align four chips consecutively, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, wins the game.
  • User instructions for the Instructor (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 350kB Apr2 12). This document contains detailed instructions for playing the game, modifying content or using the blank template to create a new game.
  • Blank Game Template (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 231kB Apr2 12). This template can be used to create a game on any topic in for any discipline.

Teaching Notes and Tips

The AIS Transaction Cycles Game is intended for reinforcing concepts previously taught. For homework prior to the class during with the game will be played, students should be required to become familiar with the elements of the various business processes that comprise the Transaction Cycle model. The game can be used for drill and practice or review purposes in class with the instructor serving as the moderator. Additionally, the game could be posted online through a course learning system for students to download and play in pairs during class time.

While any game board slot can be chosen at any time, in order to actually simulate Connect 4, questions should be chosen from the bottom of the game board (row one) first. For example, assume the yellow team selects cell A1 and answers correctly. The red team can select any additional cell in row 1 as well as cell A2.

Note: The components of the Transaction Cycle model while similar are not identical to the classification scheme used to distinguish operating, investing, and financing activities for the Statement of Cash Flows.


The game serves as a form of informal formative assessment. Summative assessment will be required via some other means.

References and Resources

Romeny, Marshall B., & Steinbart, Paul John. (2012). Accounting Information Systems. 12th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.