Financial Statement Analysis: A Practitioner's Guide, 3rd Edition
||List Price: $69.95
Amazon.com Price: $48.97
- Media: Hardcover
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (15 March, 2002)
- Average Customer Review:
Based on 8 reviews.
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 6,597
This book is for someone that wants an overview style book. It reads as a novel, or loose conversation would be read. Not a textbook style (dry) book.
Make sure you get the real book 1st
I ordered this book without getting the first book that goes along with it. Make certain you do, this is just a workbook.
Focus is on developing insight
According to the author's introduction, the goal of "Financial Statement Analysis" is to "acquaint readers who have already acquired basic accounting skills with the complications that arise in applying textbook-derived knowledge to the real world of extending credit and investing in securities." It succeeds admirably in this purpose. By using case studies drawn from real world situations that illustrate how even a basic analysis can reveal problems before it's too late, the book is a cogent, topical, and valuable reference for any user of financial statements.
Part 1 sets the stage by positing the adversarial nature of financial accounting. Unlike the textbook approach, in which rational companies disclose audited statements in order to convey impartial data about their financial condition, "Financial Statement Analysis" begins with the proposition that the producers of financial statements have motives other than those suggested by traditional texts. Although you would find few people who would argue against this proposition today, it is still valuable to be reminded of the potential agency issues facing corporate officers and auditors.
Part 2 provides an intoduction to the financial statements, devoting a chapter to each. The main emphasis here is on helping the analyst develop judgement. For example, the balance sheet chapter provides insights into problems that arise from the difficulty of assigning a value to an asset, while the income statement chapter details the many pitfalls of pro-forma earnings. Throughout, the authors note critical issues to consider that go beyond the numbers.
Part 3 discusses the thorny problem of profits. Beginning with the simple formulation that "profit = revenue - costs," the authors discuss the myriad of complexities that arise in distinguishing real, economic profits from accounting profits. The first chapter discusses various tools used to manipulate the revenue recognition process; diverse examples include a software company, a lay-away program at a major retailer, and memberships at a health club. The next chapter discusses expense recognition using a similar framework. Perhaps the most interesting chapter in this section discusses the role of auditors. In light of the Enron fiasco, which post-dates this book's publication, the discussion is prescient and will no doubt need to be expanded in future editions!
Part 4 ties the previous sections together to illustrate how to use your new found scepticism to make forecasts. The first chapter provides a step-by-step illustration of how combine an existing set of statements with your assumptions about the future to produce your own forecasts. Each projected statement (income, cash flow, and balance sheet) is accompanied by a line-by-line description of relevant issues (economic, historic, etc...) to consider. The chapter also discusses how to construct a sensitivity analysis under varying assumptions. Unlike the previous chapters, this one provides a detailed explanation of how to actually go through the process, and was particularly appreciated by this reader. The other chapters in the section focus on the computation of the various ratios used in credit and equity analysis. Importantly, however, they move beyond the mechanics by providing the reader with insight into how to use, interpret, and recast the ratios under varying assumptions. As stated at the outset, the focus remains on helping the reader develop insight.
Finally, the book contains a useful glossary that provides definitions and examples for many economic, financial, and accounting terms and concepts.
One caveat, however. If your accounting skills are weak or rusty (like mine), you might might find the lack of more step-by-step examples and problem sets frustrating. In this case, you might consider supplementing the book with a more traditional textbook. (In the author's defense, they state in the introduction that accounting is assumed, so it's not really fair to fault them for this). Overall, however, the book is a very useful tool.
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