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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An clearly written and well organized primer, July 18, 2008
This review is from: Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Financial Intelligence) (Paperback)
Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals seeks the elusive sweet spot between being approachable on the one hand and substantive on the other. If you are looking for the bible of corporate finance or an alternative to an MBA, you'll probably be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you or your employees would benefit from a clearly written and well organized introduction into corporate finances, you really can't go wrong. Berman and Knight do an excellent job covering the basics, including income statements, balance sheets, cash flows, ratios, and measures of investment/project performance. The examples provided are simple enough to illustrate the concepts without feeling dumbed down. I was particularly impressed with the clear manner in which the concept of cash flow was presented, as, in my experience, the difference between income and cash is a topic often misunderstood by folks without financial training. In addition to the concepts listed above, the authors make it a point to highlight how financials can be influenced, intentionally or not, by the assumptions and actions of executives and accountants.

Here is where we run into my first (very small) criticism. While I appreciate the discussion of some of the `gray areas' that can be found in accounting and finance, I think the focus on fraudulent behavior is a little out of balance. Certainly there have been several great scandals over the last few years to provide fodder, but in my experience most financial executives make honest judgments to the best of their abilities, usually under tremendous pressure. My second tiny criticism is that the author's suggest a number of times that an IT leader equipped with financial knowledge can more intelligently challenge the assumptions of controllers, CFOs, etc. In my organization, this is encouraged and, frankly, expected of top level managers. In other organizations, however, questioning the CFO might get you a short trip to the unemployment office. Readers will need to use some judgment here...

The book concludes with a brief discussion of the value of employee financial knowledge to the performance of the company. The case is well stated, and the author's passion for the empowering impact of financial intelligence seems genuine. I am fortunate to work for an employee owned company that really emphasizes financial understanding for all employee-owners, but I also know from prior experience that my company is the exception, not the rule.

Bottom Line: This is a book whose impact on your organization will grow with the number of people who read it. So buy a few, and share them with anyone who in interested. That's what I'm going to do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for anyone wanting to get the most out of their IT dollar investment, September 4, 2008
This review is from: Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Financial Intelligence) (Paperback)
You get what you pay for is a commonly repeated proverb because it is so commonly true. Co-authored by Karen Berman and Joe Knight, "Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals: What You Really Need to Mow About the Numbers" is an informed and informative guide to understanding that Information Technology (IT) requires an infusion of capital to get the best use out of it. With basic information on understanding IT-related statements and balances, estimates and their effects, challenging data, investments, and so much more. Highly recommended reading and a welcome addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Business reference collections, "Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals" is essential reading for anyone wanting to get the most out of their IT dollar investment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Financial Intelligence), July 4, 2009
This review is from: Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Financial Intelligence) (Paperback)
Brilliantly written, excellent in content. Having run a small IT business for 5 years between 2002 and 2007, it was amazing to see in part just why my business struggled. Currently I am in the process of reviewing the business and planning for the next phase of running the same business. This book has indeed opened my eyes. I am amazed at how much knowledge I have gained just by reading this book. The authors certainly mean it when they say, "What you really need to know about the numbers." I strongly recommend it for anyone who really wants to make their mark in the IT industry or career.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for all IT Managers, June 13, 2008
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This review is from: Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Financial Intelligence) (Paperback)
With all the talk of aligning IT with the business, financial intelligence is probably the most overlooked or avoided part of an IT manager's toolkit. This book is well written and actually fun to read. It should give you an advantage in your career. Buy it now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read if you're in an IT position with budget responsibilities..., October 31, 2008
This review is from: Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Financial Intelligence) (Paperback)
Like most IT professionals, I try not to get deeply involved in accounting stuff. While it's the scoreboard for how well the business is doing, all the terminology and techniques used to get the final score seem confusing and arcane. But with the book Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers by Karen Berman, Joe Knight, and John Case, it's now actually possible to me to understand much of what's going on in an annual report. If I had only had this when I was working at Enron...

