Profit, loss, and record-keeping

SubjectNSW Commerce YearStage 5 Curriculum Time50

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Students develop an understanding of how and why successful businesses keep records. They engage in a hypothetical dog-walking business to practise keeping a business journal and understand the importance of doing so.

This activity provides a foundation for students to understand how businesses can meet their obligations, including those to the ATO.

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
  • 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, COM4-9

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

Content descriptions

Option 4: Running a Business

Planning for success


  • examine the key considerations involved when planning and organising a small business, including: (ACHEK019, ACHEK030) likely success of small business opportunities, including the factors contributing to the success or failure of businesses (ACHEK018).

Maintaining financial records


  • explain the importance of maintaining financial records and minimising risk, including: (ACHEK018)
    • the purpose and use of financial records, inform decision-making and fulfil legal requirements
    • the features of key business documents and how to interpret them, e.g.taxation records (ACHEK018).

Current issues


  • investigate key issues, processes and strategies related to running a business, for example in relation to:
    • a real or hypothetical small business

Teacher resources

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Profit, loss, and record keeping

Student learning resources

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Now you're in business

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. Use the visualiser to outline the concepts of businesses, profits, loss and factors that lead to business success.
  2. Explain to students that they will be opening a dog-walking business.
  3. Ask:
    • What risks might you encounter in this business?
    • What earnings might you receive?
    • What expenses might you have?
  4. Use a grouping strategy to organise students into groups of 2 or 4.
  5. Explain the task to students. If necessary, model the task to students on the board. In this example, the rate per each 10 minutes is $2.00.
    Day Scenario description Money earned Expenses Total money
    Monday Cam – 1 dog, 40 mins $8.00   $8.00
    Monday Bought a ball   $5.00 $3.00
    Tuesday Chi – I dog – 10 mins $2.00   $5.00
  6. Groups complete the worksheet.
  7. Invite groups to share their findings. Prompts, drawn from the worksheet, include:
    • Did your dog-walking business make a profit or a loss in its first week? What actions could you take to increase your profits?
    • What are some of the things you have to know in order to keep an accurate ledger?
    • Why is it important to keep a ledger? How will keeping a ledger contribute to business success?
  8. Students write a short statement explaining why keeping business records is important to business success and how not doing so might lead to business failure