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Gamification of Accountancy: Solving the Talent Crisis?

If you’ve got kids or a gaming fanatic in your household, you’ve probably noticed the endless hours they spend immersed in the online gaming world. While gaming might not be everyone’s favourite pastime, it captivates hundreds of millions every day. We might not have psychology degrees or massive budgets to motivate our kids to do chores, or employees to carry out basic tasks but there’s one company that has mastered the art of attracting, retaining, and even encouraging users to spend money on things they’d usually avoid (and I don’t understand!).

Accountancy and Fortnite—two realms that, at first glance, seem worlds apart. However, delve a little deeper, and you’ll find striking similarities between the two. Both are task-oriented, challenge-driven, and require strategic thinking and teamwork. Yet, while Fortnite captivates millions of players willing to invest both time and money, accountancy struggles to attract and retain young talent. This begs the question: what can the accountancy industry learn from the psychology behind Fortnite’s success? Could gamification be the key to making accountancy more appealing and closing the talent gap?

Let’s dive into the magic behind Fortnite’s user engagement and how these strategies can transform even the dullest tasks into something exciting.

Understanding the Appeal of Fortnite

Fortnite’s allure lies in its dynamic gameplay, social interaction, and rewarding progression system. Here are some psychological elements that make Fortnite so compelling:

Immediate Feedback and Rewards: Players receive instant gratification through points (XP), badges, and rewards.

Clear Goals and Challenges: The game sets clear, achievable goals and provides a sense of accomplishment upon completion.

Social Interaction: Fortnite fosters a sense of community through team-based challenges and social features.

Engaging Narratives and Visuals: The game’s evolving storylines and vibrant visuals keep players engaged.

Sense of Mastery and Progression: Players can see their skills improve over time, encouraging continued play.

You can see how this crosses over into our working world. Apart from the engaging narratives and visuals of course the rest should be self-evident.

Major Elements of Fortnite’s Design for User Engagement

Accessibility and Ease of Use

Fortnite is designed to be easy to pick up and play. The user interface is intuitive, with clear on-screen prompts that help players understand what actions to take without needing to memorise complex controls.

Regular Updates and Fresh Content

The game continuously evolves with new content, updates, and events. This keeps the experience fresh and prevents boredom by providing new challenges and rewards regularly.

Social Interaction and Community Building

Fortnite incorporates features that encourage social interaction, such as teaming up with friends and participating in large-scale events. This fosters a sense of community and shared experience among players.

Personalisation and Customisation

Players can personalise their characters and game experience through various skins, emotes, and other cosmetic items. This customisation helps players feel a sense of ownership and uniqueness.

Immediate Feedback and Rewards

The game provides immediate feedback and rewards for actions taken, which helps keep players motivated and engaged. This includes visual and auditory feedback, achievements, and in-game currency for completing tasks.

Challenge and Master

Fortnite balances accessibility with depth, offering challenges that require skill and strategy to master. This balance keeps both new and experienced players engaged as they strive to improve their abilities.

Applying Gamification to Accountancy

What is gamification?

the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.

“gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun”

To attract the next generation of accountants, the industry can integrate these elements into its training and daily tasks. Here’s how:

Streamlined User Interfaces

Develop intuitive accounting software with clear, on-screen prompts and help guides. Like Fortnite’s HUD (heads-up-display*), this reduces the cognitive load on users, making it easier for them to navigate complex tasks.

Regular Updates and Training Sessions

Regularly update software with new features and improvements. Conduct frequent training sessions to keep employees engaged and up-to-date with the latest tools and techniques, akin to Fortnite’s content updates.

Encouraging Collaboration

Implement collaborative tools within the accounting software that allow team members to work together on tasks, share progress, and provide feedback in real-time. Create a virtual environment where employees can communicate and collaborate easily, mirroring the social aspects of Fortnite.

