Customer Reviews: Seeing the Big Picture: Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career, and Company
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Customer Reviews

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on November 28, 2012
I have a business degree but used it very little - I was an Army Officer for 21+ years. This book is easy to read, methodically organized and easy to understand. I checked it out from the library and read it. I am going to buy it and use it from time to time to refresh my memory and skills. Highly recommended.
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on December 21, 2013
The premise of this book is that an employee who understands business fundamentals will be taken more seriously by management. “If, through your questions, ideas, comments, analysis, proposals, and performance, you exhibit business acumen, you will be seen as a more valuable contributor. You will demonstrate your worth to the company, and other people will notice.”

Part One introduces the five key drivers of any business:
• Cash: “Without strong cash flow, a company will quickly die.”
• Profit: This chapter covers accrual-based accounting, gross margin, and net income.
• Assets (tangible and intangible): The author explains asset strength (liquidity) and asset utilization (productivity). “The purpose of assets is to be put to use to generate revenue, a return on the asset.”
• Growth: “Your CEO’s most important job is to ensure sustainable, profitable growth in order to create value for owners/shareholders.” The pros and cons of organic and inorganic growth are discussed.
• People (customers and employees): “The cost of getting a new customer is two to ten times more than the cost of keeping an existing customer, so you really want to keep the customers you have.” This chapter also explains the concept of internal customers. “When you talk with people in other departments, look at the issue or topic at hand from their perspective and from their functional responsibility. One of the most important applications of business acumen is communicating with colleagues from other departments on the basis of what’s important to them.”

Part Two explains how to read a company’s annual report and three key financial statements: the income statement, the balance sheet, and the statement of cash flows. “When analyzing numbers on the financial statements, you should review four basic characteristics:
1. Amount
2. Trend
3. Ratio (the amount compared to other numbers)
4. Comparison to competitors and/or industry”

Cash from operating activities “is the most important number on the statement of cash flows… The most important ratio to analyze here is the amount of cash flow generated from operating activities compared to profit (net income) for the same period… we would divide the cash from operations by the net income… You generally want this ratio to exceed 1.0, meaning you want cash flow to be greater than profit. Why? Because it reflects a company’s ability to effectively turn profits into cash.”

Throughout the book, a fictitious business called Austin’s Cycle Shop is used to illustrate various business circumstances and demonstrate financial calculations. The author also includes averages from the S&P 500 as benchmarks for several metrics he discusses.
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on March 4, 2012
Kevin's book is ideal in its role as a refresher in the fundamentals for the seasoned business professional while also serving to be an invaluable resource to those who are cutting their teeth in the corporate world. It is a well conceived road map that is of great use for those trying to conceptualize and understand where they fit in the grand scheme of their organization's financial and philosophical goals. Kevin's book accomplishes this in a way that serves as easy reading for the layperson without taking on a tone that, in a lesser work, could easily be construed as condescending in its writing. It is a credit to the author that he can accomplish laying a a proper foundation of business principles in a way that is both engaging and thought provoking. A definite must-read, regardless of one's status on the organizational flow chart.
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on December 24, 2013
Kevin Cope's book is clearly structured, insightful and accessible for anybody who'd like to develop their business acumen even without a financial background. Although the objective of the book is to help you understand how your company works, it's also a perfect book for whoever wants to think and speak like their customer. A perfect book for salespeople willing to develop their financial acumen.
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on May 31, 2013
Kevin Cope, the author, is hands-down one of the top 10 presenters I've ever seen. I had the pleasure of seeing him present the book's content at the American Society for Training & Development Conference in Dallas in May 2013. Kevin's presentation covers the book's content in a succinct, easy-to-understand way. He covers the elements of a company's financial statement: cash, revenue, profit, Cost-of-Goods-and-Services - so that a non-financial person can easily grasp. The book follows a small business as it acquires cash, assets and suppliers, and the decisions that the new business owner makes as his business grows. If you can see Kevin, don't miss him in person, but if you can't, this book will help you demonstrate your value to a business. I am using it to quantify my career accomplishments on my resume as I seek my next career move!
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on December 18, 2014
As a person in business with an education in music, I frequently felt unqualified to speak to financial issues. This book is helped me better understand the three key financial statements and their impact to the business. I love the approach and found it really easy to understand.
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on February 7, 2014
This is very well written, easy to understand and brings out the real bottom line - what is really important and useful to determine if a business is succeeding or failing financially...
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on March 25, 2013
This is an excellent overview of business concepts that is easy to read, and very focused on making this knowledge relevant to real life and not abstract buzzwords. Highly recommended!
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on March 17, 2013
I encourage everyone to buy this book!!! Great for new investors that want to understand the financial statement. Easy to read and concise. Plenty of examples for the reader.
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on April 9, 2013
Anyone associated with business in one way or other should read this to understand his role in the business else he may be holding down his own bright future
Suresh B K
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