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Financial Intelligence: A Manager's Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean
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Financial Intelligence: A Manager's Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,947 ratings  ·  177 reviews
Companies expect managers to use financial data to allocate resources and run their departments. But many managers can't read a balance sheet, wouldn't recognize a liquidity ratio, and don't know how to calculate return on investment. Worse, they don't have any idea where the numbers come from or how reliable they really are. In Financial Intelligence, Karen Berman and Joe ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Harvard Business Review Press
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
A very accessible material for non-professionals and professionals alike. If you want to get an understanding of how the finance would have sounded like had it had a human face, read this.

Q:
If you read the news regularly, you have learned a good deal in recent years about all the wonderful ways people find to cook their companies’ books. They record phantom sales. They hide expenses. They sequester some of their properties and debts in a mysterious place known as off balance sheet.
Some of the t
...more
Starr (AKA Starrfish) Rivers
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It was actually really good. I am not a finance person and it broke down the financials for me. Still not a fan of balance sheets and cashflow statements, but I kinda get it now!

Highly recommend.
Marrije
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Useful! Geared a bit more towards larger organisations than mine, but I still learned a lot. I can finally read my balance sheet, yay.
Greg
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hbr-titles, business
Back when I was in college I learned about the beauty of finance and accounting. It was a very interesting subject that I almost decided to switch course and be an accountant. Nevertheless, up to this day, I still find accounting not just exciting but very useful.

This book by Karen Berman and Joe Knight is an excellent primer for any non-accountant managers who want to understand what the numbers really mean. It is very easy to understand and full of insightful stories (and sometimes jokes) tha
...more
Jon
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is probably the best overall reading material in understanding Managerial Accounting and to be able to understand what people in your finance departments at work, be it your CFO or co-workers to even better understanding your CPA at tax time.

I am somewhat biased to most books from Harvard Business Publishing (due in part to a contributing author/member of the Harvard Business Review advisory council) mainly because their material is very in depth and not always that easy to jump into.
...more
Đạt Tiêu
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Absolutely amazing! This book really makes finance interesting.
Will read again soon. Sumary:

There is 3 statements that are basic and helpful when it comes to analyzing any business: income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement.

I. Income statement: reports business financial state after a period (a month, a quarter, a year) 3 things => revenue, expense and profit. Some notes:
- Revenue is the the value(cost) of the product/service that sells to customers. It should be noted whenever a
...more
Conor
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At our Thanksgiving gettogether, I was attempting to explain my job duties to my Uncle and found myself struggling to find the right words. I work as an account manager at a corporate training and SaaS company with a respectable market cap--simple enough, right? But beyond that, I could not explain the purpose behind my job's day to day activities. Revenue and its implications govern my work, yet before reading this book I didn't fully understand how my actions affected the company's financial h ...more
Bob Wallner
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
WOW! That sums it up.

20 years ago I started my Undergrad degree in Finance...I quickly learned I hated debits and credits and swiched to Operations. Since then I have worked my way up in Corporate America. I am constantly bombarded by various financial jargon. Some of which I have picked up, but much of it still could be as foreign as learning Latin.

Financial Intelligence cuts through the jargon to provide you a clear definitition of what the various statements, reports and ratios mean and more
...more
Nikola
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just what I needed - this book is great read for those interested in how business is viewed through the financial perspective and a must read for someone like me, i.e. who didn't have any business financial intelligence. If I had to give it another title, it would be CFO for dummies. ...more
Sarita
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finance
I'm slowly getting myself into studying again --where did summer break go?!
The professor at school recommends this for students with no or little experience in Finance --the way the authors intended it to be.

The book explains that most corporates are measured by numbers (well duh) and that is why managers who are working their way up need to understand how their decisions affect these numbers. The authors are trainers themselves and I find their explanations comprehensible eg. how delaying buyin
...more
Rick Sam
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finance
An Excellent introduction to the Art of Finance. I especially enjoyed examples of companies. I would recommend this to everyone.

