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ESL Accounting Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kandi Young

Kandi has degrees in Communications, Human Services, Education and Computer Science. She is a Business, Marketing, and Technology instructor with a Master's degree in Education.

Knowing how to balance monies is an essential skill, whether it is for a personal account or an employer's cash sheet. This lesson focuses on teaching ESL students how to create and use a balance sheet for accounting.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Understand and apply correct vocabulary for creating and using a balance sheet.
  • Balance a balance sheet.
  • Determine where discrepancies may exist if balance sheet does not balance.

Length of Lesson

1 to 2 hours



Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays.


Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling.


  • Calculators (optional)
  • Pencils
  • Vocabulary list
  • Sample completed balance sheets
  • Sample incomplete balance sheets
  • Sample list of liabilities
  • Sample list of assets
  • Sample list of owner's equity


  • Balance sheet
  • Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Owner's equity/net worth
  • Accounts receivable
  • Loans
  • Taxes
  • Expenses


  • Begin by asking students to explain how a balance sheet works. You can use a comparison to a checkbook sheet and bank statement to help them relate to the concept. Use this discussion to introduce the vocabulary words.
  • Show students samples of balance statements.
  • Indicate where liabilities, assets, and owner's equity would be entered. Demonstrate the procedure for balancing the sheet.

No Errors Balancing Activity

  1. Give each student a list of vocabulary words to refer back to during the activity.
  2. Make sure students have pencils.
  3. Provide each student with a sample incomplete balance sheet.
  4. Next, give each student a list of assets and liabilities to place in the sheet.
  5. Instruct students to place these in the sheet where they belong.
  6. When students have finished entering their numbers, direct them to calculate if the sheet balances.
  7. Ask them to review the sheet when completed and discuss:
    1. Did your balance match the bank statements?
    2. Is each asset and liability accounted for on the sheet?
    3. Were there any numbers you weren't sure where to place them?

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