Icebreakers – Finance and Accounting

Think about your level of financial skill and knowledge. Would you say it is more:

  • Big Mac and fries;
  • Pork chops and applesauce; or
  • Tenderloin topped with asparagus and crab?


The authors of “The Creativity Toolkit” and the CD-ROM, “Creative Suspenders” say that we have both an Oscar and a Felix living inside our brains. Oscar, similar to the Oscar in “The Odd Couple,” is “unstructured, reactive, driven by whims, and lives by the credo, ‘rules are made to be broken.’” Felix, on the other hand, “loves lists, sets goals, and plans everything he does. He lives by the clock and never deviates from his rules.”

When it comes to working with numbers, who rules your brain – Oscar or Felix? Why?

Which shape best describes your accounting abilities – a circle, square, star or spiral? Why?

When it comes to numbers, are you the:

  • Controller;
  • Imagination specialist;
  • Skeptic;
  • Planner; or
  • True Believer?


J. Paul Getty once said, “Going to work for a large company is like getting on a train. Are you going sixty miles an hour or is the train going sixty miles an hour and you’re just sitting still?”

When you think about accounting and finance, which are you doing – going sixty miles an hour – or sitting still on a train going sixty miles an hour? Why?

Microsoft, Ben & Jerry’s, McDonalds, 3M, or Wal-Mart – which company best describes how your brain works when it comes into contact with numbers, budgets, and financial ratios?


Possible answers might be: “Microsoft, because everything suddenly stalls.” Or “3M because whenever I add numbers I start being creative.”

What is the similarity between accounting (or finance), and the one food that you hate above all others?

Mathematics is not a careful march down a well-cleared highway, but a journey into a strange wilderness, where the explorers often get lost (W. S. Anglin).

In the strange wilderness of your organization’s accounting and financial systems, how often do you get lost? What force most often contributes to you losing your way?

Malcolm X, the American civil rights activist, once stated, “I’m sorry to say that the subject I most disliked was mathematics. I have thought about it. I think the reason was that mathematics leaves no room for argument. If you made a mistake, that was all there was to it.”

Why do you dislike accounting (or finance)? And if you don’t dislike accounting (or finance), why do you enjoy it?

If you hate working with numbers, what one thing could make you really enjoy working with them? Nothing is not an acceptable answer. And if you like working with numbers, what one thing could make you hate working with them?

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