Deus Vult
--Gottfried
Vyki Englert
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Cannot recommend this enough. Esp recommended if you own a small biz, want to start a small biz, or if you work for start-up.
Ashley
Read for a finance class.
Avi-Gil
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best explanation of "what the numbers really mean" that I've ever read. How finance is as much art as science and why the numbers aren't as set in stone as a non-finance people might think. ...more
Archit
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-reads, finance
One of the best books I have ever read!! It is:
1. a splendid Refresher Course for any finance professional
2. an incisive handbook for any non-finance person who is interested to understand financial statements/ operations of a business from a financial perspective

Note - This book has been published before "Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers" which is by the same authors.
Hence, please do not read the latter since the content is virtually the s
...more
Keyvan
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you look for a deep understanding of finance and accounting, this book is a must-read. Actually, I 've been looking for such a book for some time, but all I got was some full-of-number books. To be honest, although I am a big fan of finance, I never felt like a deep understanding!
Just to give you a hint about the value of the book, I remember from college days, that we were taught different methods of depreciation and renewing the book value of all PPEs at the end of each year. But I never un
...more
Hạ Phạm Hồ Trúc
This book provides fundamental knowledge about finances like a textbook but in the narrative style of a non-fictional book. It helps the reader catch the idea with down-to-earth explanations, however, it is quite hard to structure knowledge by constantly repeating the definition of the terms. You better jot down & shape it yourself.

The book goes through three key components of Financial statement are Income statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow statement at non-financial perspective. It did a g
...more
Fraser Kinnear
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
I bought this back when I was in college, I think, and never got around to reading it. I had a free evening and decided to pull it off my shelf. Since I bought it, I have gotten a CPA and various broker-dealer certifications, so the book was essentially useless at this point > I skimmed it over the course of an evening. I think this would serve as a pretty good primer to financial management for someone who doesn't have any background in it. ...more
Mary Kelly
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow reading but thorough and to the point. I like the practical application of ratios and theories. I would wish for a more complete explanation of those theories, however, he goes straight to use and skips history and development.
Douglas Wilson
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really illuminating. A must read for every board member.
Huy
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best book I've read. The author translates complex financial terms into day-to-day words, very easy to understand. ...more
Stefanie Young
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great - jargon-free, which is refreshing, and a very relatable look at the numbers via case studies to freshen up the financial brain cells!
Satish
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book on financial intelligence for non-financial managers. Should be a must read for any manager or MBA student.
Chandy OT
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the revised update reflect the latest situation and make the reading easy and very related.
Alok Pepakayala
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first half of the book is literally like a promo/trailer for the book and I almost gave up thinking its just one of those overpromise underdeliver kind of situation.

I kept going and gave the book a decent chance, the content is rich and author tries to explain things the best he can, the agency has sprinkled disclaimers and common practices everywhere and has been cautious through out, did it deliver what was mentioned in the title? Yes, it did but overall it can have a better (this is the
...more
Christine Kenney
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ideal way to read this would be in a corporate book club if your employer is a publicly traded company. Barring that, you could pull up your employer's and biggest competitor's filings and work through these short chapters by yourself.

Having taken finance/accounting courses in b-school, this was a nice refresher and reminder of some of the ways accounting can become less concrete and more "artistic" and common places shenanigans can emerge when under pressure to make the numbers meet a certain
...more
Lesego
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Out of all the financial literacy for non-financial managers books I have ever read, this is by far the most user friendly and intuitive one I've come across.

The financial jargon is presented and broken down in simplistic ways. The flow of the book is superb as one chapter relates to another, making it easier for the reader to understand.

I don't come from a financial background, but I have to admit that this book has improved my financial literacy ten-fold. I would say it is the only financial
...more
Roo Phillips
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic primer for understanding business financials. Berman uses simple examples to illustrate the art that goes into creating financial statements. She does a great job at teaching you how to read, interpret, and extract information from the balance sheet, income, and cash flow statements. Her explanations are geared towards business managers (not accountants or CFOs) that will be able to use greater financial intelligence to make wise and informed decisions. Berman also covers topics such ...more
Kiran
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a good read for those wanting to get a first hand understanding financial statements and their analysis. I got a much clearer picture of how numbers in these sheets influence the financial decisions of various businesses. The authors have used a somewhat case study based approach involving certain companies and accounting scandals like Enron, SunBeam to explain the concepts which made the book very interesting. The writing is simple and clear and I being from a non finance background, wa ...more
Oathofoblivion
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfic, economy
I started reading this book with practically no knowledge in neither accounting nor finance. But, I feel that the contents of the book are presented in such a way that even a person without in-depth knowledge of finance could understand it. Unfortunately, I feel that the provided explanations on some topics need further elaboration. Several times during the course of reading this book, I had to open my browser in order to ensure that my understanding of several concepts are not mistaken, because ...more
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“First, he evaluates a business on its long-term rather than its short-term prospects. Second, he always looks for businesses he understands. (This led him to avoid many Internet-related investments.) And third, when he examines financial statements, he places the greatest emphasis on a measure of cash flow that he calls owner earnings.” 0 likes
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