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Financial Intelligence, Revised Edition: A Manager's Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean Hardcover – Feb 19 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; Revised edition edition (Feb. 19 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422144119
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422144114
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 16.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“Nonfinancial managers will appreciate this nontechnical, in-depth guided tour through financial statements and financial concepts and analysis.” — Choice Magazine

About the Author

Karen Berman and Joseph Knight are the founders of the Los Angeles-based Business Literacy Institute. They train managers at organizations such as American Express, P&G, Pacific Life, GM and Tyco International. They have been interviewed in a wide range of print media including BusinessWeek, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading Financial Intelligence. It conveys very important business knowledge through understanding of the numbers. Sections on Free Cash Flow and return of assets were most important.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I used this book to develop an accounting 101 course for non-financial managers. As a accountant it helped me eliminate the jargon and prepare based on my audience!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 61 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Stand up to your company's CFO Feb. 5 2013
By Scott Carlson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I don't usually write reviews but thought I should here as a public service to people like me who get bullied by smug CFOs. If you are like me, you don't spend your time reading financial books. If you do, I wouldn't recommend this book to you. I mean I think the book is good but you'd probably think it was beneath you. This book is meant for people who don't work in a "finance" job, however, who want to know their way around a spreadsheet as necessary. This book has definitely helped me talk my way around my company's financial reports and it could yours as well.

I'm too busy working to spend my day analyzing spreadsheets and financial reports. Yet, I'm responsible for delivering the numbers that my boss wants on a few key financial measures. Sometimes I don't always hit my monthly P&L numbers and that's when the information I learned in this book becomes the most valuable. After reading the book I know enough about financial reports to sound intelligent. When the CFO and my boss conduct their monthly review of my key benchmarks, they always seem to focus on the number in the spreadsheet that fell short of their expectations. I used to sweat these monthly meetings, but now I can point out other numbers in the income statement and balance sheet that influence my benchmark.

I read the first edition of this book after receiving it at a company seminar. I just finished this updated version after loading it onto my Kindle. The most recent book added new material about the recent financial crises and expanded upon accounting literacy to include in-depth review of some new financial reports. I liked it. Send a sample to your Kindle now and see what you think.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Must read for all employees at all levels... May 12 2013
By inov8v - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i don't normally write reviews but i have to say this is the best financial book i've ever read...i have spent the past 15 or so years at the coo level with finance reporting to me...and while i'm financially savvy, i have no formal financial education...i'm a believer that finance, like any profession or industry, gets bogged down in its own set of acronyms and language...that in and of itself creates the silos too often found in organizations...sales has it, marketing has it, hr has it, etc...etc...

i always try to break down barriers and most of my time is spent as a translator...truth be told, i've always struggled with translating the financial lingo...this book did it for me and has helped me paint a picture and tell the story behind it so everyone understands...

kudos to the authors!!!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Understand the numbers - Make better decisions... Aug. 6 2014
By Nomme - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I do have a few years (decades) of experience in the field - and many moons ago I completed most of the coursework for Ph.d. in accounting before deciding academia was not where I wanted to be. I taught the subject at the University level for more than 5 years and now train on this subject internationally. My background also includes working as an auditor and many years wearing the corporate controllers hat. I say this because I want to make clear that this book is not just for beginners, or people without a background in the field.

I recommend this book to everyone. Accounting and finance are not easy subjects especially if you jump in and start with the technical aspects of it. Put simply the better you understand the numbers - the better your business decisions will be. I view this book as providing an excellent foundation - the more you build your core knowledge of the subject the better. Remember the key in business is making better business decisions - don't be overly impressed by people who can spout GAAP at you with in terms you don't understand. The real experts can, and should, be able to translate the rules in a fashion that aids in understanding (1) why the rule is there in the first place, and (2) how it impacts you business and the decisions it makes.

This book is written in a fashion that will not put even non-accountants to sleep and it paints enough pictures with examples of accounting misdeeds to keep it interesting - and to really drive home how seemingly innocuous (in some cases) changes to how transactions are recorded and paint a very different picture of the health of an organization.

If you are in business / work - do yourself, your future and your business a favor by increasing your understanding of the numbers. This book is a great place to start....
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Finance Can be Fun Feb. 11 2013
By Don Mankin - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Berman and Knight have done the impossible -- make the topic of finance clear, interesting, even fun! Finance is not one of my favorite topics. I typically nod off when engaged in finance-related conversations or sitting in yet another, interminable budget meeting. But I actually found myself looking forward to picking up this book whenever I had time to read for yet another discussion of balance sheets, profitability ratios, and yes, my personal favorite, EBITs.

Their explanations are clear, their ripped-from-the-headlines examples are relevant and compelling, and their writing style is lively. Their frequent playful and humorous asides help to humanize the material.

There are many helpful features in this book. One of my favorites is the embedded glossary - i.e., definitions that appear in a box on the page where the expressions are first used rather than at the end, requiring the reader to flip back and forth and risk losing their concentration. The toolbox at the end of each Part that gives the reader a hands-on opportunity to try out the concepts they have just learned is also helpful.

In addition, I appreciated their emphasis on finance as art not science, subject to assumptions, biases, even manipulation and fraud. I guess I knew that, but I didn't realize just how subjective it can be. And their discussion of the difference between cash and profit and the relationship between the two was especially lucid, lifting the fog that usually accompanies my attempts to understand, and most important, apply this concept.

This book is a must read for any manager. Armed with this book, they can make better financial decisions and more effectively manage their people, technology and resources. Perhaps most important, they might even stay awake during those interminably boring budget meetings and possibly even influence the discussions and outcomes.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Perfect Primer for Managers and for Students July 24 2014
By Jonathan Troper - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Financial Intelligence (revised edition) got a huge “We loved it!” from my grad students in organizational psychology. Students with several years of work experience with budgets loved it just as much as students with none.

Berman and Knight’s book makes challenging concepts understandable and puts all of the pieces together you need to know about income statements, balance sheets and basic financial concepts. It's great for non-financial professionals to apply to developing business plans or for managers to understand where their department and their company stands. Financial Intelligence was far easier to read than the colorful business textbook we used for the other topics.

I wish there were a business textbook as well-written and memorable as Financial Intelligence that covered basics of marketing, strategy, operations, management functions, business plans, international business, banking, and macroeconomics and was as affordable as Financial Intelligence.