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.