Collaborative Projects: Encouraging teamwork through collaborative projects and team-based challenges can foster a sense of community and belonging.

Virtual Accountancy Communities: Online forums and social platforms where accountants can share experiences, tips, and support each other can enhance engagement.

Personalisation Options

Allow employees to customise their workspace within the accounting software. This could include personalised dashboards, colour themes, and the ability to organise tools and reports according to their preferences.

Immediate Feedback and Recognition

Integrate immediate feedback mechanisms within the software that provide visual and auditory cues when tasks are completed correctly. Implement a reward system that recognises and rewards employees for their achievements and milestones, like Fortnite’s reward systems.

Leaderboards and Badges: Implementing a points system where employees earn badges for completing tasks, meeting deadlines, or learning new skills can make mundane tasks more engaging.

Performance Dashboards: Real-time feedback through dashboards showing individual and team progress can motivate accountants to improve and compete healthily.

Skill Development and Challenges

Introduce gamified elements that present employees with challenges and opportunities to improve their skills. Offer certifications or badges for mastering certain aspects of the software or completing complex tasks, encouraging a sense of progression and achievement.

Skill Development Paths: Clearly defined paths for skill development, with levels to unlock and milestones to achieve, can provide a sense of progression and mastery.

Continuous Learning Opportunities: Offering ongoing opportunities for professional development and upskilling can keep accountants motivated and invested in their careers.

Engaging Narratives and Visuals

This bit again. This is the piece I think we will struggle with the most but………what if we engaged with clients and we found out about them. Perhaps we get to know why they are doing what they do, what they need to achieve to make that a reality and how we can weave ourselves into that story to make it feel right. Let’s go mental and create pictures of what that might look like and use that in our gamification.

Interactive Storytelling: Creating narratives around accounting tasks, such as solving financial mysteries or managing virtual businesses, can make the content more relatable and engaging.

Gamified Training Programs: Using visually appealing, interactive modules for training can break the monotony of traditional learning methods.

We shouldn’t be confusing gamification with software development. Many of the items discussed above can be carried out in a simple way with a bit of thought using tools you already have access.

Practical Examples in Action

Virtual Apprenticeship Programs: Simulate real-world accounting tasks in a controlled, gamified environment where apprentices earn points and rewards as they progress.

Monthly Challenges and Competitions: Organise monthly challenges where employees compete to solve complex accounting problems, with winners earning recognition and rewards.

Interactive Training Platforms: Develop platforms with interactive modules, quizzes, and scenario-based exercises that make learning new accounting software and regulations fun and engaging.

Closing the Talent Gap

Gamifying accountancy can make the profession more appealing to younger generations by:

Enhancing Engagement: Making tasks more enjoyable and rewarding can increase job satisfaction and retention.

Improving Skill Acquisition: Interactive and engaging learning methods can accelerate the acquisition of essential skills.

Fostering a Sense of Community: Social features can help build a supportive and collaborative work environment.

Attracting Tech-Savvy Talent: A modern, gamified approach can appeal to tech-savvy individuals who might otherwise overlook a career in accountancy.

Wrapping Up

The gamification of accountancy holds significant promise in addressing the industry’s talent gap. By borrowing elements from the world of gaming, particularly from popular titles like Fortnite, the accountancy sector can transform itself into a more dynamic, engaging, and attractive career option for the next generation. It’s time to level up and embrace the game.

By incorporating these elements, the typically mundane and repetitive tasks in accounting can become more engaging and enjoyable, leveraging the same psychological principles that make Fortnite so addictive and successful.

* In Fortnite Battle Royale Mobile, players may customize the placement of various heads-up display (HUD) elements using the “HUD Layout Tool” menu. Using this feature, players are given the opportunity to move icons or buttons in the HUD to preferable positions that will be applied during gameplay.

Further Reading

1. Gamification in Accounting Education

2. Understanding the success of Fortnite UX

3. What’s a psychologist doing on the Fortnite team?