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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book
This book is very well written. The authors' style of writing makes this topic easy to absorb. The authors show you how to get insight from the numbers on financial statements and how that insight might affect your decisions. They also discuss some other financial calculations like ROI which was very helpful. Not just for business owners, this information would be helpful...
Published on January 31, 2009 by BookLover68

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Version
I would not recommend purchasing the kindle version of this book. It is terrible, and not like the paper version at all. It lacks the grey boxes which highlight the important parts of each chapter and none of the income and expense statements or balance sheets look like they should, and on the Kindle for Mac app, these sheets are far too small to read. Not a very...
Published 19 months ago by BelleoftheBooks


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book, January 31, 2009
By 
BookLover68 (Mount Airy, MD USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Paperback)
This book is very well written. The authors' style of writing makes this topic easy to absorb. The authors show you how to get insight from the numbers on financial statements and how that insight might affect your decisions. They also discuss some other financial calculations like ROI which was very helpful. Not just for business owners, this information would be helpful for anyone that wants to examine and understand financial statements. Probably the equivalent to a 200 course, this book is very useful by itself. It would also be a great foundation to build your knowledge on.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is your FIQ? And how about your organization's?, October 24, 2008
This review is from: Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Paperback)
Several years ago, I read and reviewed Finance for Managers, one of the volumes in the Harvard Business Essentials series. The material provided in it is drawn from a variety of sources which include William J. Bruns, Jr., Michael J. Roberts, and Robert S. Kaplan as well as Harvard Business School Publishing and Harvard ManageMentor®, an online service. Samuel L. Hayes served as subject advisor to Richard Luecke, author of this and other books in the Harvard Business School Essentials Series as well as more than 30 other books in the series as well as several dozen articles. What we have in Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs, co-authored by Karen Berman and Joe Knight with John Case (also author of Open-Book Management and The Open-Book Experience), are information and advice that respond directly to the needs of those who are planning to launch a new company or have only recently done so. I think the material will also be of substantial benefit to decision-makers in companies that seek to become more entrepreneurial.

At a GE annual meeting, then CEO Jack Welch explained why he thought so highly of "small, sleek" business operations: "For one, they communicate better. Without the din and prattle of bureaucracy, people listen as well as talk; and since there are fewer of them they generally know and understand each other. Second, small companies move faster. They know the penalties for hesitation in the marketplace. Third, in small companies, with fewer layers and less camouflage, the leaders show up very clearly on the screen. Their performance and its impact are clear to everyone. And, finally, smaller companies waste less. They spend less time in endless reviews and approvals and politics and paper drills. They have fewer people; therefore they can only do the important things. Their people are free to direct their energy and attention toward the marketplace rather than fighting bureaucracy." This seems to have served as a model for "bowing up" of GE after Welch became its CEO in 1981. At that time, its market value was $14 billion; twenty-three years later, it was more than $410 billion.

I share all this by way of creating a frame-of-reference for what is provided in this volume, a new edition of a book first published (entitled Financial Intelligence) in 2006. Although the focus in this second edition is on entrepreneurs, the material provided will help all managers to develop the entrepreneurial mindset to which Welch refers, and, to acquire a highly-developed financial intelligence quotient (FIQ). Moreover, they can then do everything they possibly can to develop a high-level of FIQ among others at all levels and in all areas of their organization. In the Preface, Berman and Knight explain what their reader will learn:

1. How to read the three major financial statements (i.e. income, balance sheet, and cash flow) and how to interpret what they contain

2. How to calculate critical ratios and to understand what they reveal

3. Why net cash in a given time period is not the same as profit and why a company needs both profit and cash

4. How to use various return on investment (ROI) tools to analyze big purchases in order to make certain the investments add sufficient value to the business

5. How to manage working capital that helps to improve a company's cash flow and profitability even when there is no change in sales or expenses

6. How to use the three main methods for establishing the value of a business (i.e. the price-to-earnings ratio method, the discounted cash flow method, and the asset valuation method) "and many other tricks of the financial trade"

"Along the way, we'll let you in on the finance profession's little secret, which is that finance is as much art as it is science." Berman and Knight explain why understanding this "little secret" is so important to acquiring a high-level of financial intelligence.

