Pedagogy in Action > Library > Games > Examples > The Fund Identification Challenge

The Fund Identification Challenge

Authored by Dr. Susan M. Moncada, Ph.D., CPA, Indiana State University.
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Knowing the fund structure for state and local governments is a key concept students must master early in their study of governmental accounting. In addition, students must be able to identify which fund would be used to account for various activities in which a government engages. This PowerPoint game is a drill and practice/review activity fashioned after the popular TV game show, Hollywood Squares. The celebrities in the Fund Identification Challenge are past Presidents of the United States. The Presidents have responded to a question, and the game participants either agree or disagree with the response to earn the square. The 27 real-world examples found in the game were derived by examining the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) of various cities.

Learning Goals

As a result of completing this activity, students should be able to assess:
  1. How well they know the fund accounting structure used by state and local governments.
  2. Whether they can identify the fund that would be used to account for a specific activity.

Context for Use

The Fund Identification Challenge is an informal formative assessment activity to be implemented after students have studied the fund accounting structure used by state and local governments.
  1. The game can be played in class by having students divide into two teams with the instructor serving as the moderator. After each scenario is covered, the instructor should review the purpose of the fund, explain why it would be used, and answer questions.
  2. If students bring their laptops to class, the game can be played in drill and practice pairs.
  3. In the online environment, the game can be played during an Eliminate Live session.
  4. The game can also be played individually by each student outside of class time.
Note: The 27 scenarios included in the game represent a small sample of the activities in which governments engage.

Description and Teaching Materials

  1. PowerPoint Fund Identification Challenge game file. (Instructions for playing the game are included on slides in the file.) Fund Identification Challenge PowerPoint Game (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.3MB May31 12)Fund Identification Game Image
  2. Game solution as a Word document. Fund Identification Challenge Key (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 15kB May31 12)
  3. Second version of the same game. Same examples are used, but the order of the questions for each president has been changed. Fund Identification Challenge - Game 2 (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.3MB May31 12)

Teaching Notes and Tips


Fund accounting is a distinctive feature used by state and local governments. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board's definition of a fund is:

...a fiscal and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts recording cash and other financial resources, together with all related liabilities and residual equities or balances, and changes therein, which are segregated for the purpose of carrying on specific activities or attaining certain objectives in accordance with special regulations, restrictions or limitations.1

The funds used by state and local governments are grouped into three categories based on their different characteristics. The following table lists the fund types within each category:

Governmental FundsProprietary FundsFiduciary Funds
General FundEnterprise FundsPension Trust Fund
Special Revenue FundsInternal Service FundsInvestment Trust Fund
Debt Service FundsPrivate Purpose Trust
Capital Project FundsAgency Fund
Permanent Funds

While every government must have a General Fund, the specific number and types of other funds used by a particular state or local government are determined by its particular operations.

Prerequisite Knowledge:

Prior to playing The Fund Identification Challenge students should have learned the fund accounting fund structure used by state and local governments. In addition, they should know the purpose of each fund and the circumstances that indicate when it would be used.


This activity is an informal formative assessment. When the game is used in class, the instructor will be able to determine how well the class, in general, grasps the concepts based on the students' responses.

References and Resources

1GASB Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards (GASB Cod.) Sec. 1300, "Statement of Principle – Fund Accounting Systems" (Norwalk, CT: GASB, 2006).

Royalty free images of the presidents were downloaded from the following website: