Interpreting bank statements

SubjectNSW Commerce YearStage 5 Curriculum Time45

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In this activity students learn that bank statements are a rich source of information and can be used as a money management tool. It teaches them the difference between credit and debit and that managing money involves keeping track of their income and spending.

This learning provides a foundation for students to understand how individuals and businesses manage their income and expenses through record keeping.

Australian Curriculum or Syllabus

This activity contributes to the following outcomes.

A student:

  • applies consumer, financial, economic, business, legal, political and employment concepts and terminology in a variety of contexts COM5-1
  • evaluates options for solving problems and issues COM5-5
  • develops and implements plans designed to achieve goals COM5-6
  • explains information using a variety of forms COM5-8
  • works independently and collaboratively to meet individual and collective goals within specified timeframes COM5-9

Related Stage 4 outcomes: COM4-1, COM4-5, COM4-6, COM4-8, COM4-9

Related Life Skills outcomes: COMLS-1, COMLS-7, COMLS-9, COMLS-12, COMLS-13

Content descriptions

Core 1: Consumer and financial decisions

Financial management


  • investigate the consequences of poor financial management, including impact on wellbeing of the individual and families.
  • investigate tools and strategies for effective financial management, including:
    • monitoring and record-keeping to avoid overcommitment, e.g. managing mobile phone costs
    • savings and superannuation plans.

Option 7: Towards independence

Managing finances


  • explain the responsible management of finances when living independently, including: (ACHEK018) strategies to minimise financial problems, e.g. budgeting, saving, monitoring spending, superannuation.

Teacher resources

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Interpreting bank statements

Student learning resources

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What does a bank statement tell you?

Suggested activity sequence

This sequence is intended as a framework to be modified and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of a class group.

  1. Ask students if they have a bank account and if so, whether they view their bank statements. Tally the number of students who have bank accounts and the number who view their statements.
  2. Use slide 2 of the visualiser to explain the following about the sample bank statement:
    • codes
    • opening balance
    • amount of money that was deposited, which is called ‘credit’
    • amount of money withdrawn, which is called a ‘debit’
    • balance following each transaction.
  3. Use slide 3 of the visualiser to explain the person’s net financial position for the month of June, including the closing balance.
  4. Discuss the scenario on the visualiser and elicit responses on what it tells students about this person’s income and spending patterns. Prompts may include:
    • Did this person have more or less money at the end of the month?
    • What did they spend most of their money on?
    • Are they living within their means, that is, spending what they earn or less?
    • What advice would you give to this person to support them to save money or at least live within their means?
  5. Students complete the worksheet.
  6. As a class, discuss the importance of using bank statements as a money management tool.
  7. Ask students if they will now use bank statements as a tool.
  8. Revise the tally that was recorded on the board at the start of the lesson.