They carefully organize their material within 30 chapters that are divided among eight sequential Parts: The Art of Finance (and Why It Matters), The (Many) Peculiarities of the Income Statement, The Balance Sheet Reveals the Most, Cash Is King, Ratios: Learning What the Numbers Are Really Telling You, How to Calculate and (Really) Understand Return on Investment, Applied Financial Intelligence: Working Capital Management, and Creating a Financially Intelli9gent Company. They also provide three appendices: Sample Financials, Exercises to Build Your Financial Intelligence - Income Statement; Balance Sheet; Cash Flow Statement; Ratios, and Under Armour and eBay Financial Statements. At the conclusion of each Part, there are contributions to the filling of the reader's "Toolbox."

Other reviewers will have their own reasons for admiring this book. Here are three of mine. First, this is not a "Finance for Dummies" although a financial novice will find nothing in it that is over her or his head. With consummate skill, Berman and Knight present and explain substance without compromising it. And when doing so, they prepare each reader to help others to increase their own FIQ by providing a model for those initiatives. In fact, Berman and Knight consider those efforts to be so important that they devote the final three chapters (Part Eight) to explaining how to create a financially intelligent company. I also appreciate this book because the authors immediately establish and then sustain a personal (rather than professorial) rapport with their reader. They use direct address throughout the narrative. For readers who are financial novices, they anticipate and address the concerns. For other readers with more developed FIQ (especially CFOs, comptrollers, office managers, and accountants) they offer a systematic review of material (e.g. nomenclature and core concepts of finance) that is already familiar to them. However, there is much to be said for reminders of what can sometimes be neglected or ignored. Finally, I appreciate the dozens of examples drawn from real-world situations that illustrate some of Berman and Knight's key points. This is especially appropriate, given the conversational (rather than professorial) tone that they sustain throughout the narrative.

One final point: All organizations have an urgent and constant need to reduce (if not eliminate) waste. Increasing the FIQ of as many workers as possible will enable them to recognize and, better yet, understand the bottom-line impact of waste and will thus be more likely to become not only involved but engaged in efforts to help their organization to reduce (if not eliminate) waste. If I were a CEO of a company, I would purchase a copy of this book for every line manager and make it required reading. And if my company has not already devised and then implemented an FIQ education program, to be implemented throughout the enterprise to varying degree, I would immediately appoint a cross-functional team of my best and brightest to do so.

I congratulate Karen Berman and Joe Knight together with John Case on a brilliant achievement. Bravo!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for understanding the numbers, July 12, 2009
This review is from: Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Paperback)
For those who are investing in a company or their own business, this is a must read book. This book makes analyzing the numbers on the financial statements clearer for those who may need more of an understanding in that area. It has helped me to better evaluate companies that I am interesting in investing in.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Follow Up Book, June 11, 2010
By 
Jon Thornham (Las Vegas, NV, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Paperback)
I just read two finance books back to back. It has been a while since I studied finance and needed some refreshing. I will say that this is an excellent book but if you are new to finance I highly recommend reading "Financial Statements: A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding and Creating Financial Reports" first and then following up with this book to solidify the concepts. Most books make finance seem like it is an exact science and in reality it is not. This book goes explains in detail how finance is just as much an art.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What you really need to know about the numbers, April 12, 2009
This review is from: Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Paperback)
In this iteration of their book, Berman and Knight focus on understanding finances for the Entrepreneurs. I have read many books on the financial statements, ratios and indices that apply to businesses, and this book is among the best. In one place there is a clear explanation of the various reports, how the numbers are derived, what they mean and how to organize your company to positively affect the indicators you need and want to change.

The authors also make learning a useful, hands-on and enjoyable experience with worksheets in the appendices using the information for a fictitious company. Of course, the readers are invited to also use their own company's financial data to develop their understanding of the finances. Despite making things easy to understand, the art of accounting is not obscured or ignored. Berman and Knight make it clear that many of the key numbers we use to "dashboard" our businesses are really not much more than estimates. Informed estimates to be sure, yet still, the numbers are subjective rather than fact. The goal of the accounting team is to get the numbers as close to reality as they can. The goal of the financially intelligent leader is to understand where the art ends and the reality begins.

