Financial Intelligence: ... Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean

BY KAREN BERMAN & JOE KNIGHT

 

SYNOPSIS

Financial statements do not always tell the entire story about a company and how well they are doing.  Accounting methods and financial reporting requires an executive to decipher the red tape, look beyond what is on the printed page and make decisions that will affect the bottom line.  Financial Intelligence gives non-financial managers the financial knowledge and confidence for their everyday work.

 

SUMMARY

Accounting and finance, like many other business disciplines, really are as much art as they are science. You might call this the CFO’s or the controller’s hidden secret, except that it isn’t really a secret, it’s a widely acknowledged truth that everyone in finance knows.  And that is where the trouble begins for many executives and other business professionals who work in the finance sector.  In other words, most people forget that nugget of intelligence, and make the mistake of believing that if a number shows up on a financial statement or in a financial report to management, it must be accurate and true. 

Finance is the language of business. Whether readers like it or not, the one thing every organization has in common is numbers and how those numbers are tabulated, analyzed, and reported. Readers will quickly learn that financial terms, like language, needs to be taken seriously and communicated effectively. As with any new language, one can’t expect to speak it fluently at first. This book teaches the basics to the reader and will guide them to a path to gain confidence with time.

The book captures your attention from the moment you begin to read Chapter One’s You Can’t Always Trust the Numbers.  Headlines throughout the past few decades have told horror stories about corporations that have “tweaked” the books just enough to make it look like they were in the black and doing fine… but in reality they were just one step away from financial disaster.  Remember the Enron story? It took years for accountants and prosecutors to sort out all of that ill-fated company’s spurious transactions

Companies expect managers to use financial data to allocate resources and run their departments. But many managers can't read a balance sheet, or recognize a liquidity ratio, or even calculate return on investment. Worse, they don't have any idea where the numbers come from or how reliable they really are.  This book, will teach the reader how to recognize the good, the bad and the ugly.

Some of the other topics covered in this book include cash management, financial statements, financial reporting, equity, asset allocation and much more. 

The authors use language that is straight to the point and easy to understand. With no technical jargon to keep the reader confused. Financial Intelligence also offers practical strategies that will help improve a company’s performance.  Readers will also find entertaining stories about real companies and they issues and struggles they had to overcome in order to be successful.