Even before I qualified as a chartered accountant, I was surprised (shocked) by how little understanding some business owners had of their accounts and, even worse, how little financial acumen they had.
My Quest To Improve Financial Acumen
It seems that the thought of a lot of numbers and jargon like balance sheet, profit and loss account, equity, gearing etc shut down their brains, even though many knew it was important to understand.
When I moved into industry, I found a similar problem.
People didn’t understand the information I was providing and I could see their eyes glaze over as I tried to explain their bit of the much bigger business system. I realised that part of the problem was that they didn’t see or understand the big picture.
I organised finance for non-financial managers training and later, when I became self employed I provided it as a service to businesses and training organisations. It was a lot of fun and well received but I never saw if it did any long term good.
It’s Even A Problem With Qualified Accountants
This financial acumen is even a problem with qualified accountants as I learned when I went into larger companies. There are two types basically:
– accountants who are good at processing transactions that have already happened and reporting on them in 101 different ways. These are the record keepers.
– the finance managers who were more concerned with learning from what’s recently happened and wanted to use the information to influence decisions to improve future financial well-being. These are the change makers.
This second category of finance specialists also seems to be much happier with cash flow and the way cash ripples in waves through a business.
Too Little Support For Business Owners From Their Professional Accountants
I think it’s getting better gradually but I believe there is too little support for small businesses from their professional accountants they use to produce accounts for the tax authorities and the tax returns.
The Part Time Finance Director
I’ve been a big believer over the years in the concept of a “part time Finance Director” and I did it for a few companies. This helps to bridge the gap between a business struggling on its own or with limited support and having to hire a full time qualified accountant as an employee at significant cost.
The idea is that you can get 80% of the benefit for 20% of the cost.
It’s not suitable for many small businesses but as they increase in size (sales turnover or employees) or complexity (products, locations, customers) it becomes increasingly important.
The Best Books About Business Finance
You will only see the books I’ve rated at Four Stars (meaning good and well worth reading) and Five Stars (excellent and very highly recommended). Reviews of lower rated books appear on Amazon.co.uk but I haven’t brought the reviews across to my own website.
If you read my reviews, you’ll see I try to explain why I like them but also to identify any weaknesses. My job as a reviewer is to help you to find the most appropriate books rather than to help sell more books.
On that note, if you do decide to buy, I’d appreciate it if you could click through to Amazon on my links as (hopefully) I’ll earn a small referral commission.
Some of these books can be very expensive so, if you’re happy with a hard back or paperback book, take a look at the second hand options on Amazon. Personally I only buy if the condition is described as “As New” or “Very Good” unless I’m really keen and forced to drop down to “Good”.
Five Star Books About Business Finance
Financial Foreplay: Whip Your Business Into Shape – Take Home More Cash by Rhondalynn Korolak
A nice way of using stories to teach financial understanding.
Loan Sharp: Get the business finance you deserve by Rob Warlow
The author is an ex manager and even managing director of a bank in Africa and shares his tips on how you can make your case to get the money you need.
Genghis Khan Guide to Business by Brian Charles John Warnes
This is my all-time favourite finance book. It’s old but excellent.
Four Star Books About Business Finance
Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
Finance for the Perplexed Executive by Ray Proctor
Managing Cash When You Haven’t Got Any by Lori Schafer
Finance on a Beermat by Mike Southan, Chris West, Stephen King and Jeff Macklin
The Secret to Increasing Your Profits by Vincent Turner
The Bottom Line by Alan Warner – this is a novel with business finance lessons
Other Categories Of Business Books That May Interest You
Business Planning – Business Start-Up – Business Strategy – Business Turnaround – Getting Unstuck – KPI & Performance Measurement – Leading Your Team – Marketing – Pricing – Profit Improvement – Project Management – Recession – Retail Business – Theory Of Constraints –
Paul Simister is a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck, get unstuck. If your business is based in the UK, you can have a free Business SOS consultation with me to help you get unstuck.