A solid foundation is critical to understanding concepts. So you'd think most books would spend a lot of time ensuring and clarifying the basics, right? Wrong! Simply not true! Most of the accounting/finance books just don't get into clarifying the very basics - the confusing array of terms used, how they fit together, what they actually mean in a realworld setting, etc.
This book - a must on every managers shelf - adds value by providing clear and consise definitions and relates them visually. The chapter on connections ties a lot of information together with such ease. Above all the step by step examples go a long long way into clarfying any remaining confusion you'd have. Its very easy to read. You'd probably finish it over a weekend. So its tremendous bang for buck.
Clearly the first introductory book one should read. There are plenty of good books for the next level (IMHO).
**_Simply go get it - read it. Enjoy the clarity in your decision making. Highly recommended._**
Here is a list of books that might also help.
1. Financial statements (Thomas Ittelson, this book)
2. How to use financial statements: A guide to understanding the numbers (James Bandler)
3. How to read a financial report: wringing vital signs out of numbers (John A. Tracy)
4. Financial Statement Analysis: the investors self study to interpretting & analyzing financial statements, revised edition (Charles J. Woelfel)
5. Analysis For Financial Management (Robert C. Higgins) - This is one excellent book.
6. Techniques Of Financial Analysis: A Modern Approach (Eric A. Helfert)
7. Finance & Accounting for Nonfinancial Managers (Steven A. Finkler)
7. The Analysis And Use Of Financial Statements (Gerald White, Sondhi, et. al) - dense reading (plus the plain format of this version of the book is sure to make you fall asleep. Hats off to you if you can read this book cover to cover. :).)
8. Also Corporate Finance: theory and practice (Damodaran) has a very good advanced level introductory chapter. Pick it up at a library and ...
If you had to buy 1 book:
I'd recommend - #1 above.
If you could buy 2 books (over time):
I'd recommend - #1 and #5 above.
If you could buy 3 books (for an in depth managerial understanding):
I'd recommend - #1, #5 and #6 above.
#7 - has a decent cd of spreadsheets for ready use (proforma cash flows, ledgers, etc; very handy)
136 of 140 people found the following review helpfulBy M Kramer on April 14, 2004 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been buying from Amazon.com for at least 5 years but this is my first review. I am 3/4 of the way through Ittelson's book and I want to write this review while my enthusiasm is still burning white hot.
Ittelson has a gift that few experts have. He anticipates all my newbie/beginner stupid questions. Here I am on page 169 wondering why paying payroll taxes doesn't show up on the Income Statement. Sure enough, right after I've wondered to myself why there is no transaction on the Income Statement, I see his note explaining that these payroll tax expenses were put on the Income Statement when the goods were shipped, "not when the actual payment is made."
As soon as the little voice in my head asks, "But why did they do it *this* way?" Ittelson gives me the answer.
I give Ittelson a lot of credit for this. After you've studied something for years, as he clearly has, it's often almost impossible to see the subject with the eyes of a beginner. Believe me, I'm a teacher, I know how difficult it can be.
The first part of the book examines the three basic statements line-by-line: Income Statement, Cash Flow Statement, and Balance Sheet.
The largest part of the book sounds incredibly dry and dull. Each even-numbered page displays all three financial statements: Income Statement, Cash Flow Statement, and Balance Sheet. The odd-numbered page explains a business transation: paying payroll taxes, for example. The transaction's impact on the three financial statements is displayed on the even-numbered page.
Believe it or not, Ittelson makes it interesting to read about these business transactions. He creates a narrative about starting a business and running it. Along the way, he offers a few humorous pearls of business wisdom. This is dry, technical stuff but he makes it entertaining without ever sacrificing explanatory precision.
This is a great book for anyone who feels they need to sharpen their skills with financial statements. I've read short descriptions of financial statements before but it never sank in. What's great about Ittelson's book is that first he gives very clear definitions of key terms and then he takes you step-by-step through each business transaction and how it is reflected on the financial statements.
I wish I had read this book more than 10 years ago when I first started in the business world. I assume that you learn this stuff if you have an MBA. But I didn't. This gives one a solid grounding in the brass tacks of the business world.
This book has been of enormous value to me. It is an essential reference for anyone who needs to understand what business finances are about.