Lakeland University instructor Dion Borkowicz has always employed creative ways for his students to understand accounting principles.
To help grasp the importance of cost volume profit analysis in his managerial accounting class this fall, Borkowicz had his students imagine they were operating a taco catering service.
Students worked in teams of three and put together a presentation that included a pricing proposal to cater tacos for an event. Teams researched and analyzed their variable costs, such as the direct materials for the meat, taco shells, cheese and other ingredients. They had to estimate their direct labor as to how much time it would take for everything from prepping and cooking the food to the delivery and set-up. Then, they calculated their fixed cost for the use of a kitchen to prepare the food.
Using these variables, the students calculated a contribution margin, a break-even analysis and an estimated profit for their catering.
As a surprise for the students, Borkowicz had tacos with all the toppings catered in for class. This helped bring the catering project to life and offered a live visual. Borkowicz says that after class he received some student emails thanking him for the lesson and early dinner. One student said the project was the most challenging she ever did, but that she loved the experience.
"Benjamin Franklin says, 'Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,'" Borkowicz said. "I bet these students will remember the lessons from this project for many years to come."