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Interpreting Company Reports For Dummies


Simple strategies for measuring a company's financial health

Understand the bottom line and make sound financial decisions

Whether you're a manager seeking to prepare a financial report, or an investor hoping to analyse one, unless you're financially savvy the figures and footnotes involved can be intimidating and tedious. Taking you step-by-step through the finer points of financial reports, this straightforward guide will help you get to grips with the most accurate way to wade throughthe numbers, judge a company's performance, and make profitable investment decisions.

Discover how to:

  • Get to grips with various types of financial reporting

  • Figure out financial data and footnotes

  • Use simple formulas to test the numbers and ensure they add up

  • Effectively use financial reports for your own investing or career goals

Alan Bonham: Since qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, most of Alan’s time has been spent training others. He was a Director at Anderson’s Tutors Limited where he prepared students for ICAEW exams. From there, he joined Neville Russell where he became Training Manager. He then spent 16 years as a freelance lecturer and training consultant specialising in audit and accounting topics.
Most recently, Alan was Director of Training for SWAT Ltd. As part of his role, he was responsible for the development of SWAT’s national programme of CPD training as well as presenting a number of courses himself. Alan had been Managing Director of Pentagon Training Ltd until the company was acquired by SWAT in October 2005.
Alan is now working again as a freelance lecturer – he is one of the few lecturers who can make auditing interesting. He also advises firms on their audit procedures and offers practical help in achieving compliance in a cost-effective manner. He has also worked with non-accountants, and is the co-author with Ken Langdon of Smart Things to Know about Business Finance which also demystifies the language of finance.

Ken Langdon: With a background in technology, Ken has been a trainer and consultant to many of the computer majors around the world. He has lectured in the USA, Australia, and all over the Far East and Europe.
In particular he has taught finance for non-financial managers and worked hard on explaining how the slightly esoteric world of finance reflects the real life world of businesses.
He is the author of a number of books on this and related topics.

Lita Epstein ran the financial accounting lab when she worked as a teaching assistant as she completed her MBA programme at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. After receiving her MBA, she managed finances for a small, non-profit organisation, and the facilities management section of a large medical clinic.
Now she enjoys helping people develop good financial, investing, and tax planning skills. She designs and teaches online courses on topics such as investing for retirement, getting ready for tax time, and finance and investing for women. She is the author of Streetwise Crash Course MBA and Streetwise Retirement Planning (Adams Media Corporation). Lita is the co-author of Trading For Dummies (Wiley), and Teach Yourself Retirement Planning in 24 Hours (Penguin Putnam).


Part I: Getting Down to Financial Reporting Basics.

Chapter 1: Discovering What Reports Reveal.

Chapter 2: Recognising Different Business Types.

Chapter 3: Discovering How Company Structure Affects the Books.

Chapter 4: Digging into Accounting Basics.

Part II: Understanding Published Information: Annual Reports.

Chapter 5: Exploring the Anatomy of an Annual Report.

Chapter 6: Balancing Assets Against Liabilities and Equity.

Chapter 7: Using the Income Statement.

Chapter 8: The Statement of Cash Flows.

Chapter 9: Scouring the Notes to the Financial Statements.

Chapter 10: Considering Consolidated Financial Statements.

Part III: Analysing the Numbers.

Chapter 11: Testing the Profits and Market Value.

Chapter 12: Looking at Liquidity.

Chapter 13: Making Sure the Company Has Cash to Carry On.

Part IV: Understanding How Companies Optimise Operations.

Chapter 14: Using Basic Budgeting.

Chapter 15: Turning Up Clues in Turnover and Assets.

Chapter 16: Examining Cash Inflow and Outflow.

Chapter 17: How Companies Keep the Cash Flowing.

Part V: The Many Ways Companies Answer to Stakeholders.

Chapter 18: Finding Out How Companies Find Errors: The Auditing Process.

Chapter 19: Checking Out the Analyst–Company Connection.

Chapter 20: How Companies Soothe the Shareholders.

Chapter 21: Keeping Score When Companies Play Games with Numbers.

Part VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 22: Ten Financial Crises That Rocked the World.

Chapter 23: Ten Signs That a Company’s in Trouble.

Chapter 24: Ten Top-Notch Online Resources.

Part VII: Appendixes.

Appendix A: Financial Statements.

Appendix B: Glossary.