The book starts with five critical questions:

* Do you know whether you will have enough cash to make payroll next month? How about the month after that?
* If you're running a start-up, do you know your burn rate - that is, how fast you are going through your cash?
* Do you know how profitable your company's products or services really are: do you know that you can be running a profitable business and still run out of cash?
* If you're thinking about buying a new piece of equipment - a truck, a computer system, a machine - do you know how to figure the likely return on your investment?

Of particular importance in today's economic environment is how managers will become focused on cash and cash flow. The authors re-enforce the usually well known but often forgotten admonition that we can be cash rich and not profitable, or highly profitable and run out of cash. As we watch our economy reset to be less consumer driven and more savings oriented economy, we will need to not only serve our customers in an entirely different way, but will also have to re-focus on using all of our financial intelligence to guide our companies to success.

This excellent book, should be on every business owner's, business leader's and employee's desk for easy reference. Financial experts can use it as an outline for in-house seminars on finance for all employees. Well run companies that will survive and perhaps even thrive during this economic tsunami will make sure that everyone in the company attains Financial Intelligence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An MBA without going to school, November 3, 2008
By 
J. Brody (Culver City, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Paperback)
As a classic small business owner who wears every hat, including CFO but not being very good at it, this book is an invaluable resource for me. I am one of those people who picked up Berman and Knight's original Financial Intelligence and said, "Hey, I need this information for myself and my business." The book takes you through the basics of P&Ls and balance sheets and cash flow and all of the financial mumbo jumbo that you aren't taught unless you go to business school, and turns it into tangible, easy to digest concepts that even someone with no financial acumen or education can understand. The most enlightening part of the book is the premise that finances are an art as well as a science. I always believed that numbers are numbers and they don't lie. Berman and Knight set me straight and set me free, teaching me that even as a non-financial expert, I can understand, manage and interpret my own bottom line.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, November 16, 2008
This review is from: Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Paperback)
Financial issues always plagued my businesses for years - lost one due to lack of financial understanding now I see where I made my mistakes. This book will help me with my new busines - I plan to buy copies for everyone in my company.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must read" for any small business owner, June 11, 2009
By 
Lucy Rudnicka (Temecula, California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Paperback)
In my accounting practice I come across all kinds of business managers and owners - some are very well versed in accounting and financial matters, others never paid attention to this aspect of their business. In good times, all they felt they needed was a healthy bank account balance.
Well, times are changing and financial intelligence becomes inescapable for all those who want to stay in business and continue to prosper.
In "Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers" by Karen Berman and Joe Knight I found a superb guide I would highly recommend to all my clients.
The book is perfect for its audience - it doesn't delve too much into the nitty gritty of accounting - debits and credits and journal entries - that's for the accountant. But it gives the business owner the tools to understand the output of a good accountant working for him - the financial statements and their analysis. It covers pretty much the entire spectrum of financial performance of the company, going in just enough detail to illuminate its most important aspects - the financial statements themselves, cash flow, ratios, ROI and working capital management.
Thank you to the authors for an excellent resource, critical in today's business climate!

[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Primer for Finance, May 5, 2013
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This review is from: Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Paperback)
I am not an entrepreneur, but I work for a very small start-up with increasing business responsibilities from marketing to finance, which is out of my area of expertise (life science). This book is really great in helping an individual develop a solid foundation for understanding and applying the financial knowledge within this book. The author's writing style is engaging and the exercises at the end of the book were useful. Overall, pleased with the book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful text for high-level analysis, December 9, 2012
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This review is from: Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Paperback)
A budding entrepreneur needs some knowledge of business finance and operations. This text constitutes a short course on Finance an Accounting Principles. "Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs" provides an insightful overview into the meanings of financial numbers while not really delving into the depths of accounting required for a complete analysis. It is useful - especially from a strategic perspective, and it is easy to assimilate. I was able to get through about 80% of the text in a weekend. The last one-third of the text consists of a "Toolbox" of spreadsheet examples and methods to apply in analyzing your own company - or potential investments. I underlined and highlighted extensively and expect to re-read parts until the ideas are mastered.
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Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers
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