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Managing By The Numbers: A Commonsense Guide To Understanding And Using Your Company's Financials Paperback – May 15, 2000
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Chuck Kremer, Ron Rizzuto, and John F. Case believe "50 percent of small-company owners and managers don't get complete, timely information about their business's financial performance" and "90 percent don't really understand or use the information they do get." Kremer, a business-literacy consultant, Rizzuto, a university finance professor, and Case, a business journalist, further contend that such data and their proper application are critical to the successful operation of any small business. That's why they've assembled Managing by the Numbers as a self-help guide to the ins and outs of corporate finance. In the first section, they show how to decipher three major reports that everyone should review monthly (balance sheet, income statement, cash flow). In the second, they discuss how resultant figures tie in to "three bottom lines of business" (net profit, operating cash flow, return on assets) that can be examined collectively. And in the third, they explain ways that stimuli for each can be optimized to achieve overall business goals. The combination allows you to "translate your financial understanding into better financial performance," the authors conclude. While much of the material may seem intimidating, it is presented clearly and could indeed provide an edge in today's hypercompetitive business environment. --Howard Rothman
About the Author
Ron Rizzuto, PH.D., is a professor of finance at the University of Denver, where he co-founded the entrepreneurship program at the Daniels College of Business.
John Case is executive editor of the newsletter division at Harvard Business School Publishing. A former senior editor and senior writer for Inc. magazine, he is the author of numerous feature stories and several books on entrepreneurship and open-book management.
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If you are experienced at reading numbers (as i am) I would recommend this book as it still taught me a few things and is a good refresher.. just skim through the parts you feel you can.
I do disagree with the value the book puts on Retun on Assets (ROA). They weight it heavily and say it can be used to compare companies apples to apples. I disagree with this as ROA is dependent on many factors and I think there are better ways to assess the value and success of a company. However, as a ROA can also be a measurement of balance sheet strength i wouldn't dismiss it's value out of hand.
Some key elements are the Three Financial bottom lines (most of us know of only one) that are Net Profit, Operating Cash Flow, and Return on Assets. Understanding these bottom lines and using the three financial statements of the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and Statement of Cash Flows in conjuction with each other. This understanding will allow businesses to strenghten their statements and their business to make themselves more attractive to lenders and buyers.
Finally, I found the appendixes (five of them) to be extremely useful as they contain a list of financial terms, A guide to Ratios, and a History of the Mobley Matrix. The author uses these items very well and makes me want to do more research on Jack Stack (Author of The Game of Business) and Louis B Mobley of IBM.
I will keep my review short - the biggest thing I got out of this book was dont just look at your P&L or your balance sheet - look at your cashflow reports!
This book also motivates us business owners to have some responsibility and accountability to our finances. With better understanding of these ratios and statements I feel this book is going to make a big difference with my business.
The book is written in basic terms but there are plenty of more advanced chapters and formulas so I would say this book is for everyone --- even some with accounting backgrounds since the purpose of the book is to look at your numbers differently