Contents:
Part 1 - The Art of Finance (And Why It Matters To IT): You Can't Always Trust the Numbers; Spotting Assumptions, Estimates, and Biases; Why Increase Your Financial Intelligence?
Part 1 Toolbox: Getting what you want; The players and what they do
Part 2 - The (Many) Peculiarities of the Income Statement: Profit Is an Estimate; Cracking the Code of the Income Statement; Revenue - The Issue Is Recognition; Costs and Expenses - No Hard-and-Fast Rules; The Many Forms of Profit
Part 2 Toolbox: Variance; Percent calculations; Line of sight
Part 3 - The Balance Sheet Reveals The Most: Understanding Balance Sheet Basics; Assets - More Estimates and Assumptions (Except for Cash); On the Other Side - Liabilities and Equity; Why the Balance Sheet Matters; The Income Statement Affects the Balance Sheet
Part 3 Toolbox: Employees as assets; Expenses versus capital expenditures
Part 4 - Cash is King: Cash Is a Reality Check; Profit <> Cash (and You Need Both); The Language of Cash Flow; How Cash Connects with Everything; Why Cash Matters
Part 4 Toolbox - Free cash flow
Part 5 - Learning What The Numbers Are Really Telling You: The Power of Ratios; Profitability Ratios - The Higher the Better (Mostly); Leverage Ratios - The Balancing Act; Liquidity Ratios - Can We Pay Our Bills?; Efficiency Ratios - Making the Most of Your Assets
Part 5 Toolbox - Ratios for the business; Ratios for IT; Leading versus lagging indicators; Percent-of-sales analysis; Ratio relationships
Part 6 - How to Calculate (And Really Understand) Return On Investment: The Building Blocks of ROI; Figuring ROI - The Nitty-Gritty
Part 6 Toolbox: ROI of an IT Project
Part 7 - Applied Financial Intelligence - Working Capital Management: The Magic of Managing the Balance Sheet; Your Balance Sheet Levers; Homing In on Cash Conversion
Part 7 Toolbox: Understanding accounts-receiving aging
Part 8 - Creating a Financially Intelligent IT Department (and Organization): Financial Literacy, Transparency, and Corporate Performance; Financial Literacy Strategies
Part 8 Toolbox: Understanding Sarbanes-Oxley
Appendix A - Sample Financials; Appendix B - Exercises to Build Your Financial Intelligence - Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement, Ratios; Appendix C - Kimberly-Clark and FedEx Financial Statements; Notes; Acknowledgments; Index; About the Authors

I think what makes this book so successful is that it doesn't try to turn you (the IT person) into an accountant. The authors use down-to-earth language and explanations to allow you to get a handle on basic accounting concepts and how they play out on financial reports. For instance, it's a reasonable assumption to think that if you showed a million dollar profit, that you should be swimming in cash. Or at least that's how I used to think. But cash and profits are two entirely different things, and it's entirely possible to show a profit yet be financially strapped and unable to pay your employees. Also, accounting rules are not the cut-and-dried calculations you might think they are. I learned that simple decisions, like what to treat as a capital expenditure and how fast to depreciate something, have a fair amount of latitude built in. Depending on how the company chooses, a particular scenario could be seen as either a money-losing or profit-earning venture. All this proves that you really do need to know what's going on in order to get a true feeling for how the company's balance sheet is doing.

In many ways, this would be a great book regardless of what profession you happen to be in. The authors tie it back to IT in this particular case, so that you can figure out how certain numbers might affect your success or determine your direction. Knowing that cash flow is tight in the first quarter means that you might not want to pitch that particular system upgrade in January. If the numbers show that your receivables are running at 45 days, a smart IT manager might want to focus on system enhancements that would improve that number. Even being able to use the correct financial terms when you're meeting with the CFO will do wonders for getting your needs considered in a more realistic fashion.

I'd recommend this book for just about any person who wants to better understand how the company they work for is performing financially. And if you're an IT person who has some budget responsibility, this should move into the "must read" category.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Help me to understand IT issues in a big company, July 27, 2013
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Help me to understand IT issues in a big company.
I recommend to others that need to undestand it issues
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5.0 out of 5 stars Obligatory reading, regardless of your career background, July 19, 2012
By 
J. Ilog (Martinez, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Financial Intelligence for IT Professionals: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers (Financial Intelligence) (Paperback)
Even with my IT and Pre-Tax Accounting experience, I learned a lot from this interesting book with many concepts expressed here that I had never heard, either in a classroom or business environment.

This is a well articulated book and will keep you engaged. Please heed the previous 5 reviewers comments, as they all express well the excellent & practical contents of